With more than a billion users, Facebook is widely regarded as the social network to beat. But new data from the Pew Internet Research Project suggests that other social networks such as Twitter and Instagram are making strong gains among users, with the potential to challenge Facebook’s crown in future years.
Although Facebook remains the largest social network, its growth among Americans has slowed to a virtual standstill over the past year, except among older adults (i.e., those 65 years of age and over). “Every other social media platform measured saw significant growth between 2013 and 2014,” read Pew’s report accompanying the data. “Instagram not only increased its overall user figure by nine percentage points, but also saw significant growth in almost every demographic group.”
LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter all enjoyed significant gains in users over the past year. Potentially more worrisome for Facebook, however, is users’ increasing willingness to spread their social lives across multiple platforms: Roughly 52 percent of online adults used two or more social networks in 2014, a 10 percent increase from 2013. “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,” the report added. “Among non-Facebook sites, this is the highest rate of ‘reciprocity’ between user groups measured.”
The rising use of social networking comes despite Americans’ well-recorded fear of their privacy being invaded online. Those concerns aside, Pew found that the majority of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter users relied on those respective services either daily or weekly to keep in touch with friends and followers.
For developers, startup mavens, and IT pros, Pew’s data suggests that anyone marketing a new app, service, or company will need to broadcast the message across multiple platforms, especially if they’re targeting younger users. Focusing on Facebook and Twitter just isn’t enough anymore.
Images: Twin Design/Pew