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Everything You Wanted to Know About Social Media (But Were Afraid to Ask)

The 411 on today’s most-relevant social platforms.
By: Wendy Lewis

Whether you’re just starting on a social media marketing strategy, designing a new campaign, or figuring out if Snapchat makes sense for your practice, it’s important to get schooled on the most relevant platforms, who uses them, why and how.


Facebook is still in first place in the social landscape. It is the used by 65 percent of Americans age 12 to octogenarians. Just about everyone uses Facebook, except perhaps tech-savvy millennials who have moved on to apps. Facebook users also use it a lot.

• Facebook has 1.65B monthly active users and 1.09B daily active users in an average day

• Of those, 1.51B monthly active users and 989M mobile daily active users access Facebook on a mobile device

• Nearly 85 percent of daily active users are outside of North America

• 80M businesses use Facebook Pages and 2.5B comments are posted on Facebook Pages every month

• Nearly a third of Facebook users engage regularly with brands

• Over 2M advertisers use Facebook to market their businesses


The majority of Twitter users are news junkies or media who use the network to stay in the know. The micro-blogging platform is also a place for people to connect with brands and is often considered the new customer relationship management (CRM) tool.

• Twitter has 310M active monthly users, of which 83 percent use it on their mobile device

• About 6,000 tweets are sent every minute

• 79 percent of Twitter users are outside the US

• 86 percent use the site to get the news in real time, 81 percent use it to keep up with news daily, and 40 percent use it just to keep up with “breaking news”

• Over half of Twitter users (53 percent) never post

• More than 130,000 advertisers use Twitter to market their brand

• Twitter users are three times as likely as Facebook users to follow a brand

• 42 percent of users learn about products/services on Twitter, 41 percent offer their opinions about products/services, and 19 percent use Twitter to reach out to customer support


Instagram ranks as one of the five most-used apps and continues to skyrocket in popularity. Owned by Facebook, it is also an important platform for brands and marketers to invest both time and money in.

• Instagram has over 400M active monthly users, 75 percent of whom are outside the US

• Users like 3.5B photos daily and share 80M photos every day

• Instagram is considered the second most important social network for teens and millennials, second to Snapchat

• Instagram has the highest per follower engagement rate of 2.3 percent, 58 times more than Facebook

• 68 percent of users regularly engage with brands

• Instagram users are 2.5 times more likely to click on ads than on any other social media platform


Snapchat is currently the fastest growing network, sailing past Instagram as the platform of choice for the under 35 set. While users may skew younger, they’re not the only ones who use this trendy app anymore.

• Snapchat has over 100M daily active users and now ranks as the second most-used social network after Facebook

• Of Snapchat’s monthly US users, 18-24 year olds account for 37 percent, followed by 25-34 year olds at 26 percent, and 13-17 year olds at 23 percent

• Over half of new Snapchat users are over 25

• Users consume 10B videos per day and spend an average of 25-30 minutes on the app daily

• Approximately 65 percent of daily active users create new content daily; 54 percent use the app daily, and 32 percent use it two to five times per week

• Over 400M snaps are sent every day, 8,796 photos are shared on Snapchat every second, over one-third of daily users create Stories

• Asked what they like most about Snapchat, 48 percent of users cited “creating my own stories” (Stories are photos and videos that you can post to your feed that expire after 24 hours and can be replayed as many times as you want. Snaps, by contrast, are sent directly to select individuals.)

• 58 percent of college students would like to purchase a product or service if they got a coupon on Snapchat


Owned by Google, YouTube is the social destination for all things video and boasts over 1B users worldwide and 4B daily views.

• Almost one-third of all people online are YouTube users

• YouTube reaches more 18-49 year olds than any cable network in the US

• 80 percent of viewers are from outside the US

• More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices, and the average YouTube viewing session on a mobile device is 40 minutes

• US users spend an average of 5 hours per month on YouTube

• YouTube viewers who completed a TrueView ad are 23 times more likely to visit or subscribe to a brand channel, watch more by the brand, or share the brand video (TrueView is a video ad format that lets a viewer skip the ad after five seconds, along with other viewing option.)


Pinterest is most popular with female users, but men are slowly getting hooked. It is the network of choice for shopaholics and people who like to plan holidays, weddings, events, and parties, as well as travel, decorating, crafts, or buying a car or a house.

• Pinterest has over 100M active monthly users

• In the US, now one third of new users are male

• 75 percent of Pinterest usage takes place on mobile devices

• The average pin is repined 11 times

• Over one-third of Pinterest choose Pinterest over Google search

• Over 14M article are pinned every day

• Two-thirds of all pins come from a business website

• In the past six months, 93 percent of Pinners shopped online

• Pinterest is a powerful driver to ecommerce sites, including Shopify, Etsy, Amazon, eBay

• People referred by Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to make a purchase on ecommerce sites than other social networks

• Over half (52 percent) of Pinners have seen something on Pinterest and made a purchase online, while 72 percent have made a purchase online

Sources: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, Google,,

Wendy Lewis is President of Wendy Lewis & CO Ltd, a marketing and social media boutique in New York City, and Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Reach her at