How Women Use Social Media Differently

By: Christine Persaud

June 1, 2014

Picture the Internet graphicWhen it comes to technology, clear gender differences exist in the way we shop, what we buy, and how we use products. The same rings true with social media: there’s a marked difference in how women use the popular services versus men. At the top of the list of these differences is that women are far more likely to use social media in general than men.

According to September 2013 figures from the Pew Research Center, 78% of female adult (18+) Internet users access social networking sites, versus 69% of male adult Internet users. And the gap seems to be staying fairly consistent, compared to 74% of women and 62% of men in May of last year.

Other recent research by Pew (cited here by Adweek)  finds that of online U.S. adults, women are more frequent users than men almost across the board, at 76% for Facebook versus 66% of men, 20% for Instagram compared to 17% for men, and a whopping 33% for Pinterest: only 8% of U.S. male adult Internet users visit that crafty site full of fun crafts, recipes, and party ideas.  The numbers are split fairly evenly for Twitter at 18% women and 17% men.

Women’s Media Center cites even more polarizing figures, reporting that every month, there are 40 million more women visiting Twitter than there are men; and that Facebook’s massive user base is, perhaps surprisingly, 58% women. That figure rises to 70% for Pinterest. It appears the only social media sites where men outnumber women are LinkedIn (24% men vs. 19% women), and Google+, which has, according to the Women’s Media Center, a 64% male user base.

While women tend to be visual online, evidenced by their affinity toward sites like Pinterest and Instagram, and their likelihood to share more content on sites like Facebook, women are interestingly less likely than men to view YouTube videos. Perhaps one of the most surprising pieces of data about women and social media, however, is that ladies are more receptive to using mobile devices to access social media, with, according to a study from Pew in 2012, 41% of women reported using a smartphone to access social media compared to 39% of men.

What does it all mean?

All in all, while both sexes are immersed in the growing social media trend, women seem to be far more engaged across more sectors, and use more devices. Admittedly, the difference in figures, in many cases, is nominal. Still, the data is telling as to the influence women can, and do have, online. And it’s not just about fun and games: according to Women’s Media Center, Pinterest drives more referral traffic than YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ combined. Coincidentally, those the three sites more frequented by men. Surprised?

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