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US Social Media Landscape

Every year, as an active member of the Worldcom Public Relations Group, Yucatan participates at the annual spring meeting. The meeting provides many opportunities to discuss the evolution of markets and exchange ideas with other homologues from all over the world, during workshops and plenary sessions. This year amongst the various information shared, we particularly appreciated the presentation, entitled US Social Media Landscape, given by our partner Amy la Sala, Director of Public Relations and Social Media at Off Madison Ave.

As specialists in Social Media and communication, we try every day to decrypt, analyze and above all be alert to issues relating to Fake News. This growing phenomenon has had a significant impact on the world’s leading economic powers, the bearer mother and incubator of start-ups that have mutated into GAFAM, whose networks have become in a few years the most powerful media in our highly connected world. However, to better understand the new ways of spreading what we have always called rumors, it is important to better understand how America is informed, information is displayed and consumed on social networks.

American social networks

In 2018 the U.S. 79% of the population had a social media profile, representing roughly 244 million users, and this places the U.S. as the country with the third largest social network user base in the world, behind China and India. Social networks in America have an average growth of 3 million new users per year, and, by 2023, it has been projected that there will be almost 258 million users.

While Facebook and Youtube have the largest number of users on the other side of the Atlantic, Instagram, Snapchat and Youtube are the most popular for 13-24 year-olds. Of course, short videos and other “snackable” formats are preferred by millennials and GenZ, whose attention spans are growing more selective. Expectations of today’s youth on social media are customized and authentic experiences.

American consumers on social networks

If we list social media in the US according to the number of users, we get the following list: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn and WhatsApp. Knowing that most Americans don’t know how their ‘News Feed’ works and that no less than 4 in 10 adults get their news from Facebook, there is now a fabulous breeding ground for fake news and other opinion manipulators.

Some trends:

Instagram has just launched its shopping functionality in 8 countries, including France, for business accounts and enable brands to accelerate the shopping process. Since the acquisition of Oculus 5 years ago, Facebook has continued to focus on virtual and augmented reality. For what purpose? To establish a direct relationship between Facebook and millions of customers, to the delight of advertisers who are always looking for new ways to promote consumption and the act of buying.   

And tomorrow?

When American CMOs were asked the following 2 questions:

1/. What percentage of your social traffic is organic?

The answer was: 95% in 2009, 75% in 2013 and barely 25% in 2019.

2/. What percentage of your digital ad spend goes to social sites?

The answer was: it has increased to 40% in the past ten years from just 2% in 2009.

Brands and organizations are increasingly moving towards storytelling but above all are looking for personalized connections with consumers. They are constantly reinventing user experiences and focusing more and more on direct access to consumers by pitching brands instead of influencers.

One of the best examples that our Worldcom’s partner shared with us is the Instagram Barbiestyle account, which has more than 2 million followers and demonstrates how brands are finding new ways to communicate.

“Content is king, but engagement is queen and she rules the house”, Mari Smith, Facebook Executive.

Sources: Statista, Adweek.com, pewresearch.org, All the new sites, Neil Patel, CMO.com