Social media is transforming the way Americans consume news. According to a a new study from Pew Research Center, News Use Across Social Media Platforms, 55% of Americans 50 years of age and older now get their news on social media platforms reports a new study from Pew Research Center. That’s a 10% jump from a year ago. As expected, 78% of adults under 50, are also more likely to get news from social media sites.
Interestingly, social media usage for news also increased among non-whites (from 64% last year to 74% this year) and among those adults with less than a bachelor degree (from 60% last year to 69%). In terms of specific platforms, Snapchat skews youngest for news – 82% of users are 18-29s followed by Instagram where 51% of users are 18-29s. Media consumption patterns are becoming even more multifaceted with news content available on multiple platforms and on several devices.
The Pew study identified two distinct measures to show the usage growth of social media. The first is to measure the change in the number of users who get their news on these platforms. This measure concentrates on social media’s shift in volume. Based on this measure, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat registered an increase in audience usage. Reddit, Facebook, Tumbler, Instagram, Linkedin, and WhatsApp did not.
Many U.S. adults use multiple social media platforms to gather their news. At least 26% get news from two or more of social media platforms, up from 18% in 2016 and 15% in 2013. In fact, at least 90% of Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp users, are likely to use at least two social media sites to access news.
Consumers still access traditional news publications and digital news websites. On average, one-third of adults still access branded digital news sites. Linkedin (58%) and Twitter (55%) users are most likely to also access digital news sites. Instagram (48%) and Facebook (33%) users access at a much lower rate.
Adults are clearly using multiple access point for their news consumption. It’s important for digital news brands to continue to develop strategies to connect to audiences via social channels, while maintaining their brand value and trust in these disparate platforms.