The United States has an online population of around 287 million as of June of 2017, at about 87.9% penetration. The percentage of the total population on social media is 65.5%, amounting to approximately 214 million people. The percentage of social media users is rapidly growing, with an 11% increase since January of 2016. Americans spend an average of 2 hours and 6 minutes on social media every day, and over 8 hours on the internet in general. About 239 million Americans actively use their mobile devices to access the internet.
- The USA is the biggest market for most globally successful social media channels
- Pinterest and Instagram are experiencing the highest growth
- The US Hispanic population was the fastest growing ethnic group on Facebook
- Facebook adoption is growing among older generations
- The majority of online video viewers use YouTube
The United States is second largest market for Facebook, with 240 million users and a 73.5% penetration. The largest portion of users are aged 18-29, but older users are joining Facebook in increasing numbers. Slightly more women than men use the social network. According to Alexa, 29.5% of all Facebook users are from the United States.
According to Socialbakers, the most popular Facebook pages in the United States belong to: American actor and producer Vin Diesel (101,033,681 fans), American rapper and record producer Eminem (89,920,429 fans); and American actor, rapper, and comedian Will Smith (75,054,025 fans).
Analysis has shown that of the 383 million Twitter profiles created before January 1st 2012, 107.7 million were created by users in the US, making the US the fastest adopter of Twitter. In 2017, 24% of all US internet users are on Twitter. This number is slightly higher in the 18-29 age group, in which 36% of the population uses Twitter. These numbers are virtually unchanged from two years ago in 2015, demonstrating that while Twitter is in generally wide use, its user base is not increasing much in the United States.
According to Socialbakers, the most followed Twitter accounts as of November 2017 are: singer and songwriter @KatyPerry (106,404,559 followers); Canadian singer-songwriter @JustinBieber (103,380,836 followers); and former US President @BarackObama (96,869,127 followers).
In recent years, Twitter has become a platform where American politicians can campaign and express opinions and policies. Current US President Donald Trump in particular has sparked controversy for using the platform in an outspoken and often unprofessional manner. However, it is undeniable that Twitter has become a huge tool for social influence in the United States.
Online video is a very popular medium in the US. In November of 2017, Youtube.com was the second most visited site in the country, preceded only by Google.com. According to analysis from Alexa, Americans spend an average of 8 minutes 19 seconds on the site daily.
In November of 2017, the most popular channels on YouTube are: wrestling company World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE (18,127,394,573 total video views and 19,101,101 subscribers); Ryan ToysReview, a channel where a child reviews children’s toys (17,086,503,244 total video views and 9,695,026 subscribers); and channel for American singer and songwriter KatyPerryVEVO (14,549,732,737 total video views and 25,503,180 subscribers).
Pinterest experienced a staggering 4377 per cent growth between May 2011 and 2012. Continuing an international trend, Pinterest in the United States is used much more frequently by women than men. In 2016 in the United States, 45% of women online use Pinterest, while only 17% of men online use the platform. In 2017, 31% of online Americans use Pinterest, or around 89 million people. This number has not increased particularly over the last two years since 2015.
Americans, especially young adults and teens, use Instagram in high numbers. After Facebook, it was the most used social networking service in the country. The photo-sharing platform is used with a higher frequency by women, with 32% of US women using the platform and about 23% of men owning accounts. In total, the platform is used by about 91 million Americans.
LinkedIn is used by 29% of online adults in the US, or by 25% of all Americans. According to the Pew Research Center, in the United States, LinkedIn is most popular among college graduates and high income earners. Half of all online adults with college degrees are on LinkedIn, and 45% of all online adults with an annual household income of 75,000 USD or above have accounts with the professional networking site. LinkedIn is used at a slightly higher percentage by men than women in the country, with 31% of online men using the network and 27% of online women using it.
United States: Hispanic population
US Hispanics tend to use Facebook to stay connected with family and friends, but they are also active on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. In general, US Hispanics are more optimistic than the average US population on social media, and tend to employ light humor. In addition, the US Hispanic demographic tends to be more likely to access social media from a mobile device. In fact, an above-average percentage of Hispanics have mobile-only internet access. In general, US Hispanics lag slightly behind non-Hispanics in the US in terms of overall internet penetration. However, social media penetration is slightly above average among Hispanics.
- US brands are running social media campaigns that involve multiple social channels
- US brands are coming up with innovative campaigns which are tailored to the habits of specific social channels
- The US Hispanic population are more likely to follow brands than the average internet user
According to Socialbakers, the most ‘Liked’ brands in the US are: retailer Walmart (33,620,861 fans); ecommerce and cloud computing company Amazon (28,110,777 fans); and the localised page for Korean electronics company Samsung Mobile USA (25,707,457 fans).
