Deep-dive into the social media jungle: which audience do I reach with which platform?

Deep-dive into the social media jungle: which audience do I reach with which platform?

Caro Falsett
Caro Falsett
published on November 26, 2021   
updated on March 21, 2022

When it comes to social media marketing, it’s easy to lose track of the big picture. Gone are the days when the question “Which platform do we use?” was answered with “Facebook” without hesitation because there simply weren’t many alternatives.

Nowadays, Facebook is still considered the top dog, but there are more and more alternatives that a successful marketer should not ignore. Basically, the question is always who is in the right target group for your product and which platforms this audience is on. And so that you are well prepared the next time your boss asks you to make suggestions regarding new marketing platforms, I will give you an overview of the currently most important social media platforms below.


Facebook – pioneer or almost dead?


Facebook should be a household name to anyone who works in marketing. The network was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and is nowadays best known for its groups, where people can exchange ideas on all kinds of topics.  The largest of all social media platforms has 2.91 billion monthly active users, 1.93 billion of whom even use the network on a daily basis. But what about the distribution of users? 

Deep-dive into the social media jungle: which audience do I reach with which platform?

As can be seen in the diagram, Facebook is by no means dead. The platform is still used by a large number of people every day and therefore provides a good basis for social media marketing for most companies. The only important thing here is to keep an eye out for your own target group. In the case of products that are mainly aimed at young people, it is debatable whether the advertising budget would be better spent on a different platform.


One aspect that should not be ignored, however, is the difference between men and women in almost all age groups. Women only have the lead among users aged 55 and older; in all other age groups, there are more male than female users.


Instagram – the new Facebook?


With over 1 billion active users per month, Instagram is a good deal behind Facebook, but should not be disregarded due to the sheer size of the platform. And the clichés that Instagram is only suitable for beauty products and influencer marketing are not true either. But who is actually hanging out on Instagram?

Deep-dive into the social media jungle: which audience do I reach with which platform?

At first glance, it is noticeable that the Instagram audience is still a little younger than on Facebook, with only a few users over the age of 55 still on the network. The group of 18 to 24-year-olds, on the other hand, is much more pronounced. But Facebook and Instagram have one thing in common: young people no longer use them as extensively as they did a few years ago and seem to have found their own communication channels.


It is also striking that, especially compared to Facebook, even more women use Instagram. Especially in the 25-34 age group, the difference between the sexes is not as pronounced.


Youtube – the classic?


YouTube has been the most popular platform for publishing videos for years. So popular, in fact, that over 1.9 billion registered users now visit the network every month, which is almost half of all Internet users. The platform is available in 80 languages and has regional versions in 91 countries. So far, so good – but which target groups can be reached well via Youtube?

Deep-dive into the social media jungle: which audience do I reach with which platform?

Impressive. Youtube is not only used in the young age groups, but even among the over-75s, the platform is used by more than 50% of them. No other network can boast such broadly diversified user statistics. But why doesn’t every company advertise on Youtube if it offers so many opportunities in terms of target group?

The answer is simple: Youtube marketing costs time and money. In comparison to Facebook or Instagram, where theoretically a picture can be posted quickly, the effort on a video platform is of course significantly higher. And since much of the normal content these days is produced in a high-quality manner, a shaky 5-second video is usually not a good creative and therefore not a good advertisement. 


Pinterest – for women only?


Pinterest is still referred to in many places as a platform for women who have no interests other than do-it-yourself and yoga. But with sales of $633 million in the third quarter of 2021, it should be clear to any marketer that Pinterest has long since grown out of its infancy. So what does the Pinterest audience really look like?

Deep-dive into the social media jungle: which audience do I reach with which platform?

The diagram shows that Pinterest also has a predominantly younger target group; after all, 72% of the target group is under 45. Unfortunately, Pinterest does not offer any detailed insights into the gender distribution in the different age groups. The only known fact is that around 70% of users are female. But one addition should not be forgotten in this statistic: 40% of new registrations on Pinterest are men. This currently represents an annual growth of 70%. Which content works well on Pinterest and whether Pinterest is worthwhile for your company, you can find out here: Pinterest – Potential or Blank?


Snapchat – only for kids?


Marketers should not be unfamiliar with Snapchat either. Snapchat is popular for its popularity especially with a very young target group. On this platform, users can send each other short videos or photos (“Snaps”), which are then either visible to the other person for 24 hours or disappear immediately after the first viewing. Groups can also be formed and content can be distributed within the groups. But is the rumor true that Snapchat is only suitable for companies with a very young target group?

Deep-dive into the social media jungle: which audience do I reach with which platform?

Without a guilty conscience, it can now be confirmed with this diagram: Snapchat is almost exclusively for marketing to very young target groups. Unfortunately, there is no exact gender breakdown here either, but Snapchat confirms that more than 57% of users are female. However, it is important to say with Snapchat marketing that paid content is displayed on a special page (“Discover”) and is not automatically played out to the user. In addition, organic content is only displayed if the user has connected with the company.

For more information on Snapchat marketing and how it compares to TikTok, check out this article.


LinkedIn – only something for work matters?


LinkedIn is known in this country primarily as an alternative to XING and as a  network for professionals. Here, people network with work colleagues, exchange scientific articles and find each other in professionally oriented groups. With over 690 million registered users worldwide, there is definitely no longer any question of it being a small, unimportant platform. But what about the age and gender distribution on LinkedIn?

Deep-dive into the social media jungle: which audience do I reach with which platform?

LinkedIn is particularly popular with 35 to 64-year-olds; younger generations are not yet very widely represented on the platform. Another striking aspect is that there seems to be a surplus of men on LinkedIn, and they are in the majority in the more strongly represented age groups. From this information, we can deduce which content (could) do well on the platform and which content is less likely to be found here (e.g., cat content).

By the way: in contrast to the other social media networks, people on LinkedIn are very often still on first name terms!


TikTok – only for 12-year-old girls?


TikTok should be a household name for every marketer by now. The app, which was launched by the Chinese company ByteDance, is currently the fastest growing social media network in the world. In Q4 2019 alone, the app was downloaded 220 million times. And yet the prejudices regarding TikTok seem to be widespread, because one often hears that the TikTok audience is too young for marketing to be worthwhile in this age group. But who is really on the platform?

Deep-dive into the social media jungle: which audience do I reach with which platform?

If you look at the user structure of TikTok, the first thing you notice is that yes, the users are young. Very young compared to networks like LinkedIn or Facebook. And in all likelihood, the users are also not that liquid, considering that many of them are still in education. But that doesn’t stop many companies from marketing on TikTok. Their motto: brand loyalty. BMW, for example, first launched a major campaign last summer. Yes, you read that right: a car company is doing marketing on a platform where many (if not most) of the users don’t even have a driver’s license. The company is banking on the brand loyalty effect here, hoping that young people will turn back to BMW in a few years. More info on TikTok can be found here.


One thing is clear: you can’t lump all social media platforms together. Each network is individual, which is also reflected in the users. If you are planning a new campaign, I can only advise you to take a look at the individual platforms – maybe you will find a corner where you can still meet your audience.


If you have any questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to contact us here!


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