Social Media Usage: The Numbers Are In!

Here at Dunham, we’re extremely interested in a specific piece of research that comes out each year called The Infinite Dial, released by Edison Research. Primarily, the report is built around digital media consumption in all its different forms.

This report first began in 1998 and consists of a solid database we examine every year. Recently, the focus has shifted as new technologies have entered the scene. And with all that’s currently going on in the world, you could even say this data is more important than ever.

The research offers a perspective on what’s trending throughout different aspects of digital media. And one of the areas of focus is social media usage.

Social media usage

Social media usage has been flat for almost four years now, with total engagement in America right at 80 percent. And there’s no reason to expect that it’s going to increase beyond that.

But what we are seeing is a shift in how people use social media. Specifically, we’re seeing a shift to mobile from an engagement standpoint.

Social media platforms 

The data shows a steady increase on platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp, and a massive blow up this year of TikTok. And considering the recent months of quarantine, I’m guessing that TikTok has doubled since this report came out!

All in all, the overall percentage of people using social media has plateaued, but the specific mediums where people are engaging have shifted.

And then there’s Facebook. Facebook is still top dog, especially with older generations. Younger generations are spending an average of almost an hour a day on platforms like TikTok, whereas for Facebook, they tend to use it somewhat like an email address. They’ll check in on it once a day and then move over to live on another platform.

So we’re seeing a shift on where people are spending time, although they still maintain multiple platforms.

With social media, you’re typically going to be on multiple platforms, but you’re going to have a primary platform that you’re spending the most time on.

Instagram continues to grow steadily, although it’s not massive growth year to year. More and more people are spending more and more time on this platform as the functionalities have expanded over the years. It’s a maturing platform with Instagram stories, IGTV, and Instagram Live.

And with many opportunities for new social networks to enter the scene, we’ll see more of what we call “niche” social networks like Bleacher Report for sports or Next Door for neighborhoods.

The takeaway for nonprofits

Don’t abandon Facebook. Facebook is still king in the world of social media. While you should be engaging on Instagram and probably prioritizing it a little bit more, stay consistent on Facebook.

Remember, you’re building a community on each of these platforms and people are developing their habits that they will most likely keep for the next 10 years.

Social media is alive and well… embrace it!

For more insight into the latest research from The Infinite Dial, be sure to check out The Dunham Podcast episode, What You Need to Know About Digital Media Consumption.


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