“65% of adults now use social networking sites ‰ÛÒ a nearly tenfold jump in the past decade. Nearly two-thirds of American adults (65%) use social networking sites, up from 7% when Pew Research Center began systematically tracking social media usage in 2005. Pew Research reports have documented in great detail how the rise of social media has affected such things as work, politics and political deliberation, communications patterns around the globe, as well as the way people get and share information about health, civic life, news consumption, communities, teenage life, parenting, dating and even people‰Ûªs level of stress.”

“A special analysis of 27 national surveys of Americans across the past decade documents this substantial spread of technology throughout the population, although the overall number of users of social networking sites has leveled off since 2013.1At the same time, there continues to be growth in social media usage among some groups that were not among the earliest adopters, including older Americans,” Andrew Perrin wrote for Pew in “Social Media Usage: 2005-2015.”

“The figures reported here are for social media usage among all adults, not just among those Americans who are internet users. In many previous Pew Research reports, the share of social media users has been reported as the proportion of internet users who had adopted such sites, rather than the full adult population, which continues to include a relatively small share (currently 15%) who still remain offline. In this report, a broader picture of the American landscape is presented, and so the figures are based on the entire adult population.”

Across demographic groups, a number of trends emerge in this analysis of social media usage:

  • Age differences: Seniors make strides ‰ÛÒ Young adults (ages 18 to 29) are the most likely to use social media ‰ÛÒ fully 90% do. Still, usage among those 65 and older has more than tripled since 2010 when 11% used social media. Today, 35% of all those 65 and older report using social media, compared with just 2% in 2005.
  • Gender differences: Women and men use social media at similar ratesåʉÛÒ Women were moreåÊlikely than men to use social networking sites for a number of years, although since 2014 these differences have been modest. Today, 68% of all women use social media, compared with 62% of all men.
  • Socio-economic differences: Those with higher education levels and household income lead the way ‰ÛÒ Over the past decade, it has consistently been the case that those in higher-income households were more likely to use social media. More than half (56%) of those living in the lowest-income households now use social media, though growth has leveled off in the past few years. Turning to educational attainment, a similar pattern is observed. Those with at least some college experience have been consistently more likely than those with a high school degree or less to use social media over the past decade. 2013 was the first year that more than half of those with a high school diploma or less used social media.
  • Racial and ethnic similarities: There are not notable differences by racial or ethnic group: 65% of whites, 65% of Hispanics and 56% of African-Americans use social media today.
  • Community differences: More than half of rural residents now use social media ‰ÛÒ Those who live in rural areas are less likely than those in suburban and urban communities to use social media, a pattern consistent over the past decade. Today, 58% of rural residents, 68% of suburban residents, and 64% of urban residents use social media.

Many of these types of social media users are following their local media online. Think about this audience next time: 11.1% of adults follow their local TV stations on Twitter. AudienceSCAN also found that 22.5% of adults follow their local TV stations on Facebook. What if these are the ONLY channels they look to for information, news and updates? Right: Your advertisers need to be here! It’s a great way to reach men ‰ÛÒ 57% of followers are male. Get your zoos and aquariums advertising on social media, because this audiences is 208% more likely than average consumers to be zoo/aquarium members. 47% are using Android devices. After they’ve seen ads that pique their curiosity on Twitter, they’ll probably look that business up on the spot! 35% of Local TV Station Followers use smartphones to look up business info/locations.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.