50 social media statistics to create a smarter marketing strategy

Published: Thursday, January 30, 2014

There is a lot of data about social media use floating about the Interwebz. I’m always looking for new research that will make me more effective. But, I usually find it in bits and pieces, rarely compiled into one big set.

Because of that, I wanted to aggregate a bunch of data I found useful into a megapost for my own use and also for other marketers and strategists to use. Hopefully we can all be more effective at using social media.

1. Facebook: Men talk sports, music, technology; women talk mood, friends, special occasions


Data from Wolfram Alpha shows that there are pretty noticeable differences in the way men and women use Facebook. One of the biggest differences is the topics that they discuss most frequently.

2. Facebook: Most sharing happens on Saturday


Got something cool you want your fans to pass on to their friends? Don’t shy away from weekends. According to a KISSmetrics study, sharing behavior goes up on Saturday.

3. Facebook: Photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments


We’re visual creatures after all. Hubspot data shows huge increases in interaction for Facebook posts that include images.

4. Facebook: 29% decline in teen usage in 2013, said to be leveling off

The impending collapse of Facebook is probably not all it’s made out to be. But, stats do indeed show that the site’s popularity among teens has taken a hit. According to research from Mashable, though, the exodus of teens from Facebook is a trend that seems to be slowing and leveling off.

5. Facebook: Shorter posts get 23% more interaction


Keep it short and sweet to maximize interaction, according to research. Posts with 70 characters or less are apparently the most engaging. (Source)

6. Facebook: Emoticons in posts boost comments by 33%

Maybe smileys aren’t just a cutesy way to flirt through text messages. AmEx OPEN Forum put together an infographic on Facebook research that showed emoticons to boost interaction — including increasing comments by 33%, shares by 33%, and likes by 57%.

7. Facebook: Weekends are when content get the most interaction, brands post the least


A study from Buddymedia concluded that brand posts on the weekends tend to generate the most interaction. And, at the same time, these are the days that brands tend to post the least. This makes sense for a page that’s managed by Monday through Friday staff, but it makes the case for scheduling a few updates in the interim. (Source)

8. Facebook: Except for “general retail”

Although the above study concluded that overall weekend engagement was better, there was variation by market. Monday tends to see the most interaction for these types of brands, with clothing/fashion brands seeing best results on Thursdays. As always — test with your own audience to figure which days tend to be the best.

9. Facebook: Question posts get 100% more comments, fewer likes and shares

Ask away! Just know, that while questions may spark conversation on your page, it probably won’t get your post passed around. (Source)

10. Facebook: Liking “curly fries” means you’re smart

What insights are there to learn about people based on their Facebook “likes”? Apparently, a lot. And, probably a lot weirder ones than we might ever imagine.

An academic study on correlations between people’s Facebook interests and their personality found that you can tell a lot about someone just be which things they profess admiration for on social media. In particular, there is a high correlation between intelligence level and liking curly fries. Odd.

11. Instagram: The fastest growing social network in the world


According to data from GlobalWebIndex, Instagram was the fastest growing social media network coming into 2014. The photo-sharing network grew by 23% in late 2013.

12. Instagram: Brand engagement up 350%

As IG has burst into the mainstream, its use by — and usefulness to — brands has increased dramatically. Between 2012 and the end of 2013, engagement with brands on the photo-sharing network nearly quadrupled according to a study from Simply Measured. (Source)

13. Instagram: Photos generate 26% more engagement than videos

Many people wondered how Instagram’s introduction of video might change the dynamic of the platform. But, according to the Simply Measured study mentioned above, it seems that users have not quite latched onto the moving format like that have photos. Engagement rates for videos are 26% lower than photos.

14. Instagram: 18x more engagement than Facebook, 48x more than Twitter

According to a study released by L2 Think Tank, Instagram generates 18x more consumer engagement for brands than Facebook, and a whopping 48x more than Twitter. This seems likely to be an aggregate engagement figure based on likes, comments, and shares/retweets and is probably a result of the visual nature of Instagram and its lack of clutter in the timeline.

This study was also released before Facebook’s latest change to their Edgerank algorithm that slashed organic reach for pages. So, the differences are likely even more pronounced at this point. (Source)

15. Instagram: Blue’s best

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If you’re not feeling the love on your Instagram photos, perhaps it’s because your compositions are just the wrong color. Research shows that photos that are dominantly blue in color tend to get more likes — 24% more than their poor, red counterparts.

