5 min read

United States' Digital Landscape in 2024

Published on
March 5, 2024

In an era dominated by digital integration, it's crucial for businesses to understand the evolving digital landscape to effectively navigate and leverage online consumer engagement and market trends. The insights from Meltwater's comprehensive Digital 2024 report for the United States offer a deep dive into the key trends and statistics shaping the digital environment, guiding businesses in refining their marketing strategies to align with the digital behaviours of consumers.

Key Takeaways:

  • The United States boasts 239 million active social media users, accounting for 70.1% of the population, highlighting the critical role of social platforms in digital communication.
  • Average daily internet usage has increased to over 7 hours, with social media consumption rising to 2 hours and 18 minutes daily. This shift emphasises the growing preference for digital mediums over traditional television viewing, which has seen a decrease.
  • The US digital advertising spend has surged to $284.1 billion, representing 72% of the total advertising spend, with significant investments in online search ads, digital video ads, and social media marketing.
  • TikTok dominates social media engagement, with users spending approximately 45 hours monthly on the platform, outpacing other major networks in terms of time spent and user engagement.

Connectivity and Demographics

Digital connectivity in the United States has reached unprecedented levels, with 396 million mobile devices surpassing the total population of 340.9 million. This prevalence of digital devices, and even owning multiple phones, highlights a society deeply integrated with digital access, where information, communication, and entertainment are constantly at one's fingertips. The demographic landscape reveals a balanced split between females (50.5%) and males (49.5%), indicating that digital engagement transcends gender, reflecting a broad spectrum of consumers engaged in varied digital activities. For businesses, grasping these demographic insights is pivotal to devising strategies that resonate with the diverse, digitally connected American audience.

Navigating Digital Trends

The digital trends defining the American landscape in 2024 showcase the dynamic evolution of technology and digital media, and their significant impact on daily life. Starting with 97.6% of the population owning smartphones and significant percentages also owning laptops or desktop computers (68.3%), TV streaming devices (40.9%), smartwatches (37.2%, a growth of 12.4%), and tablets (48.4%, an increase of 3.6%), it's clear that the digital experience is multifaceted and integrated across various devices.

The allocation of daily time spent with media reflects these trends, with internet usage climbing to 7 hours and 3 minutes, marking a 4-minute increase. Social media consumption has also risen to 2 hours and 18 minutes daily. Conversely, traditional media consumption like watching TV (broadcast or streaming) has declined by 1.1% to 4 hours and 39 minutes, and time spent on reading press media has decreased by 27% to 1 hour and 19 minutes. This shift signifies a broader transition towards digital and interactive forms of media, with gaming, radio, podcasts, and streaming music also experiencing downtrends.

The three primary uses of the internet are ranked as: finding information, researching how to do things, and staying in touch with friends and family.

Interestingly, the share of web traffic has seen a significant shift, with laptops and desktops experiencing a 17.4% increase to 55.99% of total web pages served, indicating a renewed preference for larger screens over mobile devices, which have seen a 16% decline to 41.39%.

The top three website and app types visited by users aged 16-64 are social networks, search engines, and chat and messaging apps, underlining the central role of digital platforms in both social and informational exchanges. Browser usage trends reveal Chrome leading with 49.7% of website traffic share, followed by Safari at 31.2%, with Edge and Firefox also playing significant roles. In search engine referrals, Google dominates at 87.6%, with Bing and Yahoo trailing behind.

Social Media

Social media stands as the vibrant epicentre of the digital world, where connections flourish, entertainment captivates, and information flourishes. The average person now navigates through 6.7 social media platforms, reflecting the diverse nature of online engagement.

With 70.1% of the U.S. population actively engaging on social media - a figure that rises to 77.4% when focusing on user identities versus those aged 18 and older - it's clear that these platforms have become integral to the fabric of modern life.

The motivations driving social media usage are as varied as the users themselves, with the primary reasons being to keep in touch with friends and family, fill spare time, and discover new content. This diversity underscores the platforms' roles not just as communication tools but as sources of entertainment and information.

In the battle of platform popularity, Facebook reigns supreme in the United States, followed closely by Instagram, Facebook Messenger, TikTok, and iMessage, leaving platforms like X/Twitter and Pinterest behind in the competitive landscape.

When it comes to favourites, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok capture the top spots, indicating a marked preference for these networks. Notably, WhatsApp ranks lower in the US than in Europe, highlighting regional differences in platform preference. The time spent on these platforms reinforces their significance in users' lives, with TikTok leading the charge at an impressive 45 hours and 37 minutes per month, followed by YouTube (26 hours and 20 minutes), Facebook (17 hours and 19 minutes), and Instagram. (11 hours and 18 minutes).

