Despite all the privacy and data controversies surrounding Facebook in the past year it is still the most widely used social media site in Australia, according to new Roy Morgan research.

At the beginning of 2019, Facebook had more than 17.1 million users visiting the site in a four week average, an increase of 4.2 million visits compared to four years ago.

The results from 50,000 in-depth Roy Morgan single source interviews over the past 12 months, showed Instagram and Pinterest had grown the most during this period.

Instagram grew 238.1 per cent adding 5.6 million users, while Pinterest grew 174.3 per cent growth with 4.6 million users.

Following Facebook as most used was YouTube with 15.3 million visitors in an average of four weeks, up by 29.7 per cent.

Michele Levine, CEO at Roy Morgan explained Facebook and YouTube are clearly the top social network and online communities used by Australians but alternatives such as Instagram and Pinterest have been growing more quickly in recent years.

She said, “Since 2017 usage of Facebook has grown by a more modest 540,000 as the network appears close to maximising its Australian audience.

“The fastest growth over the last two years, and indeed the last four years, is to be found in the third and fourth ranked social networks.

“Largely image based sharing sites Instagram and Pinterest have experienced the strongest growth in users over the last two years with both outpacing the growth of their larger rivals.”

While Facebook might be the most visited social media site, Gen Z – born between 1991 and 2005 – prefer YouTube with 89 per cent using the site compared to 82 per cent of using Facebook.

The research found Facebook has a user base that is strong across all five generations with a majority of Australians in every generation using Facebook.

Australians aged between 43-58 years old in Generation X are the most likely to use Facebook with over 87 per cent of Generation X using Facebook in an average four weeks.

Interestingly, Pinterest which is fourth ranked in the online community has a similar distribution of users as market leader Facebook.

Pinterest is used by 40 per cent of Australians in Generation X, and almost the same proportion of both Generation Y (38 per cent) and Baby Boomers (38 per cent). A third of Generation Z (33 per cent) use Pinterest and just under a quarter of Pre-Boomers (24 per cent).

Levine said Instagram and Pinterest are the top social networks in Australia for attracting new users, the two are also attracting different audiences.

“Instagram appeals strongly to a younger audience with 68 per cent of Generation Z and 52 per cent of Generation Y using Instagram in an average four weeks. The two youngest generations are over 70 per cent of Instagram’s total users.

“In contrast only 33 per cent of Generation Z use Pinterest and the highest penetration of Pinterest users is found with Generation X of whom 40 per cent use Pinterest. The majority of Pinterest’s users (53 per cent) are in the three older generations of Pre-Boomers, Baby Boomers or Generation X.”

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