Our compilation of the latest social media statistics of consumer adoption and usage of social networking platforms
Social networks have transformed marketing and, as this post shows, their popularity is still growing in our latest global social media statistics research summary for 2022.
Networks vary in popularity with different demographics and they're still evolving. Research by Global WebIndex that we reference in this article shows that globally,
58.4% of the world's population uses social media. The average daily usage is 2 hours and 27 minutes (January 2022).
We'll keep this post updated during 2022 as the latest statistics are published drawing on our recommended top 10 digital marketing statistics sources. We'll be pointing to new data on the popularity of social media from Global Web Index (worldwide), Pew Internet Surveys (US) and OfCom (UK), and most recently the Datareportal January 2022 global overview.
This post will apply the latest reports to our answers in 7 key areas crucial to understanding consumer use of social networks:
- Q1. What is the overall popularity of social media compared to internet use globally?
- Q2. Which are the most popular social networks by demographics (age and gender)?
- Q3. Which are the fastest-growing social networks?
- Q4. How do social users interact with brands when selecting products and services?
- Q5. What are the different engagement metrics based on consumer behavior when using social media?
- Q6. How do consumers interact with different post formats in social media?
- Q7. What are the most popular times for consumers to use social media suggesting the best times to post?
Q1. What is the overall popularity of social media compared to internet use globally?
Datareportal regularly updates its massive global compendium of social media statistics, which gives some great insights into the world of social media. It's a great download for including slides for your presentations. It's particularly interesting how far some countries are diverging in terms of social media use, and surprising that Western Countries are lagging a fair way behind in adoption rates.
How many people use social media?
As per the Datareportal January 2022 global overview we can see that social media growth has continued to increase:
- More than half of the world now uses social media (58.4%)
- 4.62 billion people around the world now use social media, 424 million new users have come online within the last 12 months
- The average daily time spent using social media is 2h 27m.
The full report from Datareportal contains a huge amount of insight collated from different data providers across 200+ slides. It provides country-specific data for the vast majority of the world, so you might want to check out the slides of the countries in your core markets to get a better idea of the current state of social in the areas you operate. In this post, we focus on the social media data which starts at slide 78 in the report.
This chart, by Datareportal, summarises the importance and growth of social media today.
Post-pandemic marketing update
In addition to business as usual, a special report by Datareportal in July 2020, examines changes in social media usage during the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown period. Notably a monumental increase in online and digital activities.
The increase came after a couple of years where growth had seemed to slow down, this behavior was attributed to changes in user behavior due to the lockdown. However, with growth continuing in 2022, there may be more at play than just the initial lockdown trends.
Q2. Which are the most popular social networks by demographics (age and gender)?
The best source for getting stats on the biggest social media platforms is direct from company statements and earning announcements.
Notably, of the top 4 social media platforms, 3 are owned by Meta. Facebook is the most-used platform in total - but as marketers, we know it's crucial to consider different trends of usage for different demographics, as we'll see below.
The rapid growth TikTok underwent in 2021 (resulting in a 142% increase YOY) saw it ranked the fifth most-used platform in January 2022.
With Elon Musk's proposed acquisition of Twitter we can expect changes to the platform including how Twitter regulates/empowers freedom of speech values for consumers and businesses.
What does this mean for your social media marketing strategy? We've got templates and tools to support you and your marketing team to reach and convert more customers on social media. Apply a data-driven approach to create a winning marketing strategy.
Global Facebook demographics
Since it is still the top dog, I'll share the Facebook demographics from Sprout Social Media's 2022 report. But you can get this breakdown for each channel and more in the report.
As we can see, from the Facebook data, the biggest demographic on Facebook is males aged 25-34. For females also this age range represents the largest user pool.
United States Social network popularity
The Pew Research Center news usage research is a very strong recent source showing US social media statistics trends in usage for news. Interestingly the number who 'often' get news from social media is down in 2021, but still, nearly half of those surveyed use social media to get news often or sometimes.
More interestingly, the stats breakdown below shows which social media channels are used by which genders, ages, education level, race, and political affiliations. For example, Facebook is a regular source of news to nearly double the amount of women to men. Nearly two thirds of Snapchat's regular news consumers are aged 18-29.
The 2021 Children and parents: media use and attitudes report published by OfCom (UK) is interesting if your business is involved in marketing to children or youth markets or you want to understand future adult use of social media. Notably, 44% of 8-11 year olds use social media apps/sites, swiftly increasing to 87% of 12-15 year olds.
Here's a snapshot of two of the four age groups featured.
Q3. Which are the fast-growing social networks?
Every marketer has limited time for social media marketing, so which fastest growing social network should you focus your efforts on?
The fastest growing social media network in 2021 was TikTok, with 18.3% YOY growth, over 87.1% growth in 2020, as measured by US Social Network User Growth.
With the 'Rise of Social media' interactive tool from 'Our World in Data' you can see the growth of the main networks between 2004 (when Myspace became the first platform to gain 1 million users) up to the end of 2019.
A summary of global social media growth
The number of social media users globally grew from 4.2 billion in January 2021 to 4.62 billion in January 2022. This accounts for a 10.1% growth YOY of global social media usage.
