For these sites, which are constructed in large part around advertising-based business models, critical mass is crucial: you won’t visit a site if no one else is using it. Similarly, on the commercial side of the equation, one of the key metrics that the sites, and their advertisers, like to focus on is engagement.
It’s interesting, therefore, that when it comes to frequency of use, the rankings change. Facebook continues to remain at the top in the daily rankings, with 63% of people accessing it on a daily basis. Instagram — last in the general rankings — is not far off and in second place, with a 57% daily use. Similarly, its weekly and “less often” rates are also close, respectively at 22%/20% and 14%/22%. (This goes some way towards explaining why Facebook was keen to acquire it: their usage patterns are very close.)
Twitter may overall be seeing less usage in general than Pinterest but those who are on it appear more engaged: some 46% of Twitter users are on it daily for their quick fix of quips made and received. Pinterest, in contrast, has a fairly low rate of daily usage, with 23% of its users visiting on a daily basis.
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter also are generating a significant amount of mulitple-times-per-day use, with 40% at Facebook, 35% at Instagram and 29% at Twitter, Pew says.
LinkedIn, meanwhile, has a lot of work to do, with only 13% of its users going there daily. Are those the ones looking for work? In any case, this is another way of explaining why it is that LinkedIn has tried to overhaul its whole content operation, to create something that will attract people to visit it more frequently than just “less often.”
Pew notes that for now it looks like Facebook is partly winning because of how it has managed to appeal to a wide range of users — a pretty impressive turn for widening its reach, considering that it started out as a network restricted only to university networks.
The demographic data for other networks stands in contrast to this: Pinterest “holds particular appeal to female users”, with women four times more likely as men to be Pinterest users; LinkedIn is “especially” popular among college graduates and internet users in higher income households. Twitter and Instagram resonate with urbanites and younger adults, and non-whites. (Facebook has over 70% usage among whites, Hispanics and black users, Pew notes.) All of them, excepting LinkedIn, has its highest proportion of users in the 18-29 age bracket; LinkedIn is more popular with the 30-49 group.
Among those who say they use only one social networking site, Facebook is a clear winner with 84% selecting it as their sole site, with the others lagging behind by a very far stretch: 8% solely use LinkedIn, 4% solely use Pinterest, and Instagram and Twitter each picked up only 2% — positioning them as firmly secondary in the U.S. market today.