Social Media Statistics: Adults vs. Teens

social mediaWhen it comes to social media use, there are many different generalizations thrown out about what sites teens and adults are using. For example, Mashable recently reported accounts of a 13-year-old girl saying none of her friends are on Facebook and another girl age 15 who said that every single one of her friends is on Facebook.

Fortunately, research company Pew Internet has collected a wide range of statistics on teen vs. adult social media use. While teens top Facebook and Twitter, adults have overtaken both Pinterest and Instagram. Knowing and understanding where different age groups are focusing their social media attention and how they are using each network is key for targeted advertising.

Overall Use

When it comes to the big picture, 72% of adults and 81% of teens are using social media. For a more specific age breakdown, those ages 18-29 topped social media use at 89%. The 13-18 year old crowd comes in second at 81%, with 30-49 following at 78%. Even older adults are using social media fairly widely; 60% of those ages 50-64 and 43% of those 65 and over are on social media networks.

Teens Top Facebook & Twitter

Aside from Google+, the most popular social networking sites, Facebook and Twitter, are inundated by teens. A whopping 94% of teens are reported to have a Facebook profile, which clearly dispels the myth that Facebook is dropping out of style amongst youth. 24% of teens are using Twitter regularly, a figure that has jumped quickly from just 16% in 2011. While Google+ is known as the second largest social networking site, settling in between Facebook and Twitter in terms of user base, teen use of Google+ is quite low at just 3%.

One interesting finding on teen Twitter use is that teens do not always consider Twitter to be a social networking site. A significant segment responded to the survey stating that they do not use social networking sites, but they do use Twitter. This is potentially because Twitter has become much more of a primary news source than other sites such as Facebook and Google+. Twitter may have particular advertising potential for teens if they primarily use Twitter to seek out information.

Pinterest & Instagram For the Older Crowd

In contrast, adults are more widely found on Pinterest, Instagram, and by a small margin, Tumblr. 15% of adults are on Pinterest compared to a mere 1% of teens, 13% are on Instagram (compared to 11% of teens), and 6% are on Tumblr (compared to 5% of teens). However, Facebook and Twitter still win out with adults as well, with 67% of Facebook and 18% on Twitter.

Especially significant is the rising number of adults age 50 and over on social media. As I recently discussed in another post on the CEM blog, senior citizens are quickly moving up in social media use with 43% using at least one social network. Those between ages 50-65 are now a majority group on social media, with 60% using social networks. This means that targeting the older crowd on social media, particularly Pinterest and Instagram, has become much more imperative.

What trends are you seeing in social media use?

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Elizabeth K

Elizabeth Kent is a recent graduate with an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Brandeis University. She earned her B.A. from Smith College with a major in the Study of Women and Gender and a minor in Jewish Studies. Elizabeth recently relocated from the Boston area back to Western Massachusetts, where she spends her free time volunteering with a local non-profit organization. Elizabeth has worked as a writing tutor, archival intern, research assistant, and retail associate. Her interests include studying pop culture, kittens, and making meals with as little cooking as possible.

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