Who is Using Social Media In 2020: Social Media User Trends And Insights

Social media is a highly pervasive form of communication; yet, connecting with social media users feels as challenging as ever. Factors like age, location, and trends have a huge impact on where users spend their time and how often—and knowing this about your specific audience influences how well your social campaigns perform. 

If you’re currently in some type of marketing role, you probably recognize that social platforms are ripe with opportunities to reach target audiences. And yet leveraging these opportunities requires an understanding of who these social media users are,  how they use it, and how you can apply that information to connect with those audiences.

To help you understand where to focus your social marketing efforts this year, let’s take a look at the nature of social media users in 2020.

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Around the World   

On a global scale, 49 percent of the world’s entire population are social media users—and 99 percent of those users access it on mobile devices (though this is experiencing a change, more on this in a moment). 

Social Media Around the World

Source: smartinsights

If you’re new to social media, then large scale statistics like these can help you visualize the impact of social in your marketing strategies. Who doesn’t want to reach such a potentially large audience?

However, it can be even more valuable to see how this worldwide audience is broken down into categories like user generations, locations, and trends.

Generations Use Social Media Differently 

Animoto released an interesting study recently on how different generations of people are using social media platforms. 

Perhaps most helpful is a look at where each generation spends most of their time.

Top Platforms where your Audience Spend time

Source: animoto

Based on the generation of social media users, you’ll quickly notice that they have a unique mix of preferences. Baby boomers (born 1944-1964) seem to stick with two platforms while Gen Z (born 1995-2015) switches between four platforms. Interestingly, everyone spends some part of their time on YouTube!

By seeing where each generation spends time on social media, you can use that information to focus on platforms frequented by your target audience. Have mostly millennials? You can focus on YouTube and Facebook. GenZ? Probably want to devote more resources to Snapchat and Instagram. 

Locations Impact Social Media Users 

Depending on which parts of the world your target audience lives, you may need to direct your efforts to different social platforms.

In China, for example, social media users spend their time on different platforms than you would expect in the U.S. and elsewhere. Video apps and all-in-one messaging platforms are the norms, and they greatly influence how people communicate on social.

In the U.S., you might focus on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn, depending on the type of audience you want to reach and the content you wish to publish.

Or, if your audience resides mostly in India, you may want to tap into Instagram. According to Statista, Instagram is very popular among social media users in India, and the country accounts for the second-highest percentage of Instagram users across the globe.  

Instagram - Popular Social Media App

Source: Statista

Trends in Social Media

Every year, marketers have to navigate different trends in social media to stay connected with their target audiences. 

For example, when social media users realized their Facebook account data was being compromised, some of them stopped using the social network altogether. 

When TikTok disrupted the social scene in the U.S., marketers had to learn a whole new platform and consider whether it was a good fit for their audience. 

In 2020, the number of social media users is increasing, and those users are spending more time on social media apps, as a result of sheltering in place. At the same time, users are accessing these apps less on their mobile devices and more on the big screen—on their desktops and laptops. 

Trends in Social Media

Source: nytimes

In terms of what will continue to trend in 2020, it’s all about video. Both long- and short-form video are being heavily consumed on social media. Stories, which are increasingly being favored on Facebook and Instagram, provide a unique way to reach your audience with limited-time content that disappears after 24 hours. 

Final Words 

When it comes to an understanding who is using social media, marketers can gain valuable insight from looking at where their audience spends their time, how their location affects what they do on social media, and trends that may influence the types of content they publish. Try it out – do some research on your specific audience, and then experiment with content to see how it performs. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

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About the Author

Rob SandersRob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience. During that time, Rob has helped a wide range of companies utilize new and emerging technologies to increase sales and profitability. As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob helps clients maximize their digital marketing efforts via SEO, SEM, SMO, and Web Analytics. He is responsible for many facets of the web analytics value chain, from identifying business goals and objectives to developing strategies and translating those into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rob also teaches digital marketing and analytics classes throughout the U.S. and abroad. As a contributor for Simplilearn, Rob creates expert thought leadership content on a variety of digital marketing and analytics topics.

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