The landscape of social media is also evolving as a crucial space for brand discovery. A significant 36.6% of internet users aged 16-64 turn to social networks to find information about brands and products, marking a 7.3% increase from the previous year. This shift illustrates the growing influence of social media in shaping consumer preferences and purchasing decisions. However, interest in vlogging has seen a decline, with its popularity dropping to 7.7%.

The types of accounts that garner the most followers reflect a preference for personal connections and entertainment. Users predominantly follow friends, family, and people they know, along with actors, comedians, and entertainers, showcasing the blend of personal touch and humour that resonates most within the social media landscape.

Platform Audience Reach

The digital age, has caused a seismic shift in advertising spend, and much of this is fuelled by the reach and precision targeting offered by social media, making ads more vital than ever.

The industry has witnessed a substantial increase in ad spend, driven by the unparalleled ability to connect with audiences at scale, the rich insights into consumer behaviour, and the agility to adapt campaigns in real-time. As a testament to this evolution, the digital ad spend now stands at $284.1 billion, representing 72% of the total ad spend in the US. This surge underscores the growing recognition of digital channels as essential tools for brand visibility and engagement.

Platforms specifically, let’s review their ads audience reach and gender splits.

Platform Advertising Audience Comparison
Platform Total Potential Reach of Ads in Million Female Ad Reach % Male Ad Reach %
YouTube 239.0 51.2 48.8
LinkedIn 220.0 50.0 50.0
Facebook 190.9 53.7 46.3
Instagram 169.7 55.5 44.5
TikTok 148.0 54.4 45.6
Snapchat 106.2 54.8 44.8
X/Twitter 105.4 36.9 63.1
Pinterest 89.05 71.5 18.2

YouTube boasts the ability to reach the highest percentage of the US population, 70.1%, and this climbs even higher to 77.4% of those aged 18+, with nearly equal engagement across genders.

Facebook Ads follow closely in second, with the opportunity to reach 74.6% females and 66.8% males aged 18 an older.

Instagram and TikTok Ads have seen incredible year-on-year growth, with 26 million new Instagram accounts to be reached by ads and 35 million on TikTok. Interestingly, there are clear gender preferences, with both platforms appealing to a female audience more than a male.

This trend is also evident with Pinterest that counts a 71.5% female audience, and the opposite of X/Twitter that counts a 63.1% male audience.

The reason for all this ad spending is simple. Digital marketing channels remain the top sources of brand discovery, with word of mouth, TV ads, search engines, retail websites, and social media ads leading the way.

The notable increase in digital ad spend is distributed across online search ads, digital video ads, and influencer ads, all witnessing double-digit growth. Specifically, social media ads account for $72.33 billion of this spend, reflecting the significant role of these platforms in modern advertising strategies.

Understanding the consumer's digital journey is pivotal to today's advertising strategy. A notable 53.6% of consumers research brands online before making a purchase, marking a 2.5% increase. This trend underscores the internet's critical role in the decision-making process. Additionally, 59.6% have visited a brand's website in the past 30 days, highlighting the importance of a robust online presence for brands.

In the realm of social media's influence, 13.7% of consumers have engaged with a sponsored post in the last month, signalling the efficacy of social media ads in capturing attention and directing web traffic. Facebook, leading with 47.7% of web traffic referrals, exemplifies the platform's power in guiding potential customers to brand websites. This connection between social media advertising and consumer web behaviour emphasises the strategic value of leveraging social media for targeted advertising and web traffic generation.


Navigating the digital landscape of 2024 underscores the necessity of digital integration for businesses seeking to thrive. With an ever-increasing digital ad spend now at $284.1 billion and social media platforms playing a pivotal role in brand discovery and consumer engagement, the need for precision in digital marketing has never been more critical.

In this era of digital supremacy, understanding the nuanced dynamics of platform audience reach, consumer online behaviour, and the effectiveness of social media advertising is paramount. Whether it's leveraging Facebook's vast referral traffic or tapping into TikTok's impressive engagement rates, each platform offers unique opportunities for targeted marketing strategies that resonate with diverse audiences.

At B3 Marketing, we're committed to digging deeper into these trends and insights to empower businesses craft their next successful strategy or campaign. Our expertise lies in interpreting this complex digital data and transforming it into actionable strategies that drive results. Let us help you navigate this ever-evolving digital landscape, ensuring your business not only stays relevant but thrives by connecting with your target audience in meaningful and impactful ways.

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