16. Instagram: 57% of users use it daily


Second only to Facebook, 57% of Instagram users say they use the network daily. (Source)

17. Instagram: Mayfair filter gets the most engagement


Despite its limited popularity, a study from TrackMaven shows that photos using the Mayfair filter average the most engagement (likes and comments). It even beats out the ever-popular #nofilter.

18. Instagram: 5 hashtags grab the most engagement


The same Track Maven study above concluded that for brands with more than 1,000 followers, posts that contained 5 hashtags received the most interaction on average.

A separate analysis concluded that for brands with less than 1,000 followers, using 11 or more hashtags (basically, going hashtag crazy) will actually help boost average engagement. So, this may be an effective (albeit kind of annoying) way to build an initial following.

19. Instagram: Use boosts sales in U.S. by 1.5-3.0%

SumAll — a sales and marketing data and management app — released a study last year that concluded a direct connection between brands using Instagram and sales. According to their analysis, brands in the U.S. saw a jump in sales of 1.5-3.0% by joining and using the social network.

20. Instagram: 47% of Internet users repost content


Think you always have to be creating brand new content to keep up with the pressures of Instagram? Think again.

While this study from Pew was not specific to Instagram users, it shows that many Internet users — nearly half — share content they find elsewhere. This leaves a lot of room for curation, rather than creation, in an effective social media strategy. Just be sure to give credit where it’s due. (Source)

21. Twitter: Baby boomers are flocking to tweeting

Since 2012, Twitter users aged 55-64 grew by more than 79%. (Source)

22. Twitter: “Please RT” actually works

Be wary of sounding too demanding, but studies indicate that nearly 30% of all retweets on Twitter include a literal ask — “please RT”.

23. Twitter: The best time for RTs? 5:00 PM


People are off the clock, and maybe they’re feeling generous. (Or, perhaps, they’re just trying to look busy for the last few minutes of work.) (Source)

24. Twitter: Tweets with hashtags get 2x as much engagement

Expand your tweet’s visibility by using active hashtags. They can seem a bit hokey — and most people don’t seem to take them seriously — but, there are plenty of active discussions that are tied together through hashtags. Beware, though: Tweets with 1 or 2 hashtags get a boost in engagement, but tweets with 3+ see a drop. (Source)

25. Twitter: Tweets with images — also — get 2x as much engagement


This year, Twitter rolled out their new feed which prominently features in-line images that are attached to tweets with native Twitter image support. According to research, tweets with images average twice as much engagement as those without.

26. Twitter: Verbs and adverbs increase CTR; adjectives and nouns decrease it


The language of your tweet can have a big impact on your click-through rate, according to data from HubSpot.

27. Twitter: Half female, half male

According to a study from Pew Research Center, Twitter “news consumers” — which make up half of all Twitter users and are 83% 18-49 — are split right down the middle, with 50% being male, and 50% being female.

28. Twitter: Educated, richer than most


The same Pew study found that of this group of Twitter “news consumers”, 40% hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 29% of the total population, and 48% make more than $75,000/year, compared to 39% of all U.S. adults.

29. Twitter: Almost 50% of users are on Twitter daily

Another piece of research from Pew shows that Twitter has one of the most-engaged audiences of all social media networks. 46% of Twitterers are on the site each day; a rate bested only by Facebook and Instagram. This seems to make sense given the real-time nature of the platform and how fast content moves through the timeline. (Source)

30. Twitter: Half of users also use Instagram, 90% use Facebook


Overlap on social media is always an interesting source of study. Especially as, it seems, social media has become more divergent with different sites beginning to develop more specific niches among the total population.

In Twitter’s case, there is significant overlap with Instagram users (53% of those who use Twitter also use IG), and nearly all Twitter users (90%) also use Facebook. (Source)

31. Pinterest: 69% of users are women

This probably doesn’t come as a huge shock, but nearly 3/4ths of Pinterest users are women.

32. Pinterest: Women use it as inspiration, men use it as a wish list

Even though less men use Pinterest, more of them use it as a way to find products or services they eventually want to purchase (31% said they planned to buy clothing items they pinned). So, even if your target audience leans male, it may not be a bad place to hock your wares.

