Over two thirds of adults in the United States now use social media sites to read the latest news, according to a new study published by Pew Research Centre. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are now the second-most popular outlet for all news for these users behind local TV.
Pew Research Centre last conducted a news study 18 months ago, when 62 per cent of US adults said that they used social media to keep abreast of the latest goings-on around the world. The latest poll of 4,791 adults found that this figure has now increased to 67 per cent, while 20 per cent revealed that they use social sites very regularly for news.
The uptick has largely been driven by older Americans embracing social for news articles, as 55 per cent of those aged 50 or older now do so regularly, which is 10 per cent higher compared to the previous study in early 2016. Nearly three quarters of non-whites now consume news across social, and this is also an increase of 10 per cent on last year.
The latest figures indicate the growing opportunity for brands to tap into the demand for high-quality online content by establishing a regular news service with unique articles that can attract users and hold their attention. Relevant news can also improve SEO campaigns and drive higher amounts of traffic and meaningful leads.
The good news is that the majority of leading social platforms are great outlets for news content. The study noted that Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat have recorded notable year-on-year increases in the number of news readers. In total, 74 per cent of Twitter users log on to get news, up 15 per cent compared to 2016. YouTube and Snapchat have seen significant jumps up to 32 per cent and 29 per cent respectively.
Facebook remains the most popular source for news with regard to social media. While Twitter has seen notable growth rates, its number of news users translates to just a tenth of US adults consuming articles on social. In contrast, 45 per cent of all adults source their news in some form on Facebook. Pew also found that over a quarter of people use two or more platforms to get news.