This graphic from the Pew Internet and American Life Project Fact Tank shows the rise in social media usage by gender from 2008 to 2013.
Ignoring the colors for a moment, let’s just take the time to marvel at the incredible climb. Five years ago, only 29% of online adults were using social media. Now, the average is 72%. That’s incredible. Almost three-quarters of every adult on the internet is logging on to some type of social media at some point. It truly has changed the way we communicate.
What’s even more interesting is how the gender climb is almost a mirror except for two spots. Women went from zero to full tilt late in 2009. Men followed, but more cautiously. Then in November 2010, the number for men actually declined while women held steady around 66%.
November 2010 is when WikiLeaks released all those secret, government documents, so maybe that put a scare into all the men who were previously revealing personal information through social media.
For whatever the reason, men have continued to lag behind, but there’s been a marked increase in usage in just the past few months.
Let’s look at this by social network:
The only place men are more prevalent than women is on Twitter. Maybe that’s why my male follower ratio is so high? Tumbr is equally balanced. Okay, men take the lead on Reddit, too but I never think of that as a social network. To me, it’s a bookmarking site.
Women rule on Instagram but it’s Pinterest that really skews the numbers. 25% of female internet users vs 5% male. Wow.
Then there’s Facebook. Both percentages here are well beyond what anyone else is seeing. I knew it was more popular than Twitter but I didn’t realize the difference was so great. Women have the advantage here as well 72% to 62%.
The takeaway is this: if you’re marketing to men, you might want to rethink your social media strategy. I’d pass on Instagram and Pinterest and post all those pretty pictures on Tumblr instead. I’d stick with Twitter and Facebook is a given. I’m still not convinced it’s the marketing juggernaut people think it is, but it’s kind of a necessity in 2013.