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Infinite Dial Indicates Social Media Use Has Stagnated

Study points to Facebook and Twitter use declines among younger users

While the general trend for media consumption reported in the Infinite Dial shows increased growth over the past year, not everything is turning up rosy. Social media had some surprises. While the awareness for all brands exceeded 90%, usage seems to be another story. Those numbers seem to have hit a plateau over the past four years, 77% in 2016, a peak of 80% in 2017, followed by 77% in 2018, and 79%, or 223 million this year.

Study purveyors Edison Research and Triton Digital’s numbers for social media brand usage show Facebook with 67% in 2016, declining to 61% this year. At the same time, Twitter dropped from 23% to 19% over the same time period. These numbers mean there are 15 million fewer Facebook users today than in 2017.

[Read: Infinite Dial: Podcast Listening Now a Majority Behavior]

Interesting details emerge when the numbers are broken down by age. While Facebook usage actually grew in the 55+ group, and declined slightly among 35–54 year olds, there was a drop from 79 to 62% over the past three years in the 12–34 group. In raw numbers, that works out to a drop from 82 million users to 65 million, a decrease of  17 million. Where did they go?

The Infinite Dial’s numbers suggest that they didn’t defect to other social media brands, they just stopped using Facebook.

When respondents were asked to name the social media brand they used most often, Facebook continues to come out ahead, although that lead has dropped from 65% in 2015 to 52% today. At the same time, Instagram and Snapchat have grown. When viewed from the 12–34 demographic, most used figures show Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat in almost a three-way tie.

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