Social media networking platforms are always in flux. Updates seem to occur daily, and every few years, a new player emerges on the market and disrupts the existing social media landscape. But why should this matter to you, a business owner? As the primary decision-maker of your organization, having an understanding of the current social media climate is essential for making informed decisions, particularly regarding where to find your target audience and how to market to them. Thus, in this article, we’re going to breakdown the social media landscape as it stands in 2019 and help you gain an understanding of where you should be investing your ad spend to reach your customers. But first, a quick history lesson on the various social media networks.
The History of Social Media
Although it feels like social media took afoot in the 2010s, the first social media network debuted in the late nineties. That original network was Six Degrees. Formed in 1997, Six Degrees was a social networking platform named after the social philosophy that there are only six degrees of separation between any two individuals on the planet. The site operated similarly to many of our current networks today and allowed users to invite people to connect and join their online community of friends. But the platform was short-lived. Despite reaching 3.5 million users at its peak, the company shut down in 2001.
Following Six Degrees, a multitude of similar-style social media sites popped up in the early 2000s, all targeting different niches. Friendster and LinkedIn arrived in 2002, MySpace in 2003, Facebook in 2004, and Youtube and Reddit by the middle of the decade in 2005. As time progressed, new platforms continued to emerge; Twitter sprouted in 2006, WhatsApp – the world’s largest messaging platform – launched in 2009, and Instagram and Pinterest arrived on the scene in 2010. Now firmly planted into the current decade, we’ve continued to see more players enter the game, such as Snapchat in 2011 and most recently TikTok, in 2017. Since each social platform has it’s own unique selling point and attracts different crowds, it is essential to understand the demographics of each network, which brings us to our next segment:
The Landscape of Social Media Today
Today, there are at least 21 major social media platforms to consider for your brand, with 20 of those communities attracting monthly active users of 200 million or more. But, for this article, we’ll focus primarily on the key players in the U.S. market.
As of 2019, YouTube and Facebook are the most widely used online platforms in the U.S., with 73 percent of the adult population using YouTube and 69 percent using Facebook. With these statistics, both YouTube and Facebook should be considered in your social media strategy.
As for American teens aged 13 to 17, YouTube and Snapchat are the most used sites, with Instagram and Facebook also rounding out the top four platforms they use. As such, if your brand targets Generation Z, YouTube, and Snapchat should be critical considerations for your strategy, with Instagram and Facebook also for those with greater budgets and bandwidth to market on multiple sites.
As for Pinterest? Twenty-eight percent of the U.S. adult population are pinners, with three times as many women (45 percent) using the platform compared to men (15 percent). If your brand targets women, Pinterest is where you want to be.
With regards to LinkedIn, 27 percent of the adult population uses the professional networking site. A more interesting statistic is that of those surveyed, 50 percent of the adult population with a college degree and an income of $75,000 or more use the platform. This means that if your target audience is higher-income professionals, having a presence on LinkedIn may be great for your business.
For more interesting 2019 social media statistics, click on the infographic below.
Did you know that social media is the most relevant advertising channel for 50 percent of Gen Z and 42 percent of millennials?
With so many social media networks available in an ever-changing landscape, it can be challenging to choose which are the best fit for your brand. If you’re struggling to decide where to focus your social media marketing efforts, contact us today. Our experienced team of social media marketers will sit down with you and create a comprehensive plan for your business.
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