YouTube is the most popular social network among American adults according to a large new study from Pew Research Center.

The new report includes findings on social media use among adults from a nationally representative phone survey conducted earlier this year.

Overall, the results showed that social media usage has largely remained stagnant over the past few years, with just two notable exceptions.

“YouTube and Reddit were the only two platforms measured that saw statistically significant growth since 2019,” the reports stated.

Out of all platforms, YouTube had the highest usage with 81% of adults who used any kind of social media saying they used the video streaming service. 

Facebook unsurprisingly came not far behind, with 69% saying they use the platform. In third place was Instagram with 40% of respondents saying they use the social network. 

You can see the full list of social networks and the percent of US adults who use them below:

  • YouTube (81%)
  • Facebook (69%)
  • Instagram (40%)
  • Pinterest (31%)
  • LinkedIn (28%)
  • Snapchat (25%)
  • Twitter (23%)
  • WhatsApp (23%)
  • TikTok (21%)
  • Reddit (18%)
  • Nextdoor (13%)

As the report concludes:

“YouTube is the most commonly used online platform asked about in this survey, and there’s evidence that its reach is growing. Fully 81% of Americans say they ever use the video-sharing site, up from 73% in 2019. Reddit was the only other platform polled about that experienced statistically significant growth during this time period – increasing from 11% in 2019 to 18% today.”

Beyond these broad findings, the report also includes demographic breakdowns for each platform and other findings, which you can see below:

YouTube Usage Statistics

  • 95% of US adults ages 18 to 29 say they use YouTube
  • 91% of US adults ages 30 to 49 say they use YouTube
  • 49% of US adults ages 65 and older say they use YouTube
  • 54% of YouTube users say they visit the site daily
  • 36% of YouTube users say they visit the site several times a day

Facebook Usage Statistics

  • 70% of US adults ages 18 to 29 say they use Facebook
  • 77% of US adults ages 30 to 49 say they use Facebook
  • 73% of US adults ages 50 to 64 say they use Facebook
  • 50% of US adults ages 65 and older say they use Facebook
  • 70% of Facebook users say they visit the site daily
  • 49% of Facebook users say they visit the site several times a day

Instagram Usage Statistics

  • 71% of US adults ages 19 to 29 say they use Instagram
  • 52% of Hispanic Americans say they use Instagram
  • 49% of Black Americans say they use Instagram
  • 35% of White Americans say they use Instagram
  • 59% of all Instagram users say they visit the site daily
  • 73% of 18- to 29-year-old Instagram users say they visit the site every day
  • 53% of 18- to 29-year-old Instagram users say they visit the site several times a day

Other Usage Statistics

  • 46% of Twitter users say they visit the site every day
  • 65% of 18- to 29-year-olds say they use Snapchat
  • 2% of adults ages 65 and older say they use Snapchat
  • 50% of 18- to 29-year-olds say they use TikTok
  • Those with higher levels of education are more likely to use LinkedIn than those with lower levels of education
  • 51% of US adults with a bachelor’s or advanced degree say they use LinkedIn
  • 28% of US adults with only some college experience say they use LinkedIn
  • 10% of US adults with a high school diploma or less say they used LinkedIn
  • 46% of women use Pinterest, compared to 16% of men
  • Adults living in urban (17%) or suburban (14%) areas are more likely to say they use Nextdoor
  • 2% of rural Americans say they use Next-door

To view the full report, click here.

For years, two names have ruled the online ad game – Google and Facebook. Currently, that is still true, though a new analysis suggests Amazon is steadily expanding its ad business to be a sizable challenger to the Big Two.

Research firm eMarketer’s latest annual digital ad report shows that Amazon’s share of digital ad revenue broke two digits in 2020, earning 10.3% of U.S. online ad revenue. That’s a significant jump from 7.8% in 2019.

In actual dollars, the online retail giant’s ad revenue reached $15.73 billion, an increase of more than 50% from the previous year.

Should Facebook and Google Be Worried?

Amazon still has some ways to go before it’s ad platform is the size of Google or Facebook’s – both of which receive more than 20% of U.S. digital ad spend.

