With more and more consumers relying on social media sites for news, extensive research is being conducted to show exactly how adults in the U.S. are consuming news via social media. While a previous report by the Pew Research Center compared news consumption on Facebook vs. Twitter, they recently released a new study that looks at a larger range of social media networks. However, this study still found that Facebook dominates the realm of social news consumption.
The Pew Data
This in-depth Pew report considered a number of factors in terms of social media use and news consumption, showing both what percentage of a network’s users seek out news on that site and what percentage of the total population use each network for news. For example, 47% of U.S. adults who use Facebook are consuming news, but this translates to 30% of the total U.S. adult population using Facebook to seek out news. On Reddit, a high percentage of users consume news (62%), but this only translates to 2% of the overall population.
52% of Twitter users are consuming news, which is just 8% of the population. On YouTube, 20% of users are consuming news, translating to 10% of the population. LinkedIn sees 13% of users consuming news (3% of the overall population), and Google+ sees 30% of its users consuming news (4% of the population). On Tumblr and Myspace, higher percentages of users are consuming news (29% and 14%), but this only amounts to 1% of the population for each site.
When it comes to the number of social media channels that adults in the U.S. are using for overall news consumption, the majority use just one social media network (65%). However, a growing number of U.S. adults (35%) are using multiple social media channels to consume news. 26% use both Facebook and Twitter, while 9% utilize three or more social media sites.
Why These Numbers Are Important
Why do these numbers on news consumption matter? As TechCrunch discusses, social media and news have become intimately tied together in recent years, offering mutual benefits. For social media networks, news is a way of drawing users in and increasing engagement. For news organizations, social media is a way to reach more consumers as traditional media continues to decline. In addition, for brands overall, news consumption via social media is also important because it increases user engagement, making ads and other social media marketing strategies more effective.
As 2014 approaches, I predict that news consumption on social media will continue to grow, with other networks potentially beginning to surpass Facebook in this arena. The numbers point to U.S. adults increasingly being more likely to turn to multiple sources for news, and they also show that users of Reddit are more news-hungry than those on Facebook. In addition, the study found that the under-50 crowd, particularly those ages 18-29, are turning to Twitter as their main news source. As younger users turn to Twitter and other social media networks grow in popularity, these sites could give Facebook a run for its money.
Do you consume news on social media? What sites do you turn to for reliable information?
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