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Online UK adults are heavy users of social media apps –

07/09/16

... but not all apps are equal, according to new research

New research claiming to be the first of its kind into UK social media use has found 84% of all UK adults use social media - two-thirds of them every day.

The study, UK Social Media Demographics 2016, also claims that YouTube and Facebook are by far the most popular platforms among UK adults, with 59% of UK adults who are online using Facebook daily, followed by some use of WhatsApp (28%) and YouTube (27%).

Smartphone_useMeanwhile, perhaps surprisingly, it’s Glasgow, not London, which can claim to be the country’s social media ‘capital’, with total usage at 99%, and daily use by those contacted at 78%.

The results could be of use to public sector website and communications professionals, as the team behind the study are framing it as the first publicly-available analysis of its kind and one that also offers specific demographic breakdowns of use, unlike other such probes.

The social media sites respondents were asked about were Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Periscope, YouTube and Google+, with the work being done by research and communications agency We are Flint in partnership with Social Media Week.

Facebook ‘not just for Mums and Dads,’ then?

The team found that while Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat get a lot of mentions in discussions about online comms, their actual use isn’t that high, at only 45%, 30%, 29% and 20%. Video service Periscope is only used by 6% of the sample set.

And despite regular reports of its imminent demise, Google+ is hanging in there, it seems, at third after YouTube and Facebook - just ahead of WhatsApp.

Youngsters' preference

Other key findings include the interesting fact that Facebook remains the second most popular platform among 18-29-year-olds at 92%, though it is pipped to the post by YouTube, at 96% - which seems to run counter to the received wisdom that Facebook is only for Baby Boomers.

Women are six points more likely to use social media on a daily basis than men (76% versus 70%). The biggest difference in platform usage is Pinterest, with an 18-point difference in favour of women. By contrast, LinkedIn is more likely to be used by men than women (where there’s a 6-point difference), Periscope (4 points) and Twitter (3)

Those men may also be higher salary earners, too, says the report; though the career networking site is only used by one in three of those UK adults who spend time online, it is most popular among people with high household incomes, significantly more popular, for instance, among those taking home over £48,000.

Finally, city dwellers are much more likely to be daily users of social media than their rural counterparts (75% versus 66%).

The results for the research were gathered by an interview over two August days with just under 2,100 UK adults.

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