What Is The Most Popular Social Media Platform in 2021?

We look bottom-up across the social media platforms. What is the story for 2021?

The social media landscape is constantly evolving. You can build a following and showcase great content as text, images, or videos on numerous platforms. And you can sell your products via these same platforms.

Since many of the social media platforms are now part of a public company, they generally disclose user numbers regularly. These reported top down numbers on number of Monthly Active Users or Average Time Engaged are useful. But sometimes we want to look at the platforms on a more personal level.

Recently, three interesting industry reports were released which focused on surveys of real users of social media in the U.S. We analyzed the Pew Research Center Social Media Use in 2021, the Piper Sandler Taking Stock With Teens, and the CouponFollow Social Shipping Survey reports.

Younger Demographic

Amongst teens, Snapchat is the favorite social media platform closely followed by TikTok

  • Amongst teens, Snapchat is the favorite social media platform (31% share), closely followed by TikTok (30%), and Instagram (24%). Instagram use had a material decline from 31% share in 2020.
  • Amongst 18-29 year olds, YouTube is the top used social platform, with 95% reporting that they use it. This is followed by Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. All three are closely clustered at 65-71% usage.
  • For 30-49 year olds, YouTube is also the top used social platform, with 91% usage. The next is Facebook at 77%, and the third is Instagram with a considerable drop-off at 48%.

Older Demographic

  • Amongst 50-64 year olds, YouTube is the top used social platform, at 83%.
  • Facebook is next at 73%. No other platform breaks 40%.
  • Among 65+, LinkedIn is at the top with 50%, topping YouTube’s 49%. No other platform breaks 20%.

Shopping On Social

In the shopping survey, we learned that 67% of users have clicked on an ad and later made a purchase based on the product in the ad. And 48% purchased directly from the social post. Of these purchased products, both organic and paid posts worked. 78% of users made this purchase from an organic post, and 68% did from a paid ad.

Source: CouponFollow Social Shopping Survey
  • Facebook was the top platform driving purchases, with 34% of users reporting that they purchased through it.
  • Instagram was second at 23%, and no other platform garnered 5%.
  • The top reason that users followed a brand account is due to useful content. The second reason is discounts for followers.
  • Younger users, 18-24, were 2x as likely to purchase via Snapchat and TikTok than older users.

YouTube & Facebook for Brand, Facebook & Instagram to Sell

If you plan on leverage social for e-commerce, then Facebook and Instagram are the top two.

We can see that YouTube and Facebook are the most popular social platforms. To start building your online presence, you should seriously consider starting with these two.

If you are focused on a younger demographic, Snapchat and Instagram should be two that you consider.

For older demographics, LinkedIn could be a good target.

And if you plan on leverage social for e-commerce, then Facebook and Instagram are the top two.