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Published on: Advertising

Social Media vs Traditional Media Statistics

Social media has changed forever the way people interact with each other and with companies too. Social media has created self-made celebrities.

For decades traditional media such as television, radio and magazine made a huge impact on us, transform our culture and become a tool for discovering new products and even learning.

However, since the rise of the internet, traditional media has suffered enormous changes and some formats such as magazines and newspapers have seen a substantial drop in sales. In this article, we are going to compare social media and traditional methods.

Social media channels such as YouTube, Instagram as opposed to television, print and magazines. After reading this article you should have a deeper understanding of what channels are more convenient for your brand marketing.

An average person spends 6 hours a day on the internet
Statistic – Fact

1. Social media statistics

  1. There are 3.2 billion social media users.
  2. 79 per cent of the population in the United States had a social networking profile.
  3. Digital users spend an average of 2.20 minutes daily on social media and social messaging apps.
  4. Digital consumers are now spending 6 ¾ hours per day online, with 3:18 hours of this time – 51% – spent online via mobiles (up from 1 hour 17 mins in 2014).
  5. 2:20 hours a day on social media, accounting for the biggest share of online media time (35%).
  6. With over 85% second-screening as they watch TV, simultaneous multi-media consumption is now the norm. Mobiles are the clear device of choice here.
People spend an average of 2 hours a day watching TV. Social media consumption reached 2.20 hours.
Statistic – Fact

2. Traditional media statistics

  1. Linear TV consumption is over 4 hours a day per person.
  2. Over 92 % of Americans older than 12 consume radio weekly in some form
  3. Radio audience reached over 235 million listeners.
  4. Over 7,800 digital billboards are currently active in the US.
  5. Online TV has exceeded an hour per day, but linear TV is holding steady at just under 2 hours (Agencia Big Data).
  6. News trust level: 61% of people trust newspapers ads whereas only 42% consider online credible.
  7. There were 119.6 million TV homes in the U.S. for the 2017–18 TV season (Nielsen’s National Television Household Universe Estimates). The number of persons age 2 and older in U.S. TV households is estimated to be 304.5 million.
  8. Nationally, over 56 million newspapers are sold daily.
  9. There were 7,218 magazines in the United States in 2018.

3. Traditional Media vs Social Media share of time

#Average social media consumption is 2.20 hours vs linear TV which is over 4 hours a day
Statistic – Fact

People spend an average of 6 hours and 45 minutes a day online, either by using their desktops computers or mobiles phones, which is more than 3 times of their TV media consumption.

The fact that we are required to work with computers and many of our day-to-day tasks can be done online, it has helped to create a more dependent usage of the internet.

Social media outperforms broadcast television with an average of 2 hours and 20 minutes a day. Social media usage has extended these days from mere social connection to networking (LinkedIn), and even customer service when we just message a company in regards to a product or order.

Social media seems to be putting down roots on the way we interact with companies and even how we consume media. It is hard to predict how deeply it will root in our society but it could make an enormous impact.

4. Media Consumption by Source

People spend an average of 2 hours a day watching TV. Social media consumption reached 2.20 hours.
Statistic – Fact

Television and the internet are leading the charts when it comes to media consumption channels, the internet and digital world accounts for about 73% of all the media consumption while television does not fall far with a 44% of share time.

How we consume news has changed dramatically since the rise of social media as it seems like we use the sociable networks to find out about news and the world around us.

On the other hand, it seems like a natural shift especially when most news media have their own social media profile where they feed constantly to keep it updated.

Users might find it more convenient to just check their social fed while being delivered news at the same time.

5. Is social media more engaging than traditional methods?

Is it more expensive to run ads on TV than in a social media network? The answer is yes, however it is more important to look at the return on your investment.

You might be expending a million on a tv commercial and getting back millions or your company might benefit from it for years. On the other hand, you might spend 4 thousand on a social media campaign and just make a couple of thousand back.

TV advertising is the most expensive channel of them all, but it is also at the top when it comes to effectiveness.

In the chart below, you can see how much it cost one thousand impressions on all major media channels.

