Pew Survey: Facebook U.S. User Growth Flat, But More Engaged Than Ever
Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are still adding people in significant numbers; Everyday use of Facebook is picking up pace.
Americans’ use of social media is surging, but the results are mixed for the reigning king of the industry Facebook, according to a survey released today by the Pew Research Center.
There’s no doubt about Facebook’s continuing dominance. The Pew results, drawn from a telephone poll in September, found that 71% of U.S. online adults are users of Facebook. No other social network cracked the 30% mark. Facebook’s figure is unchanged from 2013, indicating that it’s likely going to be hard for Mark Zuckerberg’s company to gain more penetration.
On the other hand, Facebook users are more engaged than ever on the network; 70% said they use it daily, an increase of 7 percentage points over 2013. And 45% of Facebook users visit the site several times a day. Another positive sign for Facebook is that older users are still flocking to the service. Now 56% of U.S. internet users 65 and older use the network, up from 45% in 2013 and 35% in 2012. According to Pew, 31% of all seniors in the country are on Facebook.
While Facebook’s overall U.S. user numbers stayed flat, the other major social networks — Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn — all made statistically significant gains, according the the Pew survey. Facebook-owned Instagram’s growth was the most rapid, up 9 percentage points to 26%. Twitter was at 23%, up from 18% the previous year. Pinterest and LinkedIn each have a 28% share, after gaining 7 and 6 percentage points, respectively.
The report also found a significant increase in the number of people who use multiple social networks: 52% said they use two or more, an increase from 42% in 2013.
Some other interesting results from the report:
- In a possible ominous sign for Twitter, daily use of the network dropped 10 percentage points to 36%. Twenty-two percent say they check Twitter several times a day, 24% a few times a week and 40% less often.
- Instagram showed statistically significant growth across all age demographics, while still skewing younger. Notably 53% of younger adults (18-29) use the service, up from 37% in 2013. Instagram users are very active; 49% say they use the site daily, 32% several times a day and 24% weekly.
- In the not-a-surprise department, Pinterest is still favored mostly by women, with 42% of all online U.S. females saying they are Pinterest users. That’s up from 33% the year before. The men? Still lagging at 13%, an increase of 5 points over 2013.
- LinkedIn users are coming to the site less often with weekly users dropping to 25% from 34% and those who visit every few weeks or less increasing to 61% from 52% the previous year. Users of the career-oriented network still skew older, higher income and college educated (50% of college graduates — an increase of 12 percentage points from 2013 — use LinkedIn).
You can read the full Pew report here.
Postscript: The Wall Street Journal reported today that Twitter strongly disputes Pew’s figure for daily use, quoting a spokesman: “Pew’s data is so remarkably wrong as to be laughable.” Twitter doesn’t generally report daily active use, but the spokesman said 48% of people in Twitter’s top 20 markets, which include the U.S., use Twitter daily. Pew’s survey only included U.S. adults, which might account for the discrepancy, Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, told the Journal.
The Journal noted that there was no similar discrepancy between the Pew engagement results for Facebook, which does report daily active users and put the percentage at 64% of its 1.35 billion monthly users in its third quarter earnings report.