Q2 2018

Social media


It goes without saying that this quarter has brought with it a series of revelations and changes for social media. The enforcement of GDPR at the end of May has led businesses to an increased consideration of what data they hold and how this is used or shared. The new data security regulations have also caused consumers to become more attuned to their data security rights and the potential for abuses of this information. GDPR has made an unflattering backdrop for various social media new stories, including Facebook’s data breaches, Snapchat’s introduction of advertising, and Instagram’s trouble with making paid for content obvious to users.


Considering this, we might expect to see a drop off in social media usage, however, our Q2 Tech Tracker has revealed that social media usage is as strong as ever. Facebook maintains its top spot as the most popular service amongst GB adults, with 61% of the GB population aged 15+ having accessed it within the last 3 months. Other social media services barely feature amongst the 55+ age group, and have fewer than 10% accessing platforms such as LinkedIn (9%), or Twitter (8%).

Base: Q2 2018 1,008 GB adults aged 15+           Source: Ipsos MORI

Our data has revealed that those aged 35-54 are more likely to access social media via tablet than any other age group. However, unsurprisingly, those aged 55+ are less likely to use social media services. Whilst there are very few differences between genders or social grades in the percentage of GB adults using social media, when split by age we see that 9 in 10 people aged 15-24 access social media platforms, compared to only 4 in 10 of those aged 55+.

Social media user demographics:

Facebook use remains consistent across genders. In terms of age, under 34s use Facebook most (15-24, 82%; 25-34, 81%). The 55+ age group uses Facebook less than half as often (55+, 36%). Smartphone and Tablet ownership is higher amongst Facebook users in comparison to the GB adult population, with 9 in 10 owning a smartphone and almost 3 in 5 owning a tablet. Despite recent negative press, Facebook user numbers have remained consistent and it continues to be the largest social network, attracting over twice the number of users as the next most frequently used platform, Instagram.

Given LinkedIn's focus on creating and maintaining working relationships, it is not surprising to see that its highest usage is amongst those aged 25+ years and more than half of users are social grade AB. The average LinkedIn user is more likely to be male, with 60% of its user base being male. This difference in gender makes LinkedIn one of the few social networks that has a significant gender difference (along with YouTube (males) and Pinterest (females)). Given LinkedIn’s remit as the workplace social network and recent scandals and revelations concerning the gender pay gap, LinkedIn may benefit from addressing its own gender imbalance.

Instagram and Snapchat share a similar user base, which is unsurprising given both platforms draw the younger generation. However we find significantly more 15-19s use Snapchat than 20-24s. Snapchat usage is higher amongst 15-19s (50%) than 20-24s (38%), whereas Facebook and Instagram see similar reach across these two age groups. For example, 52% of 15-19s and 56% of 20-14s have use Facebook in the last 3 months.


For Instagram, two thirds of users are aged 15-34, with more than 6 in 10 being ABC1. Half of all Snapchat users are aged 15-24, and mainly ABC1. One consistent trait for these two platforms is the similar gender splits (Instagram 46% male vs 54% female, Snapchat: 47% male vs. 54% female).

About the survey


Technological developments are increasingly rapid, presenting a host of opportunities and risks for businesses. Today’s consumers are more connected than ever before, and this makes online platforms and new devices ideal meeting points for brands and their audiences. Ipsos’ Tech Tracker is a quarterly, GB nationally representative survey which measures the emerging trends and developments in technology, allowing brands to identify valuable consumer focused opportunities.


Using a modular approach, the survey covers internet penetration and the expanding methods of access, smartphone ownership, social networking, latest generation games console ownership and the usage of both official and unofficial digital services for music, movies, TV, and games. Our latest release shows that consumers use the Internet for a wide range of activities, most commonly emails and information on personal interests.


This report includes a deep dive into the most popular social media services, internet usage and the connected home.

Technical details


Ipsos MORI interviewed a quota sample of 1,000 adults aged 15+ in GB. The latest interviews were carried out face-to-face 27th April – 6th May 2018. Data is weighted to a nationally representative profile.


A variety of other demographic breakdowns are available, including working status, household composition, ethnicity, income and newspaper readership.


The standard Ipsos MORI terms and conditions apply to this report, as with all studies the company undertakes. No press release or publication of the findings shall be made without the prior approval of Ipsos MORI. Approval will only be withheld on the grounds of inaccuracy or misinterpretation of results. Ipsos MORI reserves the right to amend the Internet Usage Statistics at any time.


For more information

Hannah Whyte-Smith


020 8080 6135

Reece Carpenter


020 861 8136

Eda Koray


020 8861 8775

Hannah Roe


020 8861 8045