Social media primarily used for entertainment, communication, news coverage, and business purposes. Among the various types of platforms, online users in the U.S. most frequently visit social networks, media-sharing platforms, instant messaging services, and microblogging. These websites and apps have become an integral part of many American internet users’ daily routines. While the average daily usage timewas less than an hour up to 2019, the figure increased to an average of 65 minutes in 2020 during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As many Americans started to self-isolate at home in March 2020, social media and other types of digital communication saw an unprecedented spike in usage nationwide.
Facebook is the most popular social network in the United States based on monthly active users. As of the start of 2021, the platform recorded over 190 million account holders in the United States and maintained a market share of nearly 72 percent. Mobile is an integral part of Facebook’s leading position in the market, as the networking giant is also the most popular mobile social networking app in the United States by reach, engagement , and audience. Seeing that mobile accounted for 83 percent of social media visits in the U.S. by the end of 2019, the importance of mobile-friendly user interfaces cannot be overstated.
Despite Facebook’s ubiquity, other social platforms are gaining space, particularly among U.S. teenagers and young adults. One leading player is Instagram, the popular photo and video-sharing app that has seen immense growth in user numbers over the past few years. In 2019, the platform recorded 107.2 million users in the United States and was projected to reach the 120 million threshold by 2023. As a majority of Instagram account holders are Millennial and Gen Z internet users who make up the country’s largest potential consumer base, marketers are increasingly using the platform for advertising purposes. By placing sponsored picture, video, or story ads, brands are reaching large audiences and taking advantage of the purchasing power of Instagram’s growing community.
Alternative social platforms have attracted large audiences in recent years. Short-form video platform TikTok became a key player during the coronavirus pandemic and with trendy, catchy, and easily accessible content, short-form video is here to stay. Other platforms that saw usage increase are Twitter, Pinterest, and Twitch.
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