5 Things About The Demos Of Social Media Users

social_media_350On February 14 the Pew Research Center published their comprehensive survey, The Demographics of Social Media Users-2012. The findings were derived from a broadly based national sample conducted in November (post-Election) through December 2012 (pre-Christmas). It’s always helpful to step back and look at real data rather than draw conclusions based on one’s own usage. It’s a trap we can all fall into. For example, I love twitter and use it many times daily. But obviously not everyone does (yet)—only 16% do. So it’s important not to look through the prism of one’s own habits.  The survey looked at social media usage overall and looked at specific platforms as well—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. Alas my beloved LinkedIn (5 Ways That LinkedIn Rocks) was not analyzed in the survey since it has a largely business usage.

So here are the 5 things I learned (or kind of knew, but found interesting nonetheless)

1. Social Media Usage is not a “White” Thing

In fact social media usage is even stronger among Hispanic (72%) and African-American (68%) segments than White (65%). Overall 67% of internet users use a social networking site. This is also consistent with greater smartphone penetration among Hispanic and African American audiences than White, The Digitial Divide, Or Not.

2. People of all ages like Facebook (duh)

No great aha here. Clearly not all of those 1+Billion accounts were opened under their pet’s name. 2/3 of all internet users (which now is virtually everyone) have a Facebook account. It does skew young, but that’s misleading. In fact I’m surprised usage among 18-29 adults was “only” 86%. However don’t be misled–Over half (53%) of adults 50-64 have a Facebook account too. The days of thinking Facebook was for college kids have long been over.

3. “Chicks Dig Pinterest”

This is the one platform that is heavily skewed—5 times more women (25%) than men (5%). Us guys just aren’t pinning types. But Pinterest is mega platform and growing. Unlike overall social media usage in general, white usage is 2 times greater for this platform than Hispanic/African American

4. Instagram is for a younger audience (for now)

28% of respondents 18-29 use Instagram. Only 3% of 50+ users. But Instagram is very cool. There’s a reason why Facebook paid $1 Billion to acquire a 13-person company last year. They knew Instagram could “own” photos and possibly someday eat Facebook’s lunch. So what better way to squash a competitor than to buy the upstart.

5. Twitter is younger and more Urban

Twitter usage is at 16% overall (and growing) but African-American (26%) and Hispanic (19%) is above average. Correspondingly, Twitter has a more Urban (20%) than Suburban (14%) skew, and has a younger skew (27%). But beware of those old marketing types who are twitter fanatics. I love it.

Social media is a tidal wave. It is not a marketing panacea and does not replace other forms of communications but rather augments them. However, its omnipresence and growing influence is not to be denied. Wise marketers understand this.

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