Now in double-digits, social growth in 2021-22 is notably higher than the pre-pandemic slump we saw in 2018 -2020, with new platforms and innovations contributing to the upward trend.
Continued social media growth gives digital marketers even more opportunities to connect with new audiences in new ways.
Social media vs internet users: opportunities for growth
This chart shows the total number of Internet users as of January 2022. Whilst 62.5% of the world's population are internet users, 4.1% of those are still not active social media users.
Social media platforms today are evolving and developing to meet an ever wider variety of consumer wants and needs. Surely the value that social media usage can add to consumers' lives is more evident than ever before. This suggests opportunities for future growth of social media usage and marketing.
2022 analysis of regional use of social media shows the wide variation of inactive social media penetration:
- 69% in Eastern Asia
- 82% in North America
- 79% in Southern America
- 85 and 84% in Northern and Western Europe respectively.
- This falls to 45% in Southern Asia, 16% in Western Africa and 8% in Middle Africa. However, some of these countries may see more social media usage in 2022, which would increase the global total.
Q4. How do social users interact with brands when selecting products and services?
One of the challenges of social media marketing is that by its nature, social media are peer-to-peer, involving conversations between friends, families and colleagues. Given this, brands must be sensitive to how they use social media.
The research from GlobalWebIndex in their social media trends 2021 report shows how/why visitors use different social media services. Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, Reddit and Twitter users all report 'follow/find information about products/brands' in their top 3 motivations.
Platform-specific social media marketing planning
Our new Social Media Learning Path module (released May 2022) is dedicated to helping marketers optimize their organic Instagram marketing with a strategic approach, integrated across the marketing funnel.
Our module bite-sized contains tools and templates designed to help you address the systematic issue of businesses using Instagram to create standalone posts rather than planning a strategy.
This example plan, taken from the module, demonstrates how a joined-up approach can strengthen each stage of the funnel, across the RACE Framework of reach, act, convert, and engage.
Optimize your organic Instagram marketing
Part of the Social media marketing Toolkit
Discover the latest tips and tactics to reach, engage and convert your customers through organic Instagram marketingLearn More
Q5. What are the benchmarks for different platforms engagement rates?
Social media statistics benchmarking tool Rival IQ produces these useful sector-by-sector benchmarks of social media engagement metrics including:
- Posts per day
- Posts per week
- Engagement rate
- Top hashtags by engagement rate
These include useful sector benchmarks for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter you can compare against. Here is a sample of the insights from their 2022 report.
Facebook engagement rates
The 2021 median average engagement rate per post (by follower) on Facebook is 0.064%, across all industries. Sports Teams see the highest engagement, achieving an average of 0.27%, followed by Influencers with 0.23% and Higher Education with 0.15%.
At the lower end of the spectrum, Health & Beauty, and Tech & Software receive an average 0.02% engagement rate.
Instagram engagement rates
Engagement rates are significantly higher on Instagram compared to Facebook. As you can see the 2021 average median engagement rate per post (by follower) is more than 10x higher, despite engagement on Instagram dropping approx 30% between 2020-21.
What does this mean for your social media marketing strategy? Savvy Smart Insights members are utilizing our marketing training to master digital channels, whilst integrating their planning and marketing strategy. We've got marketing solutions to support you with your paid, owned and earned media and more. Get started today.
Q6. How do consumers interact with different post formats in social media?
Marketers know intuitively that the right type of visuals and videos are more effective in gaining engagement.
This is supported by observed interaction rates. According to LinkedIn, Images typically result in a 2x higher comment rate and Video gets 5x more engagement on LinkedIn, Live Video gets 24x more.
This is also supported by this data from this Social Bakers social media trends report:
Videos longer than a minute achieved the highest median interactions and median reach on Facebook, according to Socialbakers data.
In fact, for both reach and interactions, there was a correlation that showed the longer a video was, the further it reached and the more interactions it received.
Socialbakers’ metrics for video length are very short (less than 11.882 seconds), short (more than 11.882 and less than 24.362 seconds), medium (more than 24.362 and less than 61.248 seconds), long (more than 61.248 seconds and less than five minutes), and very long (more than five minutes).
Q7. What are the most popular times for consumers to use social media suggesting the best times to post?
Testing different frequency of updates and timing is another aspect of social media optimization based on consumer behaviour.
Each network tends to have a ‘sweet spot’ for frequency based on their algorithms. It used to be beneficial to post several times a day on Facebook for many brands, but with decrease organic reach, a single update tends to be more effective. We find a higher frequency on LinkedIn or Twitter tends to be more effective.
Sprout Social's 2022 social media strategy builder compares the best times to post on social media. Compare these to your patterns of posting and consider how you could post differently.
Each network tends to have a ‘sweet spot’ for frequency based on their algorithm and the most common times for consumer usage. It used to be beneficial to post several times a day on Facebook for many brands, but with decreased organic reach, a single update tends to be more effective.
We find a higher frequency on LinkedIn or Twitter tends to be more effective. The results from Instagram and Facebook show a clear preference for around midweek at midday, so you should consider this when scheduling your post updates.