Still, eMarketer predicts the company will continue to increase its share of online ad revenue over the next few years until it is on par with the other two giants.

For Facebook, this might not be a big concern since much of Amazon’s advertising is driven by Amazon Prime video advertising and product ads. In their current form, both platform’s ads largely serve different purposes.

Google, on the other hand, might be getting a little nervous. Over the past few years, the search engine has been investing heavily into its online shopping services, as well as expanding YouTube’s advertising platform.

What Does This Mean For Brands?

Though this might have significant implications for the future of online advertising, nothing has really changed for the majority of brands who might use these platforms for their ads. 

However, it does serve as a reminder that there are more than just the Big Two online ad platforms. Many of the others out there may be a better fit, provide less competition, and allow you to reach your potential customers at a more ideal time. This is why it is important to know what each has to offer and invest your ad budget into the platform (or platforms) which make the most sense for you.

Facebook quietly revealed that it will be closing the Facebook Analytics service effective June 30th, 2021. After that date, brands and marketers will be unable to access their data. You can export your data to bring over to a new analytics service until then, though. 

Instead of releasing a wide announcement, Facebook is only informing users who are trying to access analytics.facebook.com and within an updated Facebook for Business help center article

As the announcement reads:

“Facebook Analytics will no longer be available after June 30, 2021. Until then, you will still be able to access reports, export charts and tables, and explore insights. To export data into a CSV file from Facebook Analytics on your desktop, click the arrow in the top-right corner of each chart or table.”

It is notable that the announcement did not explain the decision in any way. Instead, it simply pointed users to other tools which can replace some of the tracking and analytics features – though not all. 

Among the recommended tools Facebook directed users to are:

  • Facebook Business Suite allows you to manage your Facebook and Instagram business accounts and can show you detailed insights about your audience, content and trends. (This tool may not be available to you yet.)
  • Ads Manager lets you view, make changes and see results for all your Facebook campaigns, ad sets and ads.
  • Events Manager can help you set up and manage Facebook Business Tools like the Facebook pixel and Conversions API, and reports actions taken on your website, in your app and in your physical store.

The quick shuttering of Facebook Analytics will make it more possible than ever to track users’ behavior on the platform. Even more frustrating for many, the primary recommended tool, Facebook Business Suite, is limited specifically to small businesses and is not actually available to the public yet. That means that there is less time to learn the more narrowly-focused tool during the transition period.

For more information, you can read the updated Facebook Business Help Center announcement here.

If you are an online retailer, you are no doubt familiar with Google’s wide array of special features built for online shopping. You are also probably aware of how confusing it can be to get included in these unique search results.

To help clarify this process and make it easier to get your products highlighted in Google’s search results, the search engine recently revealed some technical tips and tricks for e-commerce sites. 

Why It Takes Extra Work To Get In Google Shopping Results

The first question most business owners or site managers might have when they start trying to get their products included in Google Shopping results is “why do I have to do all this extra work?”

Google’s whole thing is analyzing sites and automatically delivering that information in its search results, right? Why can’t they just pull your product info when your pages get indexed?

The simple answer is that Google knows online retail changes very quickly and shoppers get very frustrated with out of date or inaccurate information. If this became a frequent problem, users would likely stop paying attention to Google’s product-related search results. 

While the search engine regularly re-indexes updated webpages, it can’t guarantee pages will be indexed fast enough to ensure information is up-to-date for searchers. 

Additionally, there are some features which online retailers tend to provide to help shoppers which can make things a little confusing for search engines to understand. 

For example, Google says it still struggles with accurately telling the difference between these types of information:

  • Original Price vs. Discounted Price
  • Related Products vs. The Main Product Being Sold
  • Taxes or Shipping Costs vs. The Actual Product Price

This is why the search engine asks online retailers to help provide this information for Google Shopping results.

Now, let’s get into the advice from Google Developer Advocate Alan Kent and how you can get your products into Google product showcases.

Two Ways To Give Google Your Product Data

In the latest Lightning Talks video, Kent discusses two different ways site managers can get their product information to Google. 

The first method is by using structured data. This is essentially using special coding embedded into pages to provide Google with additional information typically not provided through regular site code or markup. 

