The world of social media constantly changes, but you can identify patterns that emerge. In this article we identify those trends and determine how they will influence social app development.

The Infinite Dial showcases various statistics of the social media world ever year since 2016. This year’s showcase included stats on smart speakers, podcasts, and online audio sources. You can check out the full 66-page report here for all the details.

We compiled our team’s knowledge and observations to divine which movements will be most influential throughout 2018.

What are the 5 most definitive trends in social media apps so far this year?

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The Infinite Dial | Edison Research and Triton Digital

1. Young People are Moving Away from Facebook

Given the escalation of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, this may not come as a surprise. The company posted its first year without any growth, showing a 5% decline in usership.

Despite new data privacy installations, young people in particular are fleeing the platform thus far synonymous with social media. They are leaving Facebook in favor of other social apps such as Instagram (which, luckily for FB, is a Facebook product).

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The Infinite Dial | Edison Research and Triton Digital

However, among those age 55 or older, there seems to have been no change.

In just one year, 15% of users in the 13-34 age bracket curbed their Facebook usage. The more surprising statistic is that Facebook is now most popular with middle-aged Americans. As a platform originally designed for college students, this shift is significant.

It might also have to do with things like the anti-Facebook Twitter campaigns. But most likely, it has to do with the third trend on this list.

Read More: Mark Zuckerberg: we don’t deserve to serve you

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The Infinite Dial | Edison Research and Triton Digital

2. Twitter Usage is Down

As we covered in 2017, Twitter historically struggles to add new users. While it isn’t feasible to continually post astronomical growth, you still want some growth.

The Edison Research and Triton Digital report shows that Twitter is still struggling.

The report showed that, overall, usage is down for both Twitter and Facebook. Unfortunately for marketing teams and social apps, the bad news doesn’t stop there.

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The Infinite Dial | Edison Research and Triton Digital

3. In Fact, Social Media Usage is Down Overall

The fact that overall social app usage is down is one of the most startling revelations to come out of this year’s report. But how does this break down in the report?

There are an estimated 233 million smartphone owners. Interviewing 2,000 Americans for their study, the researchers include everyone age 12 and older in their report. 

80% of Americans surveyed said they used various social media apps on a daily basis last year. In 2018, they reported 77% instead. This might not sound like a huge number.

However, consider that, at the end of 2017, Facebook had an estimated 2.2 billion active monthly users. According to The Industry Observer, Facebook has 174 million American users this year.

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The Infinite Dial | Edison Research and Triton Digital

4. Snapchat & Instagram Post Significant Growth

Snapchat and Instagram have always posted higher usage bases with younger demographics. You can see more stats for both social apps on Sprout Social right now.

Despite their climb to being the favorite social network of 29% of 12 – 34-year-olds surveyed, Snapchat use still declined recently. Supposedly due to an unfortunate ad involving domestic abuse survivor and celebrity Rihanna, Snapchat shares dropped 5% overnight.

The interface redesign also spurred contention in the ranks of Snapchat users. But is it all enough to get people on Instagram only?

Though Snapchat grew in popularity by 10% from 2017 to 2018, Instagram grew as well. The Facebook-acquired, image-heavy offshoot gained 6% popularity among American 12 to 34-year-olds according to The Infinite Dial.

What does this all mean for social apps at-large moving into summer 2018?

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The Infinite Dial | Edison Research and Triton Digital

5. Visual Social Platforms are the Only Ones Growing

The fifth emerging social media trend this year involves Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. Data shows us that social apps with visual elements rank higher for popularity.

Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat grew since the previous Infinite Dial report.

Conversely, more text-based social apps such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn saw downturns or no growth.

Despite these numbers, two-thirds of Americans still use Facebook for various reasons. Only time will tell if Instagram or Snapchat will oust it from its pedestal.

In your opinion, were these changes what you expected for social apps in 2018? What factors do you think drive these trends over others?

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