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"Welcome to Exploring Social 3.0: The Social Survey. This is our attempt to break out of the marketing echo chamber, and achieve a greater understanding of the very group we need to be closest to - real people. We asked 1064 UK residents to answer a survey on their social media habits, dissecting the data into three areas of insight - the platforms, the people, and our view on the findings. Enjoy!"

Callum McCahon

Strategy Director, Born Social


Everyone uses Facebook

Almost everyone uses Facebook - 92% of people in the UK have an account.

  • Facebook’s penetration is far beyond any other social platform right now - 92% of people in the UK have an account.
  • Older generations are the last remaining ‘public’ sharers on Facebook.
  • Users are 92% more likely to turn on the sound when they get directly shared a video as opposed to seeing it in the feed.

The struggle is real for Twitter

Only 12% of users are active tweeters.

  • Twitter’s problem lies in the activity of their users - only 12% of users are active tweeters.
  • News is the key reason that active Twitter users enjoy the platform - 35% said this was their primary reason for using Twitter.
  • Twitter does still dominate for customer service - no other social platform has plugged this gap.

Instagram owns sharing

People love sharing to Instagram - 28% of users are active sharers.

  • Instagram sees the highest volume of active sharing in the UK.
  • Users seem to be satisfied with the algorithm, despite the initial uproar after the change.
  • There’s widespread confusion about what sponsored hashtags mean (#ad and #sp), and users indicated they would trust influencers less if they knew they were being paid for a post.

Screenagers are the Snapchat generation

Screenagers are the Snapchat generation - 57.1% of them are active sharers.

  • Screenagers love Snapchat - this is the strongest relationship between any platform and generation that we uncovered.
  • Snapchat Discover gets used on a daily basis by 19% of Screenagers.
  • The release of Instagram stories hasn’t had a significant impact on the use of Snapchat stories.

Pinterest is not 'always on'

Hardly anyone uses Pinterest on an ongoing ‘active’ basis.

  • Pinterest is niche - the penetration is very low compared to the other four platforms.
  • 50% of users are irregular. People don’t use Pinterest actively on an ongoing basis - they use it around key life events.
  • Interior Design was the key reason that most (37.6%) of our respondents use Pinterest.



Snapchat is undisputably their default social platform - but it simply isn’t true that they’ve abandoned Facebook.

  • Snapchat is their platform of choice. 91% of them have an account on Snapchat, and 57.1% of these are active sharers.
  • It’s not true that they’ve abandoned Facebook - but they don’t share actively. They just use it for the tools, like Messenger, groups and events.
  • Twitter and Pinterest are really struggling to reach widespread adoption with this group.



Instagram is their platform of choice, but Facebook retains a strong grip on this generation.

  • Instagram is their platform of choice - and the only platform where we see significant active sharing.
  • Facebook has a strong grip on this age group - although they don’t share actively, most are still logging in frequently.
  • They’re not seeing value in Twitter - 50% of Twitter users are irregular users.



Facebook dominates for this age group, whilst Instagram is picking up traction.

  • Facebook dominates. We see widespread adoption and activity compared to the other four social platforms.
  • Twitter doesn’t provide enough value for this generation - over half of those who signed up to Twitter are irregular users.
  • This is a growth demographic for Instagram. 50% of this generation now have an account on Instagram, with 17% of these users being ‘active’.

Silver Sharers


Facebook is the only meaningful social platform for this generation.

  • Facebook is the only meaningful platform for this group - having almost double the penetration of any other social platform.
  • Those who use Facebook use it fairly actively - their default method of sharing will be to their profile.
  • All other platforms are practically irrelevant - there just isn’t enough penetration.

Social Media: The Ultimate Network Effect

The value people see in a social platform rises in accordance with the number of users it has from their generation.

Our data proves a long held assumption: the value people see in a social platform rises in accordance with the number of users it has from their generation. This is the single biggest lever of growth for a social platform.

A New Era of Sharing

The future of sharing is based around two concepts: curated, and ephemeral.

We believe that the future of sharing on social media is going to be based around two concepts:

  • Curated sharing: people will share more actively than ever, but to more carefully curated recipients
  • Ephemeral sharing: people will increasingly share content that doesn’t last forever.

Facebook's Identity Crisis

Users are expecting a social network, but they’re getting a media platform.

People seem to be expecting a social network from Facebook, but they’re receiving a media platform. This leads to resentment from users, because their expectations haven't yet caught up with reality.

The Influencer Bubble

The current influencer model is unsustainable - and the bubble is about to burst.

Influencer marketing is going to continue to grow and grow - but our findings suggest that we’re about to see a shake up in how the industry operates. As tighter regulations start to be enforced, the space will formalise itself. The current model is unsustainable - and the bubble is about to burst.


As we move into 2017, every platform will continue to converge, offering an almost identical suite of tools.

As we move into 2017, this trend of convergence will continue. Every platform will offer an almost identical suite of tools - live video, stories, messaging, a feed. The only remaining differentiator between platforms lies in the context of each - who are your connections, and what relationship do you have with them?

Thanks for reading this far - hopefully you’ve found the learnings as insightful as we did. There’s loads more detail in the full report, which you can download below. We’d also love it if you tweeted us at @bebornsocial or @callummccahon to discuss some of the findings. Thanks!

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