Facebook Wins Popularity Contest but Snapchat Rocks Engagement, Survey Says

By: Samantha Wood

December 18, 2017

A recent survey of 5,000 social media users poses a riddle to brands: Would you rather reach the most eyeballs or the most engaged audience?

Facebook remains the Goliath, with 91 percent of internet users saying they have an account on the site, according to RBC Capital Markets’ recent survey. Not only does Facebook win the popularity contest, they come in second, too—47 percent of internet users have an Instagram account as well. Meanwhile, just 42 percent are tweeting and only 31 percent are snapping.

But the difference in user behavior becomes apparent when you scratch the data’s surface.

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Although Facebook is the most widely used, with 69 percent of respondents opening the app daily, only 25 percent said they have posted a photo or video in the last 12 months. On the other hand, 36 percent of Snapchat users said they post a photo or video on a daily basis.

When respondents were asked which social media platform (Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr or Other) they would choose if they were stuck on a desert island, the vast majority said they would choose Facebook (67 percent).

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 3.58.59 PMBut if you break down that same question by age, the youngest respondents (13-18 year-olds) would choose Snapchat over Facebook by a wide margin, 44 percent vs. 14 percent. Instagram, though, sees its best penetration with this age group compared to any other, with 24 percent of teens calling it their desert island choice.

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 3.54.34 PMSnapchat clearly has a more engaged user base, but it remains one of the most difficult nuts for brands to crack. While Snapchat’s Discover section offers brands an opportunity, the vast majority (69 percent) of respondents said that chat and photo messaging were the most important aspects of the platform—Discover was only important to 4 percent of respondents.


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