Which social media platform is most effective for advertising, asks CivicScience

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Source: iStock
Source: iStock

Related tags Social media

Social media often is a dominant – and sometimes the only – component of most food and beverage companies' marketing strategies, but as platforms continue to proliferate, advertisers must understand to whom each application appeals to maximize their investment. 

“With nearly 80% of US adults now using Facebook, its ability to reach large numbers of consumers across demographic, socio-economic and geographical lines makes it a must have advertising vehicle,”​ but a “second wave of large and gaining social media platforms”​ also can help companies reach more specialized users, which could yield higher returns on investment, according to a new report from the consumer insight firm CivicScience​. 

By polling more than 423,000 US social media users who actively use various social media platforms daily to weekly and cross analyzing their answers with their responses to previously asked about factors using its InsightStore technology, CivicScience found the differences among Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr and Twitter users go “far beyond basic demographics and into the realm of psychographic characteristics that define the way people live, shop, watch and even vote.”

Pinterest users promote healthy food

Specifically, the research suggests Pinterest users may be the most receptive to food and beverage marketing, especially if it is for healthy or better-for-you options. This is supported by the finding that Pinterest users are 17% more likely than the general population to read nutritional information and slightly more likely to take vitamins and supplements regularly.

Likewise, Pinterest users are most likely to buy locally grown food compared to others and use reusable shopping bags, the report notes.

Pinterest users skew heavily towards women (79%) and are more likely to be 35-54 years old (34%). They also are least likely to play fantasy sports or be sports fans in general than users of other platforms, which suggests this is not the place to invest the efforts of athletic brand ambassadors.

That said, coupons likely will appeal to Pinterest users, as they are most likely to redeem them. Likewise, working with influencers in this space is another optimal strategy given that this group often evangelizes their favorite products.


Snapchat users are the most likely to eat unhealthy food, but they also are avid exercisers, which suggests they could be good targets for snack foods and indulgent items, or products sold through their gym.

The group also is worth marketers’ time because they are the “biggest Market Mavens and most heavily influenced by social media, on which 79% spend more than an hour a day,”​ according to the report.

It explains that Market Mavens are consumers who are most likely to adopt new products and brands and evangelize about their findings. Snapchat users over indexed for this trait by 42 points compared to the general population, the report notes. They also are more likely to say social media influences their food purchases.


Tumblr users may be the most difficult to reach unless value is a major proposition. They are the most likely to compare price and are the least brand loyal of the groups.

They also are young with 52% under the age of 25, and the most tech-savvy of the groups, according to the report.


Like Pinterest, Instagram users are more likely to be women (63%), but unlike Pinterest, Instagram users are big into sports and regularly attend events – making them a good target for sports and fitness-related advertising efforts.


As the second largest platform after Facebook, it might not be surprising to find that Twitter users closely resemble the general population’s gender split. They also are spread across generations with the highest concentrations under the age of 25 (36%) and between 35-54 years old (32%).

This group also values sharing about new products, according to the report, which could make them valuable for spreading the word about new launches.

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