UK social media usage hit an all-time high at the beginning of 2018, with a hefty 83% of the adult population now tweeting, ‘gramming, snapping and liking on one or more channels. In this blog, we take a look at the latest UK social media statistics.

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A recent study by Flint found that – unsurprisingly – Facebook is dominating the UK social media sphere, with Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram ranking as the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 6th most used networks. And while Facebook’s user growth has plateaued since 2016, Instagram and Whatsapp have enjoyed a steady increase of 12% and 10% respectively – with the former showing no signs of slowing down.

The same study ranked YouTube as the second most-used social media channel in the UK, with 79% of online adults* using the platform and 26% of them using the channel ‘several times a day’. Twitter claimed fifth place with 47% usage.

Facebook

Facebook has by far the largest user base, with over 30 million people (that’s around half the UK population) actively using the site, and 45% using it ‘several times a day’. Flint reports that a higher percentage of the UK’s online females use Facebook compared to males (84% vs 73%) and it’s slightly more popular in urban areas than rural (80% vs 75%).

As it currently stands, Facebook is most favoured by 23-37 year olds, with a recent IPSOS Mori survey finding that 80% of respondents within the age bracket use the platform regularly. In contrast, the report found that less than 60% of 52-71 year olds are active users.

However, things aren’t looking too rosy for the social media giant. According to an eMarketer forecast, 700,000 fewer 12-24 year olds will regularly use the platform in 2018 (a decrease of 10%) with many of them moving to Snapchat and other rival sites. And while a predicted increase of around 500,000 new over 55’s may go some way to counteract this, the various fake news and data breach issues currently circulating the channel could prompt many more to turn away.

Of course, the 2018 algorithm changes will also have a big impact on these figures – Facebook has made it clear that they expect users to spend less time on the site as a result.

But with Groups really starting to take off and brands working hard to create content that will spark discussion, will users actually find themselves spending more time on the platform? Only time will tell.

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Instagram

Globally, Instagram’s monthly users soared to 700 million in 2017 – around a 200m increase year on year. Exact UK usage is unclear – Napoleancat reported 17.2 million monthly users in early 2017, while eMarketer estimated 16.7 million in the summer.

What is clear is the channel’s skew towards a younger audience: 18-34 year olds account for 61% of the user base, with over 81% of online adults within the age group using the platform. A study by UKOM also found that nearly half of the time spent on Instagram each month was by 18-24 year olds.

With introductions of new innovative features such as Shopping, increasing use of the Stories feature (topping 300 million daily as of October 2017) and no indication of new user growth slowing down, it’s looking like 2018 is set to be another successful year for the channel.

Twitter

If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that Twitter is pretty cagey about their usage figures. The last official number we had from them was way back in 2013, when they claimed that the site had 15 million UK users. However, at the end of last year Twitter admitted it had been overestimating its monthly active users since 2014 – throwing that initial figure into doubt.

The latest estimate from eMarketer suggests that Twitter now only has 12.6 million UK-based users – indicating a significant drop. It’s not all bad news though; the user base is predicted to grow slightly over the next few years, with a long-term forecast of 13.2 million users by 2021.

A surprising report by IPSOS Mori also shows that a ‘startlingly high proportion [of 16-22 year olds] are using Twitter’ with just under 45% of the age group active on the channel. Is Twitter quietly welcoming younger users whilst Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook battle it out in public? 

The platform has been working hard over the past year to combat trolls and abuse, as well as removing hundreds of thousands of bots and fake accounts. They have introduced new safety reporting features, and are cracking down on spam-like behaviour such as repeating the same tweet a number of times.

Snapchat

It’s been a troublesome couple of years for Snapchat. The channel’s core features have been copied mercilessly by Facebook and Instagram, its IPO was a flop and in early 2018 over 1.2million users signed a petition calling for its redesign to be reversed. However, things may be looking up, with eMarketer forecasting that Snapchat’s advertising revenue is set to soar to £310m by 2020 – not only overtaking Twitter, but also consumer magazine digital and print spend, and cinema advertising.

Currently, 30% of UK online* adults are using Snapchat, with 16% using it at least once a day. The platform is slightly more popular with females (34% of total online population vs 25% for males), and is far more popular in urban areas than rural (32% vs 22%). The youngest age group (18-24) dominates with 77% of people in the age bracket using the platform. This drops sharply to 38% of 35-44 year olds and just 2% for over 75s.

LinkedIn

Back in 2016, LinkedIn claimed to have over 20 million users in the UK – around 33% of the online* population. And while they haven’t released any UK stats since, the platform hit half a billion global users in April 2017, with the UK ranked as the fourth most connected country in the world. London also tops the list of the most connected places, with users based in the city averaging 307 connections.

The channel is more popular with online males than females (37% vs 29%) and used by more 25-44 year olds than other age groups. The more a person earns the more likely they are to have an account: over 50% of people earning £45k+ are on the site compared to just 22% earning up to £14k. However, Flint found that only 21% of users were active on the platform once a day, with 63% using it just once a week or less.

 

Pinterest

Pinterest is still showing strong global growth with 200 million people now using the platform every month – an increase of almost 40% year on year. And while specific UK usage stats are unavailable, the platform confirmed that more than 75% of new sign signs are from outside the US. 

The channel is used by far more females than males (45% vs 27% of online UK adults, according to Flint) with is most popular with 25-34 year olds. 22% of users are active on the site at least once a day, while 55% use it once a week or less.

Alongside their growth announcement, Pinterest released some impressive usage and purchase stats – revealing that 90% of weekly Pinners use the platform to make purchase decisions, with 72% saying the channel inspires them to shop when they actually aren’t looking for anything.

YouTube

YouTube ranked as the UK’s second most popular social media channel in Flint’s report, with a reported 37.1 million adults using the platform. A comScore report released in October 2017 revealed that people aged between 18-24 watched ‘a massive 486.6 videos each on average’ during July 2017, compared to just 96 views among those aged 55+. 79% of all content during the month was consumed via mobile and the average video viewing time was 3.7 minutes.

Both comScore and Flint four that gender usage is fairly even (49% female and 51% male), but usage decreased as the audience aged: 97% of all 18-24 year-olds are active on the site down to just 40% of those 70+.

Article sources:  Flint , Rose McGrory, The Guardian, Napoleancat, UKOM, Campaign Live, BGR, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Digital TV Europe

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