- New Nielsen research finds that Gen X, or adults aged 35 to 49, use social media more heavily than millennials, spending 6 hours and 58 minutes a week on social media compared to millennials at 6 hours and 19 minutes, as reported by The New York Times.
- Breaking down social media to mobile use, Facebook led the way with 178.2 million unique mobile users in September followed by Instagram (91.5 million), Twitter (82.2 million) and Pinterest (69.6 million). LinkedIn came in fifth, and Snapchat, social media darling of the younger set – though only accessible as a mobile app — came in sixth.
- Looking at second screen activity on Facebook and Twitter by measuring how users posted or tweeted about programs they were watching, Gen X also led the way at 42% followed by millennials at 40%.
While Gen X doesn't have a particularly wide lead when it comes to social media use, it standing at Nielsen's top spot is still surprising considering how much industry chatter is put toward the idea that millennials are more glued to their screens than almost any other demographic group. Younger consumers like millennials are highly coveted by marketers — understandably so since they're arguably more impressionable — but the Nielsen report highlights how important it is to not simply ride the going industry wisdom but instead understand where target audiences actually spend their time.
Another surprising finding from the report is Snapchat's relatively low standing as the fifth most popular service used, behind even Pinterest and LinkedIn on mobile. Snapchat only has a mobile app and is also relatively fresh-faced compared to the competition, explaining some of its limited reach.
The majority of Snapchat's audience is also believed to be limited to millennials and Gen Z. One question that hangs over Snapchat's head as its parent company heads into a planned initial public offering of stock is whether the app will retain that young user base as it matures past early adopters. Some in the industry have suggested Snapchat could be built up to eventually rival giants in the social space like Facebook, but the Nielsen research underscores how limited the platform's reach and engagement actually is at the moment.