This is generally seen as the advanced approach because it requires significant knowledge of coding and the latest structured data techniques. 

The other method covered by Kent is by directly providing product data through Google Merchant Center, which can be done with:

  • A feed of all product data manually submitted to the search engine.
  • An API developed to update products individually as changes are made on your site. 

For more information, check out the guide provided by Google.

Conclusion

While providing product data to search engines is essential for appearing in these specific product-centric search results, the company emphasizes that these practices don’t replace traditional SEO.

“Remember that SEO still matters for organic search. Make your product details, such as images and descriptions, appealing to your customers.”

If you want to watch the full explanation from Kent, it is available below:

Google My Business is finally giving businesses a little more information and control over their reviews with a new tool available here.

Through the tool, business owners or managers can view reviews, submit a request to remove misleading or problematic reviews, and check the status of takedown requests for these reviews.

How To Use The New Google My Business Review Tool

Rather than being built into the Google My Business dashboard, the tool is available through the GMB Help Center.

To get started, simply sign into the Google account related to your business and go to the help page. 

From there, select whether you want to check the status of a review or file a new report for a problematic review.

If you wish to submit a new takedown request, Google My Business will pull a list of your recent reviews which can be viewed and reported within the tool.

If you are simply checking the status of a past takedown request, the tool will show all your most recent requests along with information about the status of the request.

If you select a review, you can also get more in-depth information about the review and request. You can also submit an appeal from here if you believe a request has been improperly denied.

Only Available For Small Accounts

At this point, it appears the tool is only available for accounts with just a few Google My Business listings. Several SEO specialists who manage dozens or even hundreds of listings say they have received a message stating “Based on the number of Business Profiles you manage, this process is not available” when attempting to use the tool. It is unclear if or when GMB plans to expand the tool for larger accounts.

YouTube is expanding the amount of data available to video creators while rolling out an updated version of the YouTube Studio Mobile app.

Accompanying the release of the updated app, the video platform is offering video creators new information on traffic sources, returning viewers, and more in-depth data on how viewers are watching your content. 

Below we are going to dig into the new metrics and app in-depth:

Expanded Viewer Data In YouTube Studio

Living Room Impressions

Before the end of the month, YouTube says it will start showing creators data on what it is calling “living room impressions” or views coming from TV-based sources like built-in TV apps, Rokus, or video game consoles. 

Of course, YouTube has already been counting these streams within its broader metrics like watch time and total views. However, this allows you to see exactly how your viewers are engaging with your content and help optimize your videos for where most people are viewing them.

New or Returning Viewers

Though you have been able to see how many new subscribers you are getting since seemingly forever ago, YouTube has generally overlooked the group of viewers who keep returning to channels even if they aren’t actually subscribed. In many ways, these viewers can be more valuable because they are actively searching out your content on a regular basis, rather than simply relying on it to pop up in their feed.

Now, YouTube is introducing a metric breaking down which viewers are new to your channel and who is returning – whether they are subscribed or not. 

Not only does this provide a more accurate view of your channel’s health and community engagement, it also helps you plan topics based on past viewer response. 

Despite this data being available to the vast majority of creators, YouTube says it will not be present for copyrighted content owners or artistic channels. 

Updates to YouTube Studio Mobile

Redesigned Real-Time Data Card

YouTube is updating its real-time analytics card in the Studio Mobile app analytics section to make it easier to see exactly how specific videos are performing in the moment. These changes include:

  • Thumbnails: The real-time card now displays thumbnails for individual videos.
  • Sorting: The real-time card now sorts videos by view count rather than the date videos were published.
  • Amount of videos: The card now shows up to 15 videos – ten more than the previous limit of five videos.

Updates to Tabs

Along with the new data, YouTube is redesigning its tabs in the Studio Mobile app with a larger focus on alignment. Following the update, all the most-used tabs are aligned, including audience, reach, engagement, overview, and revenue.

At the same time, the company has removed a few cards from these tabs, saying the cards were rarely used on mobile. All of these sections are still fully visible on desktop.

For more information on the new metrics available and the refreshed app, watch the Creator Insider video below:

Google is making its Hotel Booking Links program available to all hotels and travel companies for free, as the company announced this week. 

