Social media: understanding your audience

Circle Media social media computer

The first step to succeeding on social media is understanding your audience. Each platform is different and should be used accordingly. Here we look at some of the key demographics for each platform to help you get the most out of your social media presence.

Social Media Overview

Facebook dominates social media with 81% of all social media users on the platform. This is followed by YouTube with 55%, which shares many characteristics with social media but is not a traditional platform. Currently, no other social media platform can compete with Facebook’s monopoly, but they are gradually gaining market share.

18-24 year olds dominate the demographics of almost every platform, however the spread of age demographics are gradually levelling out. Young people engage the most frequently, viewing multiple platforms multiple times a day. And, despite these high levels of engagement, 59% of people think that they could give up social media easily.

In 2018 we are getting to see a big change in the demographics of social media. Facebook is still leading the way with users aged 45-54 spending more time on the platform and now making up 21% of the total viewing time, which is more than any other age group. Similarly, Snapchat’s age demographics are not quite so polarising as the app is gradually attracting more older users.

The next big social media platforms are predicted to take the shape of ‘digital hangouts’, with younger users engaging with apps such as Houseparty and WhatsApp style apps (NB – Andy has never heard of any of these platforms!).

Here are some broken down demographics to make sure you are understanding your target audience on all of the relevant platforms. Graphs represent the percentage of social media users who are on each platform.

Circle Media-social media phone

FACEBOOK: 2.2 Billion Monthly Users

53% Female, 47% Male
40 Million small businesses have pages
56% of online users aged 65+ are on Facebook
The average user has 155 friends
People typically spend 35 minutes a day on Facebook

Circle Media social media Facebook users

Facebook essentially ticks all of the boxes for demographics. Almost everybody has it, but it’s how they use it that’s what differs most.


INSTAGRAM: 800 Million Users

68% Female, 32% Male
25 Million businesses have pages
59% of 19-29 year olds use it
People typically spend 15 minutes a day on Instagram

Circle Media social media Instagram users

In 6 months in 2016 Instagram grew its daily user count by 100 million. 17% of teens say it is the most important social media site, highlighting Instagram’s target demographic.


TWITTER: 330 Million Users

53% Male, 47% Female
65% of US companies are using Twitter for marketing
Average number of followers is 707
People typically spend 1 minute a day on Twitter

Circle Media social media Twitter users

Twitter is one of the few social media platforms where education levels and income play a big role in the demographics. 30% of people earning over 75K are on Twitter as opposed to 18% of people earning 30-49K.


SNAPCHAT: 300 Million Users

71% Female, 29% Male
41% of 19-34 year olds are using Snapchat
71% of Snapchat’s users are under the age of 34
People typically spend 25 minutes a day on Snapchat

Circle Media social media Snapchat users


Snapchat is dominated by younger demographics and consequently users are opening the app 18+ times a day.


PINTEREST: 175 Million Users

81% Female, 19% Male
2/3 of pins represent brands and products
The median age of Pinterest users is 40
People typically spend 15 minutes on Pinterest

Circle Media social media Pinterest users

Pinterest is a platform that is dominated by women as men only account for 7% of total pins on Pinterest.


LINKEDIN: 500 Million Users

56% Male, 44% Female
Has 3 Million active job listings
13% of Millennials (15-34) are LinkedIn
44% of users are earning 75+
People are typically spending 17 minutes a month on LinkedIn

Circle Media social media LinkedIn users

LinkedIn sees demographics dominated by income and education with only 12% of people with a high school diploma level of education on LinkedIn. Income plays a big role with 41% of millionaires using LinkedIn.


YOUTUBE: 1.5 Billion Users

Male 54%, Female 46%
9% of small businesses are on YouTube
35+ and 55+ are YouTube’s fastest growing demographics
Average viewing session is 40 minutes long

Circle Media social media YouTube users

YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google and is bigger than Bing, Yahoo and Ask! combined. 1 Billion hours of YouTube content is watched everyday.


What does it mean?

These demographics are here to help you branch out your social media presence. They might not seem helpful in relation to Facebook, but that’s because Facebook defies demographics, everyone is on there. What they will help you with is deciding where to go next. Understanding that on Instagram you’re talking to more women than men will allow you to better tailor your posts. Similarly, knowing that Pinterest has an older audience gives you the opportunity to post different, more relevant content on each social media platform.

Want a personalised take on what social media platforms will best suit you? Contact us today.

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