Tis the season for holiday cheer, mistletoe and digital marketing planning for 2017! With all the discussions around digital budgets and strategy for 2017, are you sure your business is utilizing the right channels for your target audience?

It’s no secret AdWords and Bing work great for pay-per-click advertising but if paid social platforms are not on your 2017 radar, you could be missing out. In a 2016 study conducted by Pew Research Center, results showed social engagement is on the rise – especially for Facebook. Below we will cover demographic data for each of the social platforms to help guide your digital strategy to match your target persona.

2016 Social Media Demographics Overview

Facebook continues to be the leading social platform for engagement with 79% of online adults using Facebook, followed by Instagram (32%), Pinterest (31%), LinkedIn (29%) and Twitter (24%).

Research shows that Facebook remains the most popular social media platform in 2016

While Facebook saw a 7% increase in online users, the other social platforms remained fairly steady compared to 2015. Facebook’s lift is most likely due to the increase in older adults joining Facebook. In addition to the increase in users, daily engagement with the site is also up. 76% of American adults report that they check Facebook daily compared to 70% in 2015.

Facebook Demographics

79% of Internet users (68% of all U.S. adults) use Facebook.

While the majority age of Facebook users continues to be between 18-49, users 65+ now account for 62% – up 14% from 2015. Females continue to be the leading users of Facebook at 83% compared to 75% of males.

Facebook user demographics in 2016

As we can see Facebook continues to be a powerhouse in the paid social world as users of all kinds continue to increase engagement on a daily basis – especially on mobile devices. With the increase in users comes an increase in competition for many paid advertisers, which will most likely lead to an increase in CpCs for 2017. However, for many verticals, Facebook CpCs are still significantly lower than what we see across traditional paid advertising channels.
Additional notable Facebook stats:

  • 1.18 billion daily active users on average for September 2016
  • 1.09 billion mobile daily active users on average for September 2016
  • 1.79 billion monthly active users as of September 30, 2016
  • 1.66 billion mobile monthly active users as of September 30, 2016
  • Approximately 84.9% of our daily active users are outside the US and Canada

Target Personas

– Great site for targeting EVERYONE! Facebook is seeing higher engagement from females 18-49, with 65+ users on the rise. Facebook is a great platform for targeting baby boomers.

Instagram Demographics

32% of Internet users (28% of all U.S. adults) use Instagram

The next social platform to have on your 2017 radar is Instagram, with 32% of Internet users. The integration with Facebook and Instagram make it easy to advertise across both platforms from one place.

Instagram user demographics in 2016

Where we saw a rise in the 65+ age demographic for Facebook, Instagram engagement is especially high among younger adults. Roughly six-in-ten online adults ages 18-29 (59%) use Instagram. Females also have higher engagement at 38% compared to 26% of males.

Target Personas

– Millennials. More specifically, female millennials with some college education.

Pinterest Demographics

31% of internet users (26% of all U.S. adults) use Pinterest

Roughly three-in-ten online Americans (31%) use Pinterest. Pinterest continues to be one of the leading social sites for women with nearly half (45%) of online women use the virtual pinboard – more than double online men (17%).

Pinterest user demographics in 2016

While Pinterest is still relatively new to the PPC, we have already seen amazing results in helping increase revenue for some clients. For more information on how, check out JD Prater’s post on how he increased revenue by 1024% using Pinterest.

Target Persona

– Women. College educated, suburban women with income > $75+

LinkedIn Demographics

29% of Internet users (25% of all U.S. adults) use LinkedIn

Engagement with LinkedIn remained relatively flat compared to 2015. LinkedIn continues to be the social platform for highly educated and higher earning users. In fact, half of online users have higher education compared to only 12% with a High School degree or less. 45% of online users have income > $75K a year.

LinkedIn user demographics in 2016

LinkedIn is a great site for Business-to-Business advertisers targeting specific professions and highly educated online users.

Target Persona

– College educated and high earning online users $75K+

Twitter Demographics

24% of internet users (21% of all U.S. adults) use Twitter

Twitter engagement remained steady in 2016 compared to 2015. Twitter continues to be more popular with younger Americans (18-29) and the higher educated. Only 10% of Twitter users are 65+.

Twitter user demographics in 2016

The Twitter PPC platform continues to evolve offering unique targeting options and features such as remarketing and video making it a potential contender for your 2017 Digital Marketing Strategy.

Target Persona

– College educated millennials.

How To Budget For Testing Social PPC Platforms?

Now that you can see some of these social platforms have high engagement with some of your target personas, how do you budget to test these paid platforms?

Determining how much to budget for each platform can vary drastically from business to business depending on goals, cpcs, conversion rates and much more. There are excel tools like the budget solver that can be helpful for budget planning when data is available. Another simpler approach to get a baseline estimate without a lot of data upfront, is the 70/20/10 rule.

This works by allocating 70% of your budget to the “tried and true” channels, 20% to “safe bet” and 10% for “experimental”. As you begin advertising and gathering more data, the channels may shift buckets as they may start to out perform other channels allowing for additional budget.

While this is not an exact science, it provides a start for creating testing budgets for new advertising channels such as paid social advertising channels that fit your target persona and help get an edge on competitors.

Closing Thoughts

Social Advertising is on the rise for 2016! Facebook engagement is growing faster than all other social platforms and is seeing an increase of baby boomer users. Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter seem to be a good fit for targeting engagement with millennials, while LinkedIn continues to be a great advertising channel for targeting higher education and higher earning individuals. If you don’t have paid social in your 2017 digital marketing strategy and you are looking to target any of the above personas, it’s time to get on board or miss the boat. Happy Planning!