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Social media isn’t dying—it’s still growing

We have upped our social user forecast since our last revision in December 2022. And next year, there will be nearly the same number of social users in the US as there are TV viewers, a historic audience shift. If there’s any medium that’s “dying,” it’s linear TV.

  • There are more social users than we previously forecast. In our December forecast update, we estimated there would be 225.9 million social users in the US this year. Now we estimate there will be 228.0 million. By 2025, the percentage of the population using social networks will be 68.3%, up from 67.2% this year. TV’s penetration is going the other direction, falling from 69.2% this year to 66.8% in 2025.
  • More platforms are growing than declining. Six out of the eight major platforms we forecast will gain users this year, and they will largely continue that momentum into 2024.
  • The adult social user population will also reach a milestone. The number of US adults using social networks will top 200 million this year. Meanwhile, teens get far more attention than their sheer numbers dictate; there will be just 18.5 million social users ages 12 to 17 this year. Adults have jobs and spending power, and they’re far more stable in their social preferences than teens are.
  • Meta is still bigger than everyone else. Facebook is in slight decline, but its dominance remains unrivaled. And Instagram’s user base is still larger than those of Twitter, Reddit, and Tumblr combined. Though size isn’t everything in social media, Meta has played an enormous role in social surpassing linear TV.

Our Take: Marketers clinging to TV should shift their attention to social. While time spent watching linear TV is still well ahead of time spent with social networks, TV time is falling, not growing. As marketers plan for a post-TV future, they must also continue to invest in advertising on social platforms to reach those audiences. Companies that cling to TV despite its challenges with measurement and targeting will be left behind.