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New public report delves into social media use in the UK

September 7, 2016 #Our news
New public report delves into social media use in the UK
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A new report, published today, details the demographics of social media users in the UK by platform.

The report is the first publicly-available analysis of its kind for the UK, produced by research and communications agency We are Flint ahead of Social Media Week.

The report shows that 84% of all UK adults use social media, and two-thirds of UK adults use social media every day.

Key findings by platform

  • YouTube and Facebook are by far the most popular platforms among UK adults online (respectively 85% and 78%).
  • Although Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat are often mentioned in mainstream or trade media, their use remains relatively ‘contained’ among UK adults online (respectively 45%, 30%, 29%, 20%). Periscope remains niche at 6%.
  • Google+ shows resilience, coming in third (50%), while WhatsApp seals its recent growth by coming in fourth (48%).
  • The ‘stickiest’ platforms are Facebook (59% of UK adults online use it daily), WhatsApp (28%) and YouTube (27%).

Key findings by demographic

  • While reports abound about young people moving away from Facebook, in absolute terms it remains the second most popular platform among 18-29-year-olds (92%), behind YouTube (96%).
  • While there is an indistinguishable difference between men and women in terms of overall usage, women are 6-points more likely to use social media on a daily basis (76% versus 70%). The biggest difference in platform usage is Pinterest, with an 18-point difference in favour of women.
  • The only platforms with a statistically significant difference in favour of men are LinkedIn (6-point difference), Periscope (4-point) and Twitter (3-point).
  • LinkedIn may be used by only 30% of UK adults online, but it is most popular among people with high household incomes. It is significantly more popular among those taking home £48k+ (64%) than those earning below that threshold (25%).
  • Those in Scotland (97%) and England (95%) are marginally more likely to be social media users than those in Wales (93%) and Northern Ireland (89%). The same story plays out in daily usage: England (74%), Scotland (73%), Wales (67%) and Northern Ireland (53%).
  • There is little in it when it comes to usage in the UK’s largest cities. Glasgow takes the lead in both total usage and daily usage (99% versus 78%), closely followed by London and Birmingham (both 97% versus 77%), Manchester (96% versus 76%) and Leeds (95% versus 72%).
  • Those living in urban areas are more likely to be daily users of social media than their rural counterparts (75% versus 66%). Looking at overall usage, some social media platforms are significantly more likely to be used in urban areas, notably WhatsApp (13-point difference), Instagram (10-point difference), Pinterest and Snapchat (both 7-point difference).


Tom Hashemi, Director of Cast From Clay says:

“The reason behind this study was to fill a gap in public data on platform-specific UK social media statistics. We went on the hunt for this data ourselves and came back empty handed. Being supporters of the open source movement, we figured we’d publicly release them.”

Press notes:

  1. Cast From Clay is a research and communications agency. We build brands and visual identities, develop online platforms and websites, and advise on digital and social media.
  2. We are Flint website:
  3. UK Social Media Demographics report can be found at
  4. We interviewed n=2,092 online UK adults aged 18+ between the 3rd and 4th August 2016 via online panel survey on their social media usage. Respondents were screened and weighted to be UK nationally representative of age, gender and region. The margin of error on the study is +/-2.2%.
  5. The social media networks tested were Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Periscope, YouTube and Google+.
  6. This presentation contains profiles of each network by gender, age, social grade, household income, and geography.
  7. We also ran the following demographic questions and can provide social media profiles on request for the following: region, recent foreign holiday, home ownership, car ownership, working status, disability, household food purchaser, ethnicity, religion, public sector worker, children, marital status, city.
View 2018 data

Image credit: cottonbro studio on Pexels.

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