Many American brands have launched innovative campaigns on Facebook. The snack company Frito-Lay every year hosts a popular campaign entitled ‘Do Us a Flavor,’ in which the company crowdsources new flavours by asking Facebook users to submit and vote on new crisp flavours. The final three are then released for a limited period. In 2017, the selected flavours were ‘Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese’, ‘Crispy Taco’, and ‘Fried Green Tomato.’ Every few years, Lay’s then brings back the most popular flavours to grocery stores.
According to Socialbakers, the most followed brands on Twitter as of November of 2017 are: Japanese gaming and game-console company @PlayStation (15,024,545 followers); American coffee company @Starbucks (11,917,098 followers); and the localised page for the Japanese multinational gaming company @NintendoAmerica (8,379,948 followers).
According to Socialbakers, the most popular branded channels on YouTube as of November 2017 are: gift company Vat19 (3,590,316,667 total video views and 4,221,249 subscribers); multinational Japanese gaming company Nintendo (1,016,503,217 total video views and 3,255,638 subscribers); and American fashion doll franchise Monster High (960,979,187 total video views and 1,315,544 subscribers).
One of the most popular YouTube campaigns was from Old Spice. The aftershave brand crafted campaigns around the characters Old Spice Guy and later Old Spice Guy vs Fabio. Although the first campaign was seen as more successful, the second run helped Old Spice gain 22 million YouTube views in a week, and the channel became the most viewed of the month. The campaign also helped Old Spice gained 68,000 new Facebook fans, allowing the company to reach multiple social networking platforms simultaneously.
United States: Hispanic population
In comparison to the average US internet user, Hispanic adults are more likely to be receptive to ad campaigns. In general, influence marketing that doesn’t seem pushy and makes an effort to connect to its audience will be much more appealing to Hispanics, who are passionate about word-of-mouth. Brands can earn the trust of their Hispanic audiences by employing light humor and celebrating the importance of family and friends, while avoiding stereotypes such as mariachis and sombreros. US Hispanics are more likely to engage with brands in a positive rather than a negative manner than non-Hispanics on social media, and often reach out to brands on social media to have light and informative conversations.
Language and Culture
- The US is mostly English-speaking, though has no official language
- The country has a strong culture of individual freedom and entrepreneurism
- Laws and culture vary markedly from state to state
- Over 16% of the US population is Hispanic and tend to use English to converse online
The US has no official language – although there is an on-going debate about making English the national language. However, many states have instituted laws making English the official language, with Hawaii making both Hawaiian and English official languages and with Alaska making 20 native languages as well as English official.
It’s estimated 79% of the population has English as their primary language, and 13% of the US population speak Spanish. In 2010 the US Census Bureau reported that there were 325 languages spoken in the United States. According to a December 2011 report 372,095 people in North America spoke a Native American language (the most popular being Navajo at 169,471).
US culture is strongly influenced by cultural values such as individualism and liberty. Americans tend to have a more individualistic worldview, believing that government should allow people the freedom to achieve their goals. This philosophy leaves those who cannot or will not seek to improve their own situations without the aid of the state, because state interference in the private lives of individuals would be seen as encroaching on personal freedoms. For this reason, there is an extremely large wealth disparity in the United States.
American culture is celebrated for being meritocratic. For example, the American Dream ideal champions the idea that anyone can go from ‘rags to riches’ if she or he work hard enough. Some argue that the inherent inequality of meritocratic societies effectively prevents this, as talented children from working class areas tend to grow away from their community rather than use their talent, intelligence, wealth and opportunity to benefit those they leave behind.
Privacy is taken extremely seriously in the United States, with the Bill of Rights detailing the circumstances in which the government is allowed to investigate an individual’s body, houses, papers and personal effects. Some forms of modern communication are protected under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (1986), but there have been calls to include more modern forms of communication.
The most popular sport in the US is American football, which is so popular that television networks CBS, Fox and NBC have said they will start paying $3 billion a year in total for the rights to screen it. The Super Bowl is the most popular sporting event of the year, and is so ubiquitously viewed that Super Bowl Sunday practically amounts to a national holiday. In 2017, the Atlanta Falcons vs New England Patriots match was watched by 111 million viewers. Baseball, basketball, and ice hockey are also quite popular sports, and generate a large amount of revenue.
The ethnic composition of the United States is 72.4% white, 12.6% black, 4.8% Asian, 0.9 per cent Amerindian and Alaskan native, 0.2 per cent Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, 6.2% other, and 1.6 % two or more races.
United States: Hispanic population
The term Hispanic refers to someone of Spanish, Hispanic or Latino origin and covers people from Central and South America as well as Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and even Spain, but the US Census Bureau does estimate that around 16.3 % of the US population is Hispanic. 72% of Hispanic digital influences use English online, where many come together in communities to discuss their shared cultural heritage and interests.