Social media platforms today may have an age restriction to sign up, but they don’t have a cap. In 2013, the oldest Facebook user was 105! As families continue to grow and technology takes over for face-to-face time, social media is where we tend to turn to view the lives of those we care about or just want to get to know better.
To get started, let’s take a look at how many active users each social media platform has as of this writing. With no surprise, Facebook tops the list followed by LinkedIn and Twitter.
Now that we know where each site stands based on popularity, let’s take a look to see what age groups are using them today.
The now-famous social networking site was founded in 2004 by founders Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin, two Harvard college students. Facebook is home to over 936 million daily active users (as of March 2015) aged 13 and up. Users are able to connect with friends, family members and strangers by sharing pictures, writing comments, posting videos and playing games.
Who’s online: Although Facebook was created by and for college students, we can see that times have shifted, with more teens online overall. However, we do see that those college students from the early days are still online, holding strong with about 40% of the age demographic online.
This worldwide professional networking platform was founded by Reid Hoffman, Allen Blue, Konstantin Guericke, Eric Ly and Jean-Luc Vaillant in 2002 and officially launched in 2003. As of today, LinkedIn is home to over 364 million registered users who connect to share business articles, hunt for jobs, network and more.
Who’s online: It’s not a surprise when we see the age ranges of working adults and college students here. Teenagers do not have much work or networking experience, so they are not seen on this platform.
This micro-blog was designed in 2006 by Evan Williams, Noah Glass, Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone. Users have 140 characters (including spaces and punctuation) to share messages with others. Recently Twitter announced the introduction of autoplay for native videos, GIFs and Vines. As of today, Twitter engages 302 million monthly active users, with 500 million tweets sent per day.
Who’s online: Out of all the platforms we looked at, Twitter has second most diversified array of ages. Although most users range from ages 13-44, the 65+ category shows that 10% of the population surveyed enjoys this quick micro-blog.
The photo-sharing app was designed by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in 2010. In 2012, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion dollars, but he kept it as a separate entity from his current social media platform. Individuals can create a profile and are able to share their personal moments with others. Currently, Instagram has 300 million monthly active users.
Who’s online: We again see teens dominating this space, but young adults and adults are holding strong in second and third place, respectively.
As an additional layer to Google, Google+ (pronounced Google Plus) started in 2011 as a social network for Google users. With Google+, users create Circles that are categorized by friends, family and so on. At this time, Google+ is home to about 300 million monthly active users.
Who’s online: The numbers are a bit skewed by the fact when you sign up for a Gmail account, Google+ automatically comes with it. Without the sign-up process like other platforms, we tend to see a variety of ages.
This blog-style site was built to allow users to share text, photos, links, music and more. Tumblr (yes, there is no “e”, yet it’s still pronounced tum-blur) was founded in 2007 by David Karp. Today, the site houses 254.7 million blogs with 115.7 billion posts.
Note: Content on Tumblr is less filtered than other social media sites, so it may not be suitable for younger audiences.
Who’s online: We see a bit of an age shift on Tumblr compared to the others, as adults aged 25-44 are dominating the space. Could it be the flexibility of less censorship? Or the ability to blog more without building out a WordPress site? There is not currently any data, but this is a site to keep an eye on.
In 2011, Picaboo (hence the ghost logo) was launched by Evan Spiegel, Reggie Brown and Bobby Murphy. Later that year, after a dispute between the founders, Brown was removed, and Spiegel and Murphy changed the name to Snapchat. With this platform, users can create and share pictures and short videos. The difference from other social media options is the fact that a time limit is placed on each snap before it disappears. With Snapchat users reaching close to 200 million active users, they are ready to play with the big dogs.
Who’s online: Here again we are not surprised by the amount of users from the younger generations. Snapchat is a young app, with more freedom to share content without it living on forever. No more wondering if Grandma saw your Facebook post, because your snap only lasts for a limited time.
If you’re more into sharing short looping videos, then Vine is your platform. Started in June 2012 by Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll, the platform was acquired by Twitter in October 2012. However, it was not officially launched as a free app until the beginning of 2013. Currently, Vine has 100 million active daily users.
Who’s online: We see a wide array of ages that are using Vine to share videos; however, adults 25-44 are the most active. But there is no surprise that teens and young adults are holding a close second.
According to its founders Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp and Paul Sciarra, Pinterest is “a visual bookmarking tool” that “helps people discover the things they love, and inspire[s] them to go do those things in their daily lives.” Pinterest was founded in 2010 and is now home to roughly 70 million registered users (although Pinterest does not provide statistical information itself).
Who’s online: Everyone loves to pin! Pinterest has the No. 1 platform based on the diversity of age. From teenagers to users aged 65+, it seems that everyone finds something to pin.
What we learned
Next time you’re planning a social media campaign or looking to find the perfect audience for an event, come back by this post for a refresher. By knowing where your target audience’s age group hangs out, you can help make sure your information is getting in front of the right eyes.
As social media evolves, even as I write this post, someone somewhere is already developing what they hope will become the next big platform or app. We’ll keep our eyes open to see what’s to come and to learn how these numbers will shift overtime.
Just remember, don’t count your parents and grandparents out from being cool. They are on social media, too!