Commentary on Pew Research Center Report “Americans’ Social Media Use”

Lauren Toner, Marketing + Advertising Director

The Pew Research Center recently published a report on American’s use of social media. As a marketing and media buying specialist, I've always liked referring to the Center's reports for audience research. It is a nonpartisan organization that focuses on data-driven social science research. I’ve referred to their research around social media usage and demographics when working on client campaigns, and I was excited to see this new insight into American social media behavior. 

The report’s findings come from a survey of 5,733 U.S. adults conducted in 2023. It found that YouTube was the most widely used online platform, with 83 percent of U.S. adults reporting ever using the video-based platform. Additionally, 68 percent of Americans report ever using Facebook and 47 percent ever using Instagram. 

These findings are not surprising—these platforms have been top dogs in the digital landscape for years. However, there is one thing I’d like to note about this study and its findings. The survey asked adults if they "ever use" these platforms, but the Center does not explain how they define "use" and did not ask how often a person may visit each platform. So, take the results with a little grain of salt. 

Even so, seeing a ranking of the top platforms was interesting. The report also found that TikTok is seeing more user growth than other platforms. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to marketers. These days it feels like TikTok is always being discussed in the news or the industry newsletters that fill my inbox. 

What is noticeably absent from this study is Threads. Keep in mind, Threads launched July 2023, so it was likely excluded from this report due to its novelty. 

As social media usage continues to evolve, I highly recommend keeping a close eye on user trends and demographics, and Pew Research Center is a reliable and reputable source for data.

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