What Are Free Hotel Booking Links?

The new program, which was previously only available through the Hotel Ads system, essentially creates an entirely new organic list of hotels and travel agencies with available bookings below the existing paid results in relevant searches. 

As the company said in the announcement:

“We’re improving this experience by making it free for hotels and travel companies around the world to appear in hotel booking links, beginning this week on google.com/travel. With full access to a wider range of hotel prices, users will have a more comprehensive set of options as they research their trip and ultimately decide where to book.”

Additionally, the search engine says it will continue to expand the free marketing opportunities within the Google Travel platform in the future:

“Over time, we’ll continue building this open platform, so that all partners will have even more opportunities to highlight their information and help people book a flight, find a place to stay, or explore a new destination.”

What’s The Difference Between Free And Paid Hotel Booking Links?

The main distinction between the new program and the paid Hotel Booking Links program is obviously that paid links are essentially ads. They are bought through the Google Ads system.

However, this clear difference also influences how Google selects which hotels appear in the listings. 

Paid Hotel Booking Links are ranked based on the traditional Google Ads ranking system, which considers several details including how much the advertiser is paying, how relevant the ad is, and the quality of the page you are sending users to. 

The new free booking links, however, will be ranked using a system more similar to Google’s search algorithm.

As the announcement explains:

“Hotel ads are paid links, ranked according to Google’s ad auction, whereas free booking links are unpaid links, ranked according to their utility to users”

Where To Sign Up

If you’d like your hotel or travel company to appear in these new listings, all you have to do is click here to sign up.

After months of rumors, Twitter has confirmed it is launching a subscription-like feature which allows users to pay for premium content from content creators or influencers on the platform.

The company previewed the new feature it is calling “Super Follow” at its investor-focused Analyst Day event last week, along with a few other new features which are coming to the platform soon.

What Is Twitter’s “Super Follow”?

Super Follow will soon allow creators, influencers, and brands to monetize their tweets, similar to platforms like Patreon or YouTube Subscriptions.

“Twitter is working on a “Super Follow” function that can be used to earn money directly on the platform. Here are the first screenshots”

For a monthly fee, Twitter users can sign up to get exclusive content and perks from a select creator, including:

  • A supporter badge
  • Access to a subscriber-only newsletter
  • Exclusive content
  • Exclusive promotions and discounts
  • VIP community access

Unlike what you can find on sites like Patreon, Super Follow is a one-size-fits-all feature amd does not allow for separate tiers for fans or support.

While the specific revenue split is not clear, Twitter says creators will be able to earn money directly through Super Follow, making this a viable way to increase revenue from social media. This will likely also make Super Follow an attractive option for publishers hoping to find a new source of revenue other than digital advertising placements on their site.

Twitter Communities Take On Facebook Groups

Another upcoming feature highlighted at the Analyst Day event was the launch of Twitter Communities.

Similar to Facebook Groups, Communities allows users to join together around common interests or topics.

Details about the feature are hard to come by, but images shared by those who attended the event show a conversation hub which may make discussions easier for larger communities. 

Otherwise, the layout, design, and features look distinctly familiar to anyone who has been active on Facebook Groups in the past few years.

Twitter’s Goals for 2021 and Beyond

To close out the presentation, Twitter listed three specific goals to achieve in the future:

  • Double development velocity by the end of 2023, which means doubling the number of features shipped per employee that directly drive either mDAU (monetized daily active users)  or revenue.
  • Reach at least 315 million mDAU in Q4 2023, which represents a ~20% compound annual growth rate from the base of 152 million mDAU reported in Q4 2019, which was the most recently reported mDAU when Twitter first announced this ambition in March of 2020.
  • At least double total annual revenue from $3.7 billion in 2020 to $7.5 billion or more in 2023.

Snapchat has exploded in popularity over the past few years, and now the company claims its content reaches over 70% of 13 to 24-year-olds across the countries making up more than half of all digital ad spend. 

This reveal came as part of Snapchat’s first-ever investor day, this week.

Snapchat Details User Growth In Surprising Demographics

As The Wall Street Journal reports, Snapchat unveiled several key statistics to shareholders.

