This presentations shares insights into the most popular social networks on the planet. Inside, you'll also discover actionable takeaways that you can use in your marketing campaigns to accelerate your reach.
Throw in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat
and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s online but isn’t on
• What has led to the rise of these social networks?
• What kind of people do they attract?
• What works, what doesn’t on social media?
We’ll do a deep dive into all these questions and much more in this
post. You’ll get the latest data about social network demographics.
Let’s dig in.
Social media demographics
Not all social networks are built equally.
Some have an overwhelming female audience, while some attract teenagers and
Here’s what you should know about key demographics for popular social networks.
Facebook alone has over 1.5 billion users – nearly 50% of the entire
Facebook has become the ‘home base’ for most people online.
While they may or may not use other networks, a majority maintain a
presence on Facebook.
Popular: Used by 72% of all adult internet users in America.
More women users: 77% of online female users are on Facebook.
Younger audience: 82% of all online users between 18-29 are on
USA (14%), India (9%) and Brazil (7%) form the three largest markets.
Twitter’s quick flowing ‘info stream’ attracts an audience that swings
younger and is mostly urban/semi-urban.
As of the third quarter of 2015, the microblogging service averaged
at 307 million monthly active Twitter users.
As of September 2015 the Total number of registered Twitter users
Overall, 23% of online adults are on Twitter.
Younger: Used by 37% of all online users between 18 and 29.
Educated: 54% of users have either graduated college, or have some
Richer: 54% of online adults who make over $50,000+ are on Twitter.
Google+ is a mysterious beast. It is ubiquitous, yet doesn’t attract
nearly a tenth of the attention as Instagram or Facebook. Some
marketers swear by it, while others are busy proclaiming its death.
Google isn’t giving up. With the November 17 update, Google+ has
been completely revamped.
Google+ demographics are a little hard to figure out since Google
rarely releases any usage figures.
Based on existing data, here’s what we know about Google+ right
More male: 24% of all online men are active users of Google+. For women,
this number is 20%.
Younger users: 27% of all 16-24 year olds online are active members of Google+.
18% and 14% of 45-54 and 55-64 year olds are active on Google+ at the moment.
22% of the bottom quarters of income earners are on Google+.
The top quarter has 24% and the mid-section is 23% according to Global Web
LinkedIn is one of the older social media sites that’s bypassed most obstacles
and has gained over 400 million users since it launched in 2003.
The professional networking site attracts an older audience that is largely
urban, wealthier, and more educated.
Urban: Very limited number of rural users – only 14%. 61% are either
urban or suburban.
• Highly educated: 50% of LinkedIn users are college graduates. Another 22% have
some college experience
Highly educated: 50% of LinkedIn users are college graduates.
Another 22% have some college experience.
Wealthier: 75% of users earn over $50,000.
Pinterest’s visual nature makes it a fantastic marketing tool for B2C
Pinterest’s overall user count is dominated by females at 85%.
Here’s what you should know about its demographics.
Suburban and rural users form the largest share – 29% and 30% respectively.
This is distinctly different from other networks where urban users rule.
• Older audience: 72% of Pinterest’s audience are 30 years or older. Only 34% are
between 18 and 29. Significantly, 17% are over 65 years old.
72% of Pinterest’s audience are 30 years or older.
Only 34% are between 18 and 29.
17% are over 65 years old.
Higher income: Given the higher average age, Pinterest users also have
higher disposable income, with 64% of all adults making $50,000+ on
Instagram recently overtook Twitter to become the second largest social
Pew estimates that 26% of all online adults are on Instagram in the US.
14% of Instagram users have admitted to checking Instagram whilst driving.
More women than men: 29% of all online women are on Instagram,
vs. only 22% of all men.
Overwhelmingly younger: 53% of all 18-29 year olds are on Instagram.
Only 24% of Instagram users are college graduates.
31% have some college experience.
Snapchat is the newest social networks on this list, but also one of the fastest
growing. Here’s what you need to know about its demographics:
Ireland is the top country for Snapchat Usage based on percentage of usage
by adults in each market.
50% of Male College students share selfies on Snapchat, the number is higher
in Female college students. 77% to be precise.
45% of Snapchat users are aged between 18-24.
Snapchat reaches 11% of Total US Digital population.
More than 25% of UK Smartphone users are on Snapchat, in Norway the
number goes up to 50%.
Dominated by women: 70% of Snapchat’s users are females.