Facebook ads are the cheapest option to buy a thousand impressions and on the other side of the list, we can find LinkedIn which is probably the most expensive PPC platform with an average of 25 dollars per 1000 impressions; it is more expensive than running a commercial on network television.

Facebook advertising and network television are the most affordable medium (social and traditional media respectively)
Statistic – Fact

6. How much does it cost? Social and digital media vs traditional media

A good idea of how relevant media comes from advertising prices. Usually, the most sought-after advertising spaces are the ones with more commercial valued which is an indicator of how active its viewers or audience is.

How big audiences are, how engaging and impactful a media is are the most relevant factors to price a media channel advertising.

If you take a look at the chart below, you will see that Facebook is the cheapest social media channel per 1000 impressions (Not familiar with 1000 impressions means – CPM – it refers at the cost of showing an ad to 1000 times to users, it does not mean how many times a user views the ad, just the number of digital prints).

Whereas network television offers the most competitive rates when it comes to traditional media. LinkedIn ads and national primetime commercial are the most expensive advertising slots.

7. Internet and digital medium are replacing traditional formats

While internet consumption takes much of our time, traditional media is struggling to keep their audience.

TV is the only media which is not experiencing a substantial drop however print media is struggling notably as consumers are turning to its digital version. Newspapers have dropped over 25 % and magazines consumption 19%.

Many advertisers and experts believe that the digital realm will ultimately dominate all media channel by an inevitable digitalization of all traditional media, for example, television is shifting to smart TVs and slowly turning into a more on-demand service.

Billboard in the United States are undergoing a fast digitalization process and newspaper and magazine printed consumption has gone down for the last two decades.

8. What is the advertiser’s response to all these changes?

While consumers are switching traditional media for the internet and digital media, advertising agencies and marketers are following closely.

In the chart below from PwC, we can see how companies and advertisers are using their marketing budgets.

Currently, digital media is making the most of their budgets. Digital media and the internet offer a much easier way to measure results.

In general TV and the internet are taking most of the media market sizes

9. How big is the internet advertising market?

Internet advertising is predicted to grow past 93 billion dollars in 2020, just followed closely by television advertising which in 2020 is expected to reach 81 billion dollars.

Other media such as newspapers, magazines and radio are far from those that are dominating the market.

As most media undergoing a digitalization process and on-demand services like Netflix and podcast become the norm. It is possible that digital advertising will become just one market.

Smart TVs are offering us a different kind of service, radio will become podcast and newspaper will be online news, blogs and websites.

10. Consumer´s trust: social media vs traditional media

Even though users are consuming more internet than any other media, not all media channels enjoy the same level of confidence among customers.

Traditional media actually has the highest trust scores from people, whereas digital is at the bottom. Actually, online banner ads have the lowest reputation of them all, with just 33% of people saying they trust those.

At the end of the list, there are newspapers which are trusted by 63% of people.

Trust score is very important when allocating marketing budgets as this could have a different effect on consumers and brand reputation.

For a new brand, traditional media could be more effective to gain brand recognition- While a consolidated company could benefit enormously from digital advertising.

11. The future of social and traditional media

Most experts believe that in the long turn traditional media will disappear as we conceived it 20 years ago, and it will be embedded as a part of digital media.

Most broadcast television for the exception of live shows and entertainment will become into on-demand streaming service.

On the other hand, the future of social media is not that clear. Social media can either become a big part of our lives or it could just die as a trend, or just simply continue as it is.

Social media is still relatively young as opposed to traditional media and I am very confident that we will see many changes to it.

Users will demand more realistic and genuine services along with professional or company accounts such as BBC or other news providers.

It seems like users usually change from one network to another as soon as it becomes spammy and most of its content is irrelevant.

That is the reason why Instagram consumption is growing faster than Facebook which seems to be taking a second position.

Social Media in a Nutshell

Traditional media in a nutshell

We are Top Media, an advertising agency in London focused on creative and effective advertising.


Leave a comment

  1. Very interesting thank you

  2. Valuable information and sources/citations but please explain why the data on consumer trust is form 2013 and not more recent, as is the other data?