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Social media - Statistics & Facts

As the world’s digital population grows, so does the reach and usage of social media. Social networks, with which users can access all kinds of information, are a part of everyday life and continue to transform the way we interact with one another on a global scale. In their early years, social media sites were primarily considered to be online communities for younger populations, however, people of all ages now routinely use such platforms, for matters of business, socializing, dating, politics, and daily communication.

What do people do on social media?

In 2021, almost half of all social media users said that they use it for staying connected with family and friends. Other popular reasons for using social networks included filling spare time, looking for inspiration, and reading news stories. In fact, social media is a popular news source in many countries - over 70 percent of adults in Kenya, South Africa, Malaysia, and the Philippines said that they used social media to access news. As of March 2021, people aged 40 to 44 years spent the most time on social media applications of all user demographics, amounting to almost 60 minutes per day. People aged 19 years and younger spent on average 49.12 minutes on social media apps daily.

Is Facebook still the most popular social media platform?

Just before the end of 2021, Facebook Ltd rebranded as Meta Platforms Inc, pivoting towards a new business direction known as the metaverse. Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp make up what Meta calls its Family of Apps. Overall, the company brought in over 117 billion US dollars in revenue in 2021. Facebook has long been the most successful of all social networks, in terms of user numbers, audience reach, and brand awareness. As of the first quarter of 2022, Facebook had almost three billion monthly active users and has only ever experienced an upwards trajectory in global users for well over a decade.

What do users want from Instagram?

Meta’s image-based Instagram is often associated with the creation of aesthetically pleasing images, influencers, and a view into the lifestyles of celebrities. However, users of the platform now expect more varied content. At the beginning of 2022, over 50 percent of Instagram users said that they enjoyed seeing funny posts on Instagram, whilst 48 percent said that creative content was their preferred type of content. In December 2021, Instagram reached approximately two billion monthly active users, and whilst audience growth has in no doubt expanded for the platform, it is still no match for its predecessor Facebook.

Who is using TikTok?

TikTok, launched in 2017, has established itself as a major player in mainstream social media. In 2021, it led the way in terms of social media app downloads, exceeding that of social media giants Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Snapchat. With a focus on recording dances and lip-syncing videos, TikTok appeals to younger users. It is most popular with women aged 18 to 24 years, who make up almost a quarter of all users. Male users of the same age group are the app’s second-largest demographic. Furthermore, Generation Z now spends more time on TikTok than on Instagram. In 2021, 63 percent of Gen Z users in the United States used TikTok weekly, whilst only 57 percent used Instagram every week, quite the turnaround from 2020.

Social media as a marketing tool

The United States was the leading worldwide market for social media advertising expenditure, with a total of 56.68 billion US dollars by the end of 2021, followed by China and the UK, with 45.1 billion and 8.2 billion US dollars, respectively. In 2021, Facebook was the platform most used amongst worldwide marketers, with 93 percent of marketers reporting using Facebook. Instagram and LinkedIn followed, whilst one in ten marketers used TikTok for advertising. As of January 2021, 88 percent of industry professionals said that increased exposure was the leading benefit of using social media as a marketing tool, whilst 79 percent stated that increased traffic was the biggest advantage.


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