By understanding the types of people who are on the different social media sites, you can get a better idea of where your company would best spend its efforts and what kind of strategy would be most successful on the different sites.

For example, if you are trying to reach an elderly demographic, you probably don’t want to spend a lot of time on SnapChat or on creating memes.

The demographics won’t be as simple as that in every scenario. Here’s what you need to know about social media demographics for 2016:

Total Users

If you are trying to target a more general population, you may want to start with the social networks that have the most users.

Right now, Facebook is the largest social network, with more than 1.7 billion users. YouTube trails in second, with more than 1 billion users.

Other major players include WhatsApp (900 million), LinkedIn (450 million), Instagram (400 million) and Google+ (300 million).

You may be surprised at some of the numbers that other social networks boast, such as MySpace (holding in with 50 million users), Flickr (112 million) and SnapChat (100 million).


Just because a site has a lot of users doesn’t mean that they are engaged. Some networks, like Vine, have a lot of passive usage. Others, like Facebook, have users who actively share, like, comment and otherwise engage with content.

You want to know which sites are the most engaging, and which have engagement with your target audience.

For the most coveted demographic – the 18-34 age group – the most engaging social networks include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, in that order. The least engaging are Vine and Tumblr.

Lower engagement doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be successful on those networks. But it does mean that you need to be conscious of the challenges and create a strategy with increased engagement in mind.


Different sites are popular with different age groups.

For example, 90 percent of the people on Instagram are younger than 35. Approximately 32 percent of teenagers in the United States say that Instagram is their favorite social network. That’s a third of the teen population here!

The largest share of Facebook’s users are in the 35-54 age bracket (just about a third), but it also has a large presence of users in the 18-24 and 25-34 age range.

It is important that you take a closer look at the age ranges of the user base for any social network before you craft your strategy for it – especially if you have a limited budget and must pick your networks carefully.

Business Usage

By looking at where the businesses are on social media, you can not only find where businesses are being successful but also where you have some missed opportunities that you can take advantage of.

While numerous businesses are on Facebook, it is interesting to note than only 20 of the Fortune 500 companies are on the network. Yet 83 percent of those companies are on Twitter.

Many higher-end companies to find Facebook to be more lighthearted, which means that their customers are not likely to look for information about the kinds of products they sell on the network. Meanwhile, with Twitter, they can share more serious and professional posts that encourage conversation and connection.

Promotional, branded content is also more popular with certain demographics, such as those in the 55-64 age range. Those are not the kind of people who are using Facebook as actively.

It is important that you have a profile on most if not all social networks though so that you can monitor your brand mentions. Even if people are not following brands on social media, research has shown that 96 percent of people are talking about brands on social media.


Video is increasingly popular on social media, even outside of dedicated sites like YouTube and Vine.

For example, Facebook reports having more than 8 billion average video views per day. Approximately 500 million – or nearly half – of its users are responsible for those daily views.

Meanwhile, SnapChat reports an average of 6 billion video views every day, even though it has less than a tenth of the active user base as Facebook.

Approximately 78 percent of people on social media watch videos online each week, and 55 percent watch them every day. The average person spends more than an hour per day watching video on their computer or mobile devices.

If you are not already creating video for your social media channels, you need to be. You are missing out on a lot of user engagement and followers.

Understanding social media demographics can help you make a stronger marketing strategy by each site so that you get a stronger return on your investment. You can make sure that every minute and every dollar you are spending on the site will get results for you.