33. Pinterest: Now more popular than Twitter


As of 2013, Pinterest use among Americans has passed Twitter use. (Source)

34. Pinterest: Prices prevent pinning

Research shows that for brands on Pinterest, posts that don’t include prices are twice as likely to be repinned as those that include price information. (Source)

35. Pinterest: More color = more pins


Boost repinning activity by using more color. A study of which types of images tend to get repinned the most showed that images with multiple dominant colors get repinned 3.25 times as much as those with only a single dominant color. (Source)

36. Pinterest: Red (and orange) rules everything around me

The same Curalate study from above found that images on Pinterest that are primarily red-orange in color generated twice as many repins as images that were blue.

37. Pinterest: Save the face


Once again pulling from Curalate’s extensive study, they found that photos without faces generated 23% more repins than those that included someone’s mug.

38. Pinterest: A referral customer is worth about $80


A study by Monetate found that customers coming from Pinterest spend more, on average, than those coming from any other social media network. They spend just over $80 for each conversion.

39. Pinterest: Driving “reverse-showrooming”

“Showrooming” — when consumers scope out products in stores and then buy them somewhere else online — has been a rising concern for many major retailers. But, a study from Vision Critical published by Harvard Business Review found that 41% of social media users are doing the opposite — finding items online and then going to a brick-and-mortar store to buy.

Pinterest users lead this trend, with 21% of them saying they’ve performed “reverse-showrooming”.

40. Pinterest: 51% of purchasers say they didn’t intend to buy when pinning

Could it be that pinning a product on Pinterest pushes consumers to the buying decision?

The Vision Critical study from above found that of consumers who were purchasing items from a Pinterest board, 51% of them said they had no intention to buy the product when they originally pinned it. There’s a pining/pinning pun in there somewhere.

41. LinkedIn: Users in the US may be nearing a saturation point

Although LinkedIn has had one of the best times monetizing its social network — mostly through revenue generated from recruiters and job seekers — even its CEO has said that they may be nearing a slow down in user growth. This, though, likely means that a huge number of white-collar professionals will be accessible through LinkedIn. And they are experimenting with new ad models that make it easier to reach their audience.

42. LinkedIn: The average CTR for ads on the site is a paltry .025%

Even though there are low click-through rates on most ads online, this is especially low. This means you need to take extra time to consider your ad, offer, and targeting to try to fare better than the average. (Source)

43. LinkedIn: More than 200 group conversations happen each minute

Some of the latest data from LinkedIn revealed that more than 200 conversations occur every minute inside the site’s groups. This tells us a lot about where the bulk of activity occurs on LinkedIn — and where the largest opportunity lies for brands to engage people.

44. LinkedIn: 79% of users are 35+

You read that correctly. According to recent statistics, more than 3/4 of LinkedIn’s users are over the age of 35. It makes sense given the professional nature of the site, but still seems higher than expected.

45. LinkedIn: Drives 64% of all social media traffic to corporate websites


Research from Econsultancy concludes that LinkedIn visitors are much more likely to visit corporate websites — something they consider to be an indicator of interest.

46. Slideshare: 159 million monthly page views

Got a presentation that needs hosting/shared? Slideshare (owned by LinkedIn) is your best bet. The site brings hundreds of millions of page views each month. (Source)

47. YouTube: Reaches more 18-34 year olds than any cable TV network

According to official YouTube viewer statistics (based on Nielsen data), YouTube’s audience of 18-34 year old adults is larger than any cable TV network.

48. YouTube: We love to laugh


The most-watched type of YouTube content is humor/comedy, according to Pew research. 58% of users said they watch humorous videos, up from 50% in 2009. 56% say they watch how-to content and 50% say educational.

49. YouTube: 31% of Internet users post videos

Up from just 14% in 2009, now almost one third of online adults in the U.S. say they post and/or share their own video content online. 39% of adults under 50 who have posted a video online say they hoped it would go viral. (Source)

50. Vine: 12% of adult cell phone owners watch videos on Vine

The quick-clip social network from Twitter picked up some decent steam, being adopted by more than 1 in 10 adult cell phone owners. This number is likely to be down significantly after Instagram’s video capability was revealed. (Source)

For the record: Yes, I purposely omitted Google Plus. Interpret that as you’d like.

About me

My name is Tyler Hakes. I'm a digital strategist in Des Moines. I write and tweet about marketing, strategy, media, and technology.

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