Overwhelmingly young: 71% of users are younger than 25.
Limited income: 62% earn under $50,000 – fitting given the average age of
71% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old
30% of US Millennial Internet Users use Snapchat regularly.
Here’s what you should take away from all these stats:
If you’re targeting younger users, stick to Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
If you’re targeting women with disposable income, head over to Pinterest.
For professionals with better education and income, use LinkedIn.
For everyone, go with Facebook
It also helps to note that 70% of users log into Facebook daily, while only 13% log into
LinkedIn every day. Keep that in mind when you tailor your marketing schedule.
The psychology of social
While knowing the demographics of your target social network helps, it’s far
more important to understand how users actually approach each network.
As it turns out, how open/closed a network is, and what kind of content
dominates its ‘feeds’ plays a crucial role in determining the behavior of its
Let’s look at some of these networks in more detail. We’ll cover Facebook,
Twitter and Pinterest because these are most relevant to bloggers.
Facebook is a ‘closed’ network where your friends list will usually be limited
to family, friends and acquaintances you’ve met in real life.
Privacy is a big concern for Facebook’s users, and all posts are private by
This ultimately affects the way users interact with each other and with
businesses on Facebook.
According to a Pew Internet study:
Facebook users are more trusting (since the network is closed).
Facebook users have more close relationships. Pew found that heavy users of
the platform are more likely to have a higher number of close relationships.
Facebook users are politically engaged and active.
At the same time, heavy Facebook use has been linked to negative self-
perception. When you see your friends leading (apparently) happier lives, it
can affect your sense of self-worth.
How this affects your marketing
The trusting nature of Facebook users is good for business since users are
more likely to trust a claim if it shows up in their feed.
A Facebook user’s list of likes is a good indication of their real world likes.
Thus, if someone likes X, you’ll have an easy job promoting the same to them.
Positive, uplifting stories that counter negative self-perception issues can
work really well in the feed.
Why do people follow
and retweet what they do?
This is a question that has perplexed marketers and researchers alike for
Unlike Facebook, understanding Twitter’s users isn’t quite as easy. The lack of
a cohesive identity and structured network means that a user on Twitter can
be anyone and anything.
One psychologist links Twitter use to narcissism and the need for self-
validation. Neurologically, Twitter offers ‘intermittent rewards’ that light
up effort-reward loop part of the brain.
Which is to say, the few ‘rewards’ (retweets, favorites, replies, or reading a
funny tweet) you see in your feed make up for the effort of going through
hundreds of tweets.
To understand why people share or follow on Twitter, researchers at Georgia
Tech and UMichigan analysed over 500M tweets over 15-months.
They found that the three biggest reasons why people share/follow on
• Network overlap: Your network is similar to your followers’ network.
• User tweet-RT ratio: The number of tweets vs. the number of RTs for a
• Informational content: The more informative the content, the better.
How this affects your marketing
• It’s crucial to get the right type of followers
• Keep the tweet-RT ratio in mind – heavy retweeters are more likely to
share your content.
• Informational content trumps self-promotional content.
• According to Cornell, using the same language as your target audience and
mimicking news headlines in brevity and focus helps get more shares
“Pinterest boards are like its users’ personal happiness collages”.
Unlike Facebook, which charts a user’s “interest graph”, Pinterest charts a
user’s “desire graph”. Pinterest users don’t always pin things they have or like;
they pin things they want and desire.
Source: Better Blogging Tips Pinterest Board
How this affects your marketing
Play to the “ideal self” – share images that represent what your followers
want to be like, not what they already are.
Exotic imagery works, don’t pin a picture of Disneyland – that’s something
plenty of people have already travelled to, some place people desire to travel
Share images that play up the audience’s desired identity. For example, if
your followers fancy themselves as ‘artists’, share images that play up the
Social media marketing is a tough nut to crack. Different social networks favor
different types of interactions however, keep the following in mind:
• Instead of marketing yourself on every network, pick the network whose
demographics matches your target audience’s.
• Positivity always wins – unless you’re deliberately trying to create
controversy (not a good option for most non-media businesses).
• Rules of content: Informative content on Twitter and LinkedIn, aspirational
content on Instagram and Pinterest, fun/positive/uplifting content on
About the writer
Puranjay is a writer, blogger and content marketer.
He's passionate about helping businesses get leads
and increase traffic through content marketing.
You can see more of his work at GrowthPub.com.
Puranjay Singh - GrowthPub