Infinite Dial 2018

After more than a decade of steady growth, it appears the party lights have dimmed at Facebook. The portion of Americans 12+ using the social media staple has declined in 2018, from 67% last year to 62%, according to the Infinite Dial study released last week from Edison Research and Triton Digital.

The 20th-annual data-rich survey—which is based on national telephone interviews with 2,000 persons 12+, conducted in January and February 2018—includes comprehensive statistics on social media usage, along with trends and statistics regarding the likes of in-car audio usage, internet radio, podcasting and smart speakers—which Inside Radio covered in two stories on Friday.

This year’s data surprisingly reveals that while Facebook remains by far the most-used social media service, usage is down or flat in every demographic age group, gender and ethnicity. “The shift in social media usage is absolutely one of the most compelling stories in this year’s Infinite Dial,” said Edison Senior VP Tom Webster, during the Thursday presentation. “It is entirely possible that we have reached peak social. It might not be as cool anymore.”

Historically, Facebook has steadily increased year over year, to its peak of 67% in 2016. Looking back to 2008, only 8% of those 12+ had ever used the platform. This year, the most significant decline in Facebook usage was among those 12-34, dropping to 67% this year from 79% in 2017. For those 35-54, the percentage dipped to 69% from 72%; and 55+, it remained flat at 49%.

Social media usage overall also declined in 2018, to 77% from a peak in 2017 of 80%. It’s astonishing to see Infinite Dial’s data from 10 years ago—when a mere 10% of respondents said they had ever utilized any form of social media.

Meanwhile, a number of other social media services continue to show robust growth, making this diminishment particular to Facebook. Instagram usage is up to 36%, from 34% in 2017 and 29% in 2016; Pinterest is now 31%, from 30% a year ago and 25% two years ago; and Snapchat is 31% now, compared to 29% and 23% one and two years ago, respectively. LinkedIn is flat at 22%, while Twitter also showed a decline from 23% in 2017 to 21% this year.

When asked what social media platform was utilized most often, Facebook remains tops at 57%, followed by Snapchat (14%), Instagram (12%), Twitter and Pinterest (5%) and LinkedIn (4%). The percentages change somewhat dramatically for the 12-34 demo: Facebook is No. 1, with 35%, but Snapchat is nipping at its heels (29%), followed closely by Instagram (22%).