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Leveraging Social Media Insights To Maximize Marketing ROI: A Case Study Analysis

Understanding where your target audience spends their time is paramount for successful outreach. A recent case study by the Pew Research Center identifies where U.S. adults spend most of their time online. Spoiler alert: it’s not Tiktok.

The study surveyed 5,733 U.S. adults from May 19 to Sept. 5, 2023. We’ll briefly summarize the data points that you should consider when building or improving your social media marketing. Let’s dive in.

Why does this data matter for digital marketers?

Social media has become a staple in marketing strategies worldwide. However, it’s important to recognize that it’s not a magic solution for driving conversions. Without a strategic and data-driven approach, relying solely on social media for marketing can potentially harm your business rather than benefit it.

Businesses, regardless of their size, can face significant repercussions from social media missteps such as data breaches, product quality issues, or lack of transparency. Therefore, investing in a social media campaign without proper planning and analysis can pose risks beyond financial losses. It could damage your brand’s reputation.

To make sure your social media works for you and not against you, follow these tips:

  1. Know Your Audience: Understand the demographics of your target audience, including their preferred social media platforms and their values.

  1. Choose Wisely: Prioritize platforms that align with your brand values and resonate with your audience, as highlighted in the case study.

  1. Stay Informed: To anticipate potential risks, follow social media trends, controversies and policy changes.

  1. Transparency Is Key: Be transparent in your communications and actions on social media, especially during times of controversy. Authenticity builds trust.

  1. Educate Your Team: Train your employees on social media policies, guidelines and crisis management procedures to respond effectively to controversies.

  1. Monitor and Listen: Use social media monitoring tools to track conversations and sentiment around your brand, enabling timely intervention if needed.

Let’s consider the data so you can start steps 1-3 today!

The dominance of YouTube and Facebook

The data highlights the dominance of YouTube and Facebook among online platforms. With 83% and 68% of U.S. adults using YouTube and Facebook, respectively, these platforms emerge as primary avenues for engaging with a broad audience.

YouTube is the star, with eight out of every 10 adults using the platform. While TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), and LinkedIn have significant audiences, they pale in comparison to YouTube and Facebook regarding sheer numbers.

Take a look at the percentage of adults using competing online platforms:

  • Instagram: 47%

  • Pinterest: 35%

  • Tiktok: 33%

  • LinkedIn: 30%

  • Snapchat: 27%

  • Twitter: 22%

  • Reddit: 22%

  • BeReal: 3%

Facebook and YouTube dominance does not make other platforms redundant. Depending on your target customer, your marketing ROI may be better spent on platforms such as LinkedIn or X.

Surge in TikTok’s Popularity

While YouTube and Facebook maintain their stronghold, TikTok has witnessed remarkable growth, with 33% of U.S. adults now using the platform. Other platforms saw little to no growth in the past few years, a stark contrast from TikTok’s 12% growth since 2021.

This surge underscores the evolving preferences of consumers, particularly among younger demographics. Platforms can quickly grow or lose users in a matter of months. Digital marketers must stay informed and flexible, ready to pivot when users’ preferred platforms change.

Age differences in platform usage

The study notes age disparities in social media usage, with younger adults exhibiting a higher preference for platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. The survey found that 62% to 78% of adults between 18 to 29 use Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.

Those under 30 are most likely using multiple social media platforms. The study found 74% of adults use at least five social media platforms.

Race and ethnicity

Demographic variations further highlight the diverse user bases of different social media platforms. Factors such as race, ethnicity, gender and education level significantly influence platform preferences. Effective target audience segmentation is nuanced. Take a look at the study’s findings:


  • Hispanic and Asian adults use it most, 58% and 57%, respectively.

  • Women outnumber men in usage.

  • Higher education correlates with higher usage.


  • Hispanic adults lead in usage at 49%, followed by Black adults at 39%.

  • More women (40%) use it than men (25%).


  • Higher education is linked to more usage.

  • 53% of bachelor’s degree holders use it.


  • Higher-income users are more prevalent.

  • 29% of users earn $100,000+.

Maximize marketing ROI

This case study underscores the critical role of understanding consumer behavior in shaping effective digital marketing strategies. Adaptability and data-driven decision-making are the keys to sustaining marketing success in a rapidly evolving digital ecosystem.

With these insights, businesses can craft more targeted and impactful digital marketing strategies. By aligning their outreach efforts with the platforms frequented by their ideal customers, businesses can maximize marketing ROI and minimize resource wastage.

Looking to apply these insights to your social media strategy? Partner with our digital marketing experts to get the most out of your outreach. Contact Dream Local Digital to learn more.

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