Social Media Update 2014: What’s Happening on Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest/Facebook

% of online adults who use the following social media websites, by year

from Pew Research

In a new survey conducted in September 2014, the Pew Research Center finds thatFacebook remains by far the most popular social media site. While its growth has slowed, the level of user engagement with the platform has increased. Other platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn saw significant increases over the past year in the proportion of online adults who now use their sites.

The results in this report are based on the 81% of American adults who use the internet. Other key findings:

While Facebook remains the most popular social media site, its overall growth has slowed and other sites continue to see increases in usership.

Facebook continues to be the most popular social media site, but its membership saw little change from 2013. The one notable exception is older adults: For the first time in Pew Research findings, more than half (56%) of internet users ages 65 and older use Facebook. Overall, 71% of internet users are on Facebook, a proportion that represents no change from August 2013.

Every other social media platform measured saw significant growth between 2013 and 2014. Instagram not only increased its overall user figure by nine percentage points, but also saw significant growth in almost every demographic group. LinkedIn continued to grow among groups with which it was already popular, such as professionals and college graduates, while Twitter and Pinterest saw increases in usership across a variety of demographic groups.

The engagement of Facebook users continues to grow, while daily use on other platforms shows little change.

Facebook’s large base of users continues to be very active. Fully 70% engage with the site daily (and 45% do so several times a day), a significant increase from the 63% who did so in 2013. About half (49%) of Instagram users and 17% of Pinterest users engage with their respective platforms daily, although neither of these represent a significant change from 2013. Some 36% of Twitter users visit the site daily, but this actually represents a 10-point decrease from the 46% who did so in 2013. While the 13% of LinkedIn users who engage with the platform daily is unchanged from 2013, the proportion of users who use the site weekly or less often increased significantly—that is, more users log on less frequently.

52% of online adults use multiple social media sites. Facebook acts as “home base” — it remains the most popular site for those who only use one, and has significant overlap with other platforms.

Fully 52% of online adults use two or more social media sites, a significant increase from the 42% who did so in 2013. At the same time, significantly fewer adults use just one site — 28% compared with 36% last year. As in 2013, Facebook remains the most popular site among those who use only one — fully 79% of those who use just one site report using Facebook. As in years past, a significant majority of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn users say they also use Facebook, more than any other site. At the same time, the proportion of Facebook users who also use another site is on the rise — that is, there are more Facebook users this year who also use Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn than there were in 2013.

Social media users in the entire adult population

Among all American adults ages 18+, the percent who use the following social media sitesThe results of this report are focused on all internet users. In this survey, 81% of all American adults ages 18+ are internet users. The usage figures of the five social networking platforms measured are presented as a proportion of the total American adult population.

About this survey

The findings reported here were collected in omnibus surveys underwritten by the University of Michigan. The survey questions were designed in consultation with Dr. Nicole Ellison and Dr. Cliff Lampe from the University of Michigan’s School of Information. Further reports with more details about how people use social media will be produced later this year.

The results are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from September 11 to September 14, 2014 and September 18 to September 21, 2014. Telephone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,002) and cell phone (1,001, including 594 without a landline phone). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. For results based on Internet users (n=1,597), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

As in 2013, Pew Research asked users of each platform how often they engage with the site, whether on a daily, weekly or less frequent basis. Facebook users continue to be highly engaged, while the proportion of daily Twitter users decreased, and users of Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn mostly log on with similar frequency compared with last year.

Frequency of social media site useFacebook users are highly engaged with the platform. Fully 70% say they use Facebook daily (including 45% who do so several times a day), a significant increase from the 63% who visited daily in August 2013. Some 17% visit Facebook weekly, while 12% of users log on less often.

Most Facebook users are actively engaging with their networks on the site. As opposed to simply reading or viewing content, 65% of Facebook users frequently or sometimes share, post or comment on Facebook.

Almost half (49%) of Instagram users are on the platform daily, with 32% who say they go on Instagram several times a day. Another 24% say they check in weekly, while 26% visit Instagram less often than that. There were no significant changes since August 2013 in the proportion of Instagram users who use the site with varying degrees of frequency.

Some 36% of Twitter users visit the site daily, with 22% saying they go on Twitter several times a day. Another 24% say they visit a few days a week, while 40% say they check Twitter less often. The proportion of Twitter users who visit the site daily is a significant decrease from the 46% of users who did so in August 2013.

Some 17% of Pinterest users visit the site daily, including 9% who visit several times a day. Some 29% of users go on Pinterest weekly, while 52% say they visit the site less often. There were no significant differences since 2013 in the proportion of users who use Pinterest with varying degrees of frequency.

Some 13% of LinkedIn users visit the site every day, including 7% who say they visit LinkedIn several times a day. Compared with August 2013, more users log on less often. The proportion of LinkedIn users who visit the site weekly dropped from 34% in August 2013 to 25% in 2014. Likewise, 61% of LinkedIn users say they visit the site every few weeks or less often, compared with 52% who said so in 2013.

Multiple site usage: The new social media matrix

More people use multiple social media sitesToday, more than half of internet users (52%) use two or more of the social media sites measured (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn) compared with 42% who did so in 2013.

Facebook remains the most popular platform for those using just one social media site—fully 79% of those who use just one site report using Facebook. As in 2013, a significant majority of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn users say they also use Facebook, more than any other site. At the low end, 86% of LinkedIn users are also on Facebook. At the high end, 94% of Instagram users use Facebook (Instagram’s parent company).

The proportion of Facebook users who also use another platform increased significantly since August 2013 for each platform. That is, there are more Facebook users this year who also use

Percent of users of each particular site who use another particular siteTwitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn than there were last year. Similarly, there are more LinkedIn users who use Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest than there were in 2013. Finally, there are more Pinterest users on Instagram and LinkedIn than in 2013. These increases likely reflect the overall trend toward multiple-site use described above.

Turning to sites other than Facebook, a significant level of overlap exists between Instagram and Twitter users—58% of Twitter users also use Instagram, and 52% of Instagram users also use Twitter. Among non-Facebook sites, this is the highest rate of “reciprocity” between user groups measured.

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