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With so many different social networking platforms out there, it can be confusing keeping them all straight and downright challenging managing a presence on all of them. In an ideal world, your business would be active on all of the top social networks, but who has the time? To help you get a better handle on this topic we will review some of the more popular networks’ demographics so you can determine which to initially focus on to reach your desired audience.

First, a primer on social network users:

  • There are over 2.8 million social network users worldwide
  • 28% of users are only on 1 social network
  • 4% of users are on more than 4 social networks


Facebook is the most-widely used of social media networks, and its user base is most broadly representative of the population as a whole. Businesses can create a Facebook ‘fan’ page as a means of sharing posts, articles and videos with their followers. Page administrators can directly engage followers via comments or private messages. Most significant to this network for marketers is its robust advertising platform that enables you to drill down by demographic or interest.

  • As of January 10, 2018, 68% of adults use Facebook and 74% of active users visit daily
  • Facebook has 1.9 billion unique monthly users
  • Its users include 83% of women online and 75% of men online
  • Facebook is the best place to reach Millennials and Gen X’ers who spend several hours per week on social media
  • 75% of users spend at least 20 minutes on Facebook daily


With a focus on video content, the YouTube platform can be used for a variety of business marketing related activities including lead generation, monetized content, and advertising. An alternative to creating your own videos may involve curating those that would be of interest to your audience. Or if light on content, perhaps it makes more sense to take advantage of the advertising opportunities.

  • As of January 10, 2018, 73% of adults use YouTube and 45% of active users visit daily
  • 55% of YouTube users are men and 45% are women
  • YouTube is a great place to connect with Millennials and Gen X’ers with a reach larger than any U.S. cable network for those between the ages of 18-49
  • Approximately 2 million videos are viewed per minute on YouTube


Instagram is the fastest growing social network with as many as 700 million unique monthly visitors. Like Facebook, you have the ability to add photos and videos to your profile page with a goal of attracting followers. Images that are uploaded can be put through a number of Instagram ‘filters’ that apply various photographic effects in a snap for the novice. Since this is a visually based platform, it lends itself particularly well to creative topics and to aesthetic and visual subjects.

  • As of January 10, 2018, 35% of adults use Instagram and 60% of active users visit daily
  • Instagram has a slightly larger female audience at 38% of women online followed by 26% of men online
  • Instagram is an excellent place to reach Millennial users with 90% of all users being under 35
  • Business are seeing an increase in visibility with 53% of users following brands


Pinterest may very well have the most fresh and relevant content with its 317 million unique monthly visitors. With Pinterest you can share your own images or create collections called boards meant to inspire and celebrate topics of interest. Like Instagram, with its visual focus, this platform is well suited to creative topics and to aesthetic, visual or even historical subjects.

  • As of January 10, 2018, 29% of adults use Pinterest
  • Pinterest has a female dominated audience with 45% of women online visiting compared to 17% of men
  • User age groups are evenly represented among 18-64 year-olds
  • Pins have the most longevity with 151,200 minutes of ‘shelf life’ vs. 24 minutes for a tweet and 90 minutes for a Facebook post


LinkedIn is the top professional business networking site with 106 million unique monthly visitors. Where other networks are geared more to ‘socializing’, LinkedIn is focused on ‘networking’ relative to career opportunities. That said, you can anticipate a mature audience who may appreciate a more serious tone.

  • As of January 10, 2018, 25% of adults use LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn has a male dominated audience with 31% of men online visiting followed closely by 27% of women
  • 45% of online users earning more than $75K per year use LinkedIn whereas 21% of online users earning $30K or less per year use it
  • LinkedIn users are slightly less likely to use other social media networks


Twitter is a news and networking service where users post and interact with messages otherwise known as ‘tweets’. Tweets are limited to 140-280 characters; a guideline that facilitates quick, concise messaging. Users also have the ability to share links, photos and video. Twitter has been deemed the most oversaturated social network with over 317 million unique monthly visitors. As of January 10, 2018, 24% of adults use Twitter and 46% of active users visit daily.

  • Twitter is dominated by a male audience of 22% of male online users compared to 15% of women
  • 36% of online adults between the ages of 18-29 use Twitter
  • 53% of users never post updates and the average time spent via the mobile app is 2.7 minutes per day


Consider the statistics above to identify where you are most likely and easily able to connect with your target audience. While the reach and potential of Facebook as the largest social network cannot be ignored, you may find that your business or service fits nicely within the framework of others as well.

All big ideas begin with a glimmer of a concept. Select 2-3 social networks where you feel you can be the most successful and pour your energy into those knowing that you can always expand in the future.

To view the above stats in a visual format visit:

If this all sounds too complicated or time consuming, the team at Varsity 5 would be happy to lend a hand in managing your social media presence or social media marketing campaign. Reach out to us today to get a plan in motion. Visit us at or email [email protected].
Liz Z.

Liz Z.

Designer, Educator, Contributor

Liz is a designer and former educator, having taught full-time in the Digital Media & Internet Design discipline for 6 years. Her experiences in print design and production coupled with over 10 years of real-world web development have provided Liz a great foundation to contribute meaningfully to our Team Talks.

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