2020 social media research demonstrates that platforms like TikTok and WhatsApp are starting to make their mark on young audiences and are becoming the hottest social networks.
Recently, our friends at Edison Research and Triton Digital released their 2020 Infinite Dial report—the annual report on social media usage patterns among Americans. Fun fact: the Infinite Dial report also happens to be the current longest ongoing survey of digital media consumer behavior. (See our 2019 social media research recap here.)
The report showcases the emerging shifts in users’ preferred platforms of choice, as well as what’s to be expected this year in terms of growth.
I highly recommend you grab the entire 2020 report, as the highlights covered here are just a small selection of interesting statistics and user behaviors included in The Infinite Dial 2020.
Here are the nine crucial 2020 social media research trends that this report uncovered, based on a survey of 1,502 Americans, ages 12 and up.
Social Media Usage Continues to Flatline
While the report shows social media usage has increased by 1% this year, the growth rate of social has stayed relatively consistent for Americans since 2016.
Instagram Is Approaching #1 Fast
While social media usage has stayed virtually unchanged, Instagram continues to see significant growth among users, falling just behind Facebook in popularity.
Instagram Is Taking the Lead for Younger Demographics
For ages 12-34, Instagram continues to hold the top spot (over Facebook) as the most frequently used platform. Instagram continues to see increased growth with this demographic, while Facebook growth mostly remains static.
Live Video Game Streaming is Gaining Traction
Up from last year’s report findings, 9% of the total population 12 or older reports playing a live streamed video game—an increase of 28% since 2019. Due to the rise of streaming platforms like Twitch, it’s made live streaming more accessible to all.
It will be especially interesting to follow this statistic into next year, with an overall increase of live streaming platform-wide due to the coronavirus pandemic
TikTok Has Made Powerful First Impressions
TikTok is hot on the scene for users aged 12-34 and has already achieved considerable growth. Among this audience, 29% report using TikTok and 4% state that it is their most used social platform.
Though TikTok has a way to go before competing with the likes of Facebook and Instagram, it is certainly on the upswing.
WhatsApp Is Attracting More Users
Like TikTok, WhatsApp usage increased by 26% in users aged 12-34 over the past year. Interestingly, WhatApp’s percentage of users among this demographic is now equal to that of Twitter.
Snapchat Is On the Decline
Compared to last year’s report, Snapchat usage and favorability has fallen significantly among all audience demographics.
This is most likely due to Instagram advancing its stories functionality with a wide range of filters, stickers, and visual tools, while Snapchat has stayed relatively unchanged with its capabilities.
Facebook Continues to Rise Among Gen Xers
After two years of no user growth for 35-54-year-olds on Facebook, in 2020, usage by this demographic increased by 7%. This makes this age group the widest users of Facebook from any other American audience.
Younger Audiences Have Returned to Facebook
Though not a substantial difference from 2019, Facebook users aged 12-34 have increased by 3% in 2020. This is surprising because Facebook was losing users from this demographic the past few years.
These are nine key discoveries from this year’s Infinite Dial 2020 report. But there are many more to discover. Grab the full, 78-page report and give it a look through.