YouTube is used by 81% of U.S. adults, according to Pew Research Center’s new Social Media Use in 2021 survey. That’s up 8 percentage points from the 73% YouTube usage rate that Pew found in 2019. Among all the other social platforms Pew polled, only Reddit experienced a statistically significant increase in usage from 2019 to 2021, up from 11% to 18%. Facebook is the second-most popular, with 69% usage; all others are below 50%.
YouTube’s dominance over other social platforms spans gender, race, age, income, education and geography. Pew’s data highlights why YouTube has become so attractive to advertisers. For example, YouTube is used by 95% of 18-29 year-olds and 91% of 30-49 year-olds, compared to Facebook’s 70% and 77% respectively. It is used by 90% of those with incomes of $75,000 or higher, compared with Facebook’s 70%. And YouTube is used by 89% of college grads or above, vs. Facebook’s 70%. The only category where other social platforms come a reasonably close second to YouTube is among 18-49 year-olds where Instagram and Snapchat have 71% and 65% usage rates respectively.
However when it comes to frequent activity by users, YouTube falls to fourth place. 71% of Facebook users use the platform once-to-several times per day, followed by 59% for Snapchat and Instagram, 54% for YouTube and 46% for Twitter. Instagram had peak usage among all social platforms, with 73% of 18-29 year-olds saying they use it every day.
While Pew included YouTube among social platforms being surveyed, it isn’t fair to think of YouTube only in this way, which helps to explain why its usage is so much higher than all the others. YouTube is by far the biggest video uploading site, the #2 search engine, a music streaming service, a mobile and connected TV giant, an e-commerce lead generator and increasingly a source of professional content which will be featured prominently at its Brandcast Delivered NewFront presentation on May 4th.
YouTube will be building off its blockbuster Q4 ’20 when advertising in the U.S. alone grew 46% to $6.9 billion.