The state of social media in 2018 is a mix of long-standing trends and new developments. Facebook remains the dominant player in the social media landscape, along with YouTube. As social media becomes more intertwined with their lives, consumers increasingly say they would find it difficult to quit social media. But consumers have also become more skeptical of the information they find online.    

Social media is an excellent source of targeting and reaching key niche audiences for both consumer and B2B research. At Branded, our audiences are members of social communities whose collective opinions and insights are qualified through willing, natural interaction, and powerful social engagement.

Facebook users represent a broad spectrum of the population. Approximately 7 in 10 U.S. consumers use Facebook, a stat that has remained constant since 2016. Among those who use Facebook, visiting the site is a daily habit for roughly 75 percent of users, with about half visiting Facebook several times per day. Using Facebook to target key audiences is a successful research approach because of both the wide reach and frequency of use.   

While roughly 1 in 4 U.S. consumers use LinkedIn, approximately 50 percent of those with a college education use the platform. Approximately 90 percent of LinkedIn users also use Facebook. Facebook and LinkedIn are both vital resources for targeting and reaching professionals for B2B research.

Social media usage has remained constant over the last couple years, but public opinion has shifted. The share of social media users who say it would be hard to give up using the platforms has increased 12 percentage points since 2014 to 40 percent. However, a majority of users (60 percent) still say it would not be hard to give up social media platforms.

In addition to shifts in perception of social media, there have been shifts in perception of the Internet as a whole. The percentage of online U.S. consumers who view the Internet in a positive light has decreased to 70 percent from 76 percent in 2014. Those who have shifted their opinion have gone on the develop more nuanced views and are more likely to think the Internet is a mix of good and bad.