A smart healthcare marketing blog
January 2014

User demographic of the top 5 major social networks

We know that different social networks appeal to different segments of the our population. But who are the biggest users of social media today?

Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project provides insights into which online adults are most drawn to 5 key platforms – Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram – each of which has grown in penetration over the past year. The results are both intuitive (Pinterest adoption is higher among women) and intriguing (the strong appeal of Instagram and Twitter to black Americans).


Facebook ranks as the most popular social network and is used by 71% of respondents. It remains particularly appealing to women (76%), 18-29-year-olds (84%) and those with household income of less than $50,000 per year (76%). Penetration rates appear to be slightly below-average among those with a college degree (68%), while adoption among the 65+ crowd has grown by 10% points in about a year’s time to reach 45%.

Men (24%) are more likely to use LinkedIn than women (19%).  LinkedIn use is highest among the 30-49 (27%) and 50-64 (24%) age groups, and is also far above-average among those with a college degree (38%). LinkedIn use trends upwards alongside household income (HHI), reaching 38% among those with HHI of at least $75k, more than triple the rate for those with less than $30k in HHI (12%). LinkedIn use is also higher among the employed (27%) than the unemployed (12%), and is virtually ignored by the rural population (8%).

Women are 4 times more likely than men to use Pinterest (33% vs. 8%). There appears to be little variation by race and ethnicity, with big gains in the past year among blacks (20%) and Hispanics (18%) putting them just below the 21% average. Interestingly, 18-29-year-olds (27%) have moved ahead of 30-49-year-olds (24%) in adoption. There is also a clear trend of rising adoption alongside education attainment and household income. Interestingly, suburban respondents are more likely than urban respondents to use Pinterest (23% vs. 19%).

There is virtually no gender disparity in Twitter usage, which stands at 18% of respondents. Twitter is easily most popular among 18-29-year-olds (31%), but there is no real trend when sorting by education attainment or household income. Suburban (18%) and urban (19%) are equally as likely to use Twitter.

Instagram use is also most popular among 18-29-year-olds (37%), and is right around average among 30-49-year-olds (18%). Instagram also tends to appeal more to urban (22%) and suburban (18%) than rural (6%) respondents.

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