Social media has been around for only a half-generation, but for consumers it has become a daily fabric of their lives and for businesses a crucial marketing avenue to reach their audience.
Facebook launched the social media era in 2004 and within a decade internet traffic on social media sites surpassed all other internet traffic every day between 3 p.m. and 1 a.m. EST.
By 2019 it was estimated that there were 3.2 billion social media users worldwide or almost half the planet’s population.
A social media timeline shows that most of the channels that are used daily have been around for a decade or longer, with the following launch dates:
- 2004 Facebook
- 2005 Reddit and YouTube
- 2006 Twitter
- 2010 Instagram and Pinterest
- 2011 LinkedIn and Snapchat
- 2017 TikTok
Businesses can not ignore the power of social media marketing; especially as younger generations have embraced daily social media usage at a higher rate than older generations.
Usage by Generation: From Boomers to Digital Natives
Logically the longer each generation has grown up with social media the more they use it in their daily lives.
A study by emarketer found that in 2018 less than half of Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, checked in on social media at least once a month while Millennials, those born 1981 and 1996, were, as a group, almost all on social media each month.
The use by generation in that study:
- Baby Boomers 48.2 percent
- Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980) 77.5 percent
- Millennials 90.4 percent
Millennials accessed social media on smartphones the most while Gen X, utilized tablets for social media, and Baby Boomers often use desktop platforms.
The newest generation, Gen Z, is the first generation to grow up as digital natives and they consume media differently than their parents and grandparents. Gen Z do not utilize older social media platforms as much, such as Facebook and Twitter, but tend to favor video and photos.
Gen Z also use social media less to check up on their peers and more for entertainment value.
Time Spent on Social Media
With increased usage of mobile devices time spent on social media has gone from once-a-day check-ins to almost constant monitoring of social media profiles across multiple applications.
From red lights to waiting rooms, at our workplace and in classrooms, from the breakfast table to our bed nightstands our devices keep us always connected to social media.
According to a June 2020 article in TechJury some current social media usage stats include:
- Users spend an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes per day on social media in 2020. That is up from just one hour per day in 2012.
- More than half of our time spent on mobile devices is spent on social media applications.
- Facebook is the most popular social media app with users spending almost an hour per day.
- Other applications and their average daily usage per user: Instagram (53minutes), Snapchat (49 minutes), YouTube (40 minutes), and Pinterest (14 minutes).
Social Media Marketing
Brands are still fine-tuning their social media marketing but seem satisfied with their efforts to reach their target audience via the applications.
In a 2019 study by Buffer, almost half of brands thought their social media marketing was “somewhat effective” and nearly a third that their efforts were “very effective”.
One method of social media marketing that has become popular for brands is to use “stories”. A staple of Snapchat, “stories” are snippets of content that feature video, photos, and text to convey a user story. Unlike permanent posts, “stories” go away after a period.
“Stories” are now popular on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and other social media.
In the Buffer study, 57 percent of brands found their “stories” very or somewhat effective in reaching consumers.
A new frontier in social media marketing may be on social media messaging platforms with nearly half of brands planning on leveraging platforms such as Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack, Telegram, Wechat, Viber or other apps.
About a third of brands continue to rely on social media influencers to get their message out.
Do you need a social media tune-up? Is your business using the right channels for your buyers? Contact adWhite today if you need some social media marketing guidance and support.