At the end of June, Facebook announced that they had hit 2 billion monthly active users. Since the social media site, which was founded 13 years ago, hit 1 billion monthly active users in 2012, the number of users appears to be growing at an astronomical rate. Youtube is not far behind, at 1.5 billion monthly active users, and Instagram at 700 million. Not only is the number of users growing rapidly, but the frequency that the users visit the site is growing as well. According to TechCrunch, 66 percent of Facebook’s monthly users return each day now compared to 55 percent when it hit 1 billion.
Why Does This Matter to Marketers?
You may be thinking, okay big deal. Why should I care if 2 billion people are on Facebook talking to their friends or watching videos? This is a huge opportunity for marketers to reach their target audience online with ads and organic content, and based on research conducted by eMarketer, the ads appear to be working for businesses. According to eMarketer, over two-thirds (67%) of US marketers surveyed currently run video ads on Facebook, and over half (51%) do so on YouTube. Of those marketers surveyed, 83% of respondents were confident that Facebook video ads were driving purchases and 79% were confident that YouTube video ads were driving purchases.
Since the audience sizes of social media sites are now so massive (2 billion is over a quarter of the world’s population!), social media provides a great space for marketers to make their brand more relatable, interact with their customers, and advertise their products/services. According to SproutSocial, 62% of people said they are likely or somewhat likely to purchase a product from a brand they follow on social media.
While there are some behaviors conducted by brands on social media that customers find annoying that may deter them from making purchases, such as using GIFs (42% of people surveyed found it annoying) or discussing politics (71% of people surveyed found it annoying), there are many behaviors that customers did approve of and respond to. 83% of internet users enjoy when brands use video clips, and 83% like it when brands responded to their questions through social media. Overall, 71% of people said that they are more likely to purchase a product from a company if they had a positive experience with them on social media (SproutSocial).
Who Is Using Social Media and How Do They Interact With Brands Online
There is often an assumption that only younger people are using social media sites, hindering your ability to market to both your younger and older demographics. This is not the case. While it is true that Millennials are more likely to use social media, a surprising number of Baby Boomers are also constantly checking their social media feeds. A study conducted in North America and the UK by Qualtrics and Accel in late 2016 found that 42% of Millennial respondents (ages 18-34), 26% of Gen Xer respondents (ages 34-54), and 29% of Baby Boomer respondents (ages 55+) said they can’t go over five hours without checking their social media feeds. This information is only valuable if we understand how these generations are interacting with brands on social media and how this allows us to effectively advertise to them.
The following statistics are from Sprout Social’s Index Report and were drawn from a social media usage survey of 1,000 respondents of varying ages conducted by Survata between January 24, 2017 and January 30, 2017¹.
Millennials (ages 18-34)
- 48.6% are currently following brands on social media
- 30% engage with a brand on social media at least once per month
- 58.9% will follow a brand on social media before purchasing a product
- 38% of Millennials who follow brands on social media typically do so for entertainment value, and 42% do so for information
- 2X as likely as any other generation to turn to social, rather than phone or email, to communicate with a brand
- 60% are likely to purchase from a brand that they follow on social media
Gen Xers (ages 34-54)
- 48.8% are currently following brands on social media
- 32% engage with a brand that they follow on social media at least once a month
- 41% will follow a brand on social media before purchasing a product
- 41% of Gen Xers who follow brands on social media typically do so for contests, and 58% do so for deals and promotions
- 7 in 10 (67%) are likely to purchase from a brand that they follow on social media
Baby Boomers (ages 55+)
- 24.5% are currently following brands on social media
- 55% of Baby Boomers who follow brands on social media typically follow a brand on social media before purchasing a product
- 14% engage with a brand that they follow on social media at least once a month
- 60% of Baby Boomers who follow brands on social media typically do so for deals and promotions
- 53% of Baby Boomers who follow brands on social media typically do so for information
- Over half (51%) are likely to purchase from a brand that they follow on social media
As the number of social media users continues to grow astronomically, the potential audience size for digital marketers also continues to grow. The way brands reach customers is continuing to evolve as more people of all ages, around the world warm up to the idea of using social media and engaging with brands online.