Broadly, the company says the “Snapchat Generation” includes up to 40% of consumers around the world.

Despite the perception that the social network’s users are overwhelmingly young, Snapchat also says approximately 80% of its audience is over the age of 18. Based on this level of growth with new audiences, the company believes it will see 50% annual growth in revenue every year for the foreseeable future.

Although most of the information provided focused on big-picture statistics like revenue and audience growth, the shareholder presentation did disclose a few more specific details about how users are interacting with the app. Specifically, they said that Snapchat users open the app 30 times a day on average, every day

Additionally, the company shared that users who try AR filters to try on products are 2.4 times more likely to convert, implying an interest in further investing in this area.

The Future of Snapchat Advertising

One of the main ways Snapchat aims to meet its goal of 50% YoY revenue growth is by continuing to expand its advertising platform.

In its current state, Snapchat’s revenue largely comes from the standard vertical video ads which appear between Stories. However, increasing the number of these ads could drive away users.

Instead of increasing the number of vertical video ads, Snapchat says it plans to find new areas of the app which can be monetized, including placing ads in the Snap Map and Spotlight sections.

With over 35 million businesses already present on the Snap Map, Snap Inc.’s chief business officer, Jeremi Gorman, believes they will see massive interest when rolling out ads in this area of the app.

Driven by the existing success of AR filters, Snapchat also plans to incorporate new augmented reality features and AR-based ad options.

Perhaps most importantly for smaller brands who can’t work directly with Snapchat for the more customized ad options (such as AR or custom filters), the company also says it will be investing in more comprehensive and easier to use tools to buy and run ads through its self-service ad platform.

This means smaller brands will potentially be able to get their hands on some of the more effective and exciting ad options which have only been available to a select few brands on the platform in the past.


Overall, the presentation from the company gives a very optimistic view for the future. With its user-base beginning to age into adulthood, Snapchat is positioned to directly connect brands with some of the most active and engaged users on any social platform out there.

YouTube’s latest video format, called YouTube Shorts, is finally coming to the USA next month, after several months of testing internationally.

The short (15 seconds or less) vertical video format was first rolled out as a beta test in India back in September 2020. Though it may have taken a little bit to catch on, YouTube says that the number of channels using the video format has more than tripled since December.

Currently, the platform says YouTube Shorts are getting more than 3.5 billion daily views in India alone. 

Come March, US users will be able to see what all the buzz about as the format and associated video creation tools arrive in America.

What Are YouTube Shorts?

Unsurprisingly, many have compared YouTube Shorts to TikTok clips or the popular Stories format found on several other platforms. This is because YouTube Shorts share a number of features with the increasingly trendy format:

  • Users can create and upload short videos of 15 seconds or less.
  • Edit your videos with a range of creative tools.
  • Stitch several short clips together with a multi-segment editor.
  • Add licensed music to your videos through YouTube’s music library.
  • Speed up or slow down your video footage for dramatic effect.
  • Use timers and countdowns to plan your video shoots.

Additionally, the company says it is introducing a carousel on the YouTube homepage dedicated completely to Shorts.

YouTube Shorts Aim To Make Content Creation Easier For All

One of YouTube’s biggest goals with the new video format is to make the barrier to content creation and exposure on the platform lower for new creators:

“Every year, increasing numbers of people come to YouTube to launch their own channel. But we know there’s still a huge amount of people who find the bar for creation too high.

That’s why we’re working on Shorts, our new short-form video tool that lets creators and artists shoot snappy videos with nothing but their mobile phones.”

With YouTube Shorts users can immediately start creating their own content without the need for high-quality equipment or editing skills.

Even more enticing, YouTube says it is going to count Shorts views the same way as regular video views – creating a fast pathway for big metrics for new users. This will also make it easier for new users to reach the milestones needed to monetize content through the YouTube Partner Program.

More is sure to come in the next few weeks as YouTube seems poised to prioritize Shorts in big ways. 

In the next few weeks, the company is launching a dedicated biweekly Shorts Report to highlight all the latest updates and provide useful tips to users. Keep your eyes peeled as new info as the biweekly reports start arriving and YouTube Shorts finally come to the US.