The 2024 Social Media Landscape: Which Channels Are Gaining and Losing Steam

Social media is an ever-shifting landscape. What‘s popular one year might fall out of favor the next, as new platforms emerge and user behaviors evolve. For marketers, staying on top of these trends is crucial for reaching and engaging your target audience.

To shed light on the state of social media in 2024, we conducted a comprehensive survey of over 1,500 consumers and 500 marketing professionals. We also analyzed internal data across over 100,000 businesses using the HubSpot platform.

Here‘s a deep dive into which social channels are on the rise, which are declining, and what it means for your marketing strategy.

The Winners: Social Platforms Gaining Popularity in 2024

1. Instagram Hits New Heights

Instagram has long been a powerhouse, but it‘s reaching new levels of popularity across all age groups. Our consumer survey found that:

  • 88% of Gen Z, 85% of Millennials, 82% of Gen X, and 74% of Baby Boomers used Instagram in the last 3 months
  • Instagram is the favorite social media app for both Gen Z (34%) and Millennials (29%)
  • 71% of users check Instagram daily, with 35% checking multiple times per day

Marketers are taking notice of Instagram‘s broad appeal and high engagement. In our survey of marketing professionals:

  • 57% plan to increase their investment in Instagram marketing in 2024
  • 31% say Instagram delivers the highest ROI of any social platform
  • 58% of B2C and 46% of B2B marketers named Instagram a top 3 platform for reaching their goals

What makes Instagram so sticky? Its highly visual, easily digestible content is perfectly suited for mobile browsing. Features like Stories, Reels, and Shop make it a versatile platform for brand storytelling and driving action.

If you haven‘t made Instagram a priority, 2024 is the year to start. Focus on eye-catching visuals, experiment with different content formats, and leverage features like product tags and links to drive traffic and sales.

2. TikTok Dances to the Top

No platform has shaken up the social media world like TikTok. What started as a Gen Z phenomenon has gone fully mainstream. Just look at these stats:

  • 69% of Gen Z, 47% of Millennials, 28% of Gen X, and 13% of Baby Boomers used TikTok in the last 3 months
  • TikTok is the most-used social app for Gen Z at 38%
  • Average time spent per user on TikTok is over 850 minutes per month, 2nd only to YouTube

TikTok‘s explosive growth has marketers rushing to capitalize. In our survey:

  • 49% of marketers plan to increase their TikTok investment in 2024
  • 35% of marketers plan to use TikTok for the first time in 2024
  • 27% say TikTok offers the most creative and engaging ad formats

TikTok‘s full-screen, sound-on, highly participatory format has transformed user expectations for social content. The platform‘s algorithm is remarkably effective at serving relevant content, keeping users hooked.

To succeed on TikTok, embrace the platform‘s unique culture and content style. Think short, catchy, visually dynamic videos that inspire users to engage or create their own content. Timeliness and a sense of humor go a long way.

3. YouTube Grows Its Multi-Generational Audience

YouTube remains the grandfather of social video platforms, but its viewership continues to grow across age groups. Check out these numbers:

  • 93% of Gen Z, 89% of Millennials, 83% of Gen X, and 70% of Baby Boomers used YouTube in the last 3 months
  • YouTube is a top 3 favorite social app for all age groups
  • Over 2.3 billion people use YouTube globally, making it the most widely used social platform

On the marketing side:

  • 45% of marketers plan to increase their YouTube investment in 2024
  • 48% of video marketers name YouTube their top platform for ROI
  • 61% of marketers say YouTube is effective for building brand awareness

YouTube offers a broad canvas for video content of all styles and lengths. How-to videos, product reviews, and educational content tend to perform especially well. With its vast reach and targeting capabilities, YouTube is also a powerful advertising channel.

To make the most of YouTube, focus on creating search-optimized, value-packed videos that showcase your brand expertise. Leverage end screens, info cards, and calls-to-action to drive viewers to your website or other content.

4. Facebook Holds Steady with Older Users

While Facebook may have lost its cool factor with Gen Z, it remains a staple for older users. Our survey found:

  • 94% of Baby Boomers, 88% of Gen X, and 82% of Millennials used Facebook in the last 3 months
  • Facebook is the favorite social app for Baby Boomers (41%) and Gen X (28%)
  • 69% of Facebook users are over age 35

Despite its aging user base, many marketers still view Facebook as essential. In our survey:

  • 38% plan to increase their Facebook marketing budget in 2024
  • 31% say Facebook is a top 3 platform for achieving their goals
  • Facebook‘s ad reach is unmatched at 2.08 billion monthly active users

Facebook‘s strength lies in its massive user base and robust advertising tools. It remains a vital platform for community building, customer service, and targeted advertising, especially for brands targeting Millennials and up.

To get the most out of Facebook, focus on creating meaningful conversations and connections. Use Facebook groups to build community, and the platform‘s sophisticated ad targeting to reach your precise audience.

The Losers: Social Platforms Losing Steam

While most major social platforms are holding steady or growing, a few are starting to decline in usage and marketer interest.

1. Twitter Tumbles

Once a top platform for real-time conversation and news, Twitter has struggled to grow its user base in recent years. Our survey found:

  • Only 44% of Gen Z, 39% of Millennials, 27% of Gen X, and 12% of Baby Boomers used Twitter in the last 3 months
  • No age group ranked Twitter as a top 3 favorite platform
  • Twitter‘s growth rate has slowed to just 1% per quarter

Marketers are also losing faith in Twitter:

  • Only 14% plan to increase their Twitter investment in 2024
  • 23% plan to decrease their Twitter spending
  • Just 12% say Twitter is effective for building brand awareness

While Twitter can still be valuable for customer service, PR, and niche communities, its declining relevance and limited advertising options make it a lower priority for many brands.

2. Snapchat Snaps Downward

Snapchat, once the darling of teen users, has seen its growth flatten. Our survey found:

  • 58% of Gen Z used Snapchat in the last 3 months, but only 26% call it their favorite app
  • Usage drops sharply in older age groups, with just 34% of Millennials and 18% of Gen X on the platform
  • Snapchat‘s user base grew by less than 5% in 2023

Marketer interest in Snapchat is also waning:

  • Only 8% of marketers say they plan to increase Snapchat investment in 2024
  • 51% of marketers have no plans to use Snapchat at all
  • Snapchat ranks last among major platforms for marketer confidence in ROI

While Snapchat‘s AR lenses remain a bright spot for innovation, the platform has struggled to demonstrate clear value for advertisers. Brands targeting a narrow Gen Z audience may still find success on Snapchat, but for most, it‘s not a top priority.

Making Sense of the Social Media Landscape

The social media world is in constant flux, but some clear patterns emerge from our 2024 research. Visual platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are winning with consumers and marketers alike, offering engaging formats and robust advertising tools.

Legacy platforms like Facebook remain important thanks to their massive reach, but are increasingly skewing toward older users. Twitter and Snapchat, meanwhile, are struggling to maintain relevance and marketer confidence.

So what‘s a marketer to do? The key is to focus on the platforms where your unique audience is most active and engaged. Use demographic data as a starting point, but also dive into your own social media analytics to see what‘s working for your brand.

Don‘t be afraid to experiment and shift resources as needed. Social media rewards agility and adaptability. Keep a pulse on emerging trends, but always filter them through the lens of your brand goals and audience needs.

Above all, remember that social media is about building real connections with your customers and community. Approach each platform with a human touch, an authentic brand voice, and a commitment to providing value. That‘s the true key to social media success in 2024 and beyond.