Social Media Overview 2022 (1/2)

social media

Our new Digital 2022 Global Overview Report demonstrates that the majority of the connected globe is growing faster than it was before the epidemic. The number of people who utilize social media. Time spent on those platforms. Spending on social media ads. They’re all growing. Continue reading for more delicious details.

Social media users grew 10% in last year

Meanwhile, over the last decade, social media users have grown at a higher rate than internet users.

The current number of 4.62 billion social media users is 3.1x larger than the 1.48 billion figure in 2012. This implies that social media users have risen at a compound annual growth rate of 13% over the last decade.

chart showing social media users over time

Social media user growth has also persisted at a double-digit rate of 10.1 percent over the last year. However, I must admit that the growth rate between 2021 and 2022 has maintained above pre-pandemic levels.

For reference, according to the most recent data, 424 million people began their social media adventure in the previous year. These equal to an average of more than 1 million new users every day.

chart showing an overview of social media use

However, anyone who was on the fence about joining social media when the epidemic struck would have been most likely to join during the early days of lockdown in 2020. Thus I’m skeptical to ascribe any major share of growth in the last year to some type of “COVID effect.”

Furthermore, social media users now account for 58.4 percent of the global population. Surely, we can expect growth rates to slow over the next several years. This might be the last time we witness a double-digit yearly increase in social media users.

The good news is that social media users should reach the equivalent of 60% of the world population by 2022. Even if growth rates slow, social media’s total reach potential should be plenty to be excited about.

Social users have a new 2nd favorite

When it comes to the world’s “favorite” social media networks, GWI’s most recent data shows that Instagram has surpassed Facebook to grab the second position in the global rankings.

It’s still a tight call: 14.8 percent of worldwide internet users say Instagram is their favorite platform. Regardless, 14.5 percent say Facebook is.

However, another Meta network, WhatsApp, dominates the global rankings, with 15.7 percent of working-age internet users selecting the messaging app as their preferred social platform.

chart showing favorite social media platforms

Interestingly, WeChat receives enough votes to rank fourth globally. Despite the fact that 99 percent of the platform’s votes come from users in Mainland China.

China, on the other hand, is home to around 20% of the world’s total internet users. So it’s somewhat predictable that the country’s social media users have such a large influence on these worldwide rankings.

You might be astonished to learn that TikTok has just 4.3 percent of the overall vote.

That doesn’t match the media hype around TikTok, but it’s worth noting that the number of individuals picking TikTok as their favorite social network has climbed by 71% in the last 90 days, and TikTok’s total share of the vote has increased by 180 basis points in only three months.

Furthermore, according to App Annie, TikTok was the most-downloaded mobile app in 2021, and the platform continues to see tremendous growth in ad reach as well (more on that later).

chart showing App Annie's app download rankings

As a consequence, we predict TikTok to make even significant advances in these rankings in the next months, so be sure to check back in 2022 to see our quarterly Statshot reports to keep up with its growth.

Time spent on social continues to rise

At the outset of the COVID-19 epidemic, one of the top topics was how much more the globe began to rely on the internet, especially when nations went into lockdown.

Despite changes in movement limits over the last two years, the most recent figures reveal that consumers are spending more time than ever before using linked technology.

Social media accounts for the greatest single share of our connected media time, accounting for 35% of the total at an average of 2 hours and 27 minutes each day.

The amount of time we spend on social media has also increased in the last year, increasing by 2 minutes each day (+1.4 percent).

chart showing daily time spent using social media

However, since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, social media’s percentage of total internet time has actually decreased little.

According to our data, this is primarily due to people’s acceptance of a range of new online activities during the last two years, so social media now accounts for a smaller percentage of overall online time than it did when people did fewer things online.

chart showing social media's share of total online time

However, with the globe expected to spend more than 4 trillion hours on social media by 2022, there’s little question that social media continues to play an important part in our daily lives.

Social users spend the most time on YouTube

But how does that time spent on social media differ by platform?

The good news is that this year, the amazing guys at App Annie provided some fantastic statistics with us that demonstrate how much time users spend using the Android applications of numerous prominent social sites.

To put this in context, Android-powered handsets account for around seven out of every ten smartphones in use worldwide today, so—while these data may not cover all social media users—they nevertheless give valuable insights into how the globe utilizes social media platforms.

Overall, App Annie’s research reveals that YouTube accounts for the most overall time spent using social media applications on Android phones, as well as the most average time per user.

According to App Annie’s data, the average YouTube user now spends nearly a full day, 23.7 hours, every month using YouTube’s mobile app, although keep in mind that the platform likely also sees considerable activity on its website and via embeds on third-party websites.

chart showing time spent with social media apps

Facebook ranks second in terms of overall, cumulative time spent using social media applications, with Android users spending an average of 19.6 hours per month in the platform’s app.

TikTok users spend an average of 19.6 hours per month using the TikTok Android app. However, because the platform has fewer overall users, TikTok only ranks fifth in these rankings by total time spent by all users.

WhatsApp ranks third in terms of overall time spent, with users spending an average of 18.6 hours per month on the Android chat software.

Instagram is ranked fourth. Although users spend far less time on the app each month than the rest of the top five, at only 11.2 hours each month.

LINE has a remarkable average use rate of 11.6 hours per month. Meanwhile, with far fewer users overall, it only ranks ninth in the global rankings by total time spent.

For reference, the average monthly time per user on Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp has been pretty consistent over the last year.

Meanwhile, time spent on Instagram has climbed by 10% year on year, amounting to nearly one hour more every month.

TikTok, on the other hand, has witnessed the most growth among the top five in the last year.

TikTok users now spend an extra 6 hours and 20 minutes each month using the platform’s Android app compared to this time last year, a 48 percent increase year on year.

It’s crucial to note that these data vary greatly by region. Local ranks might appear very different from the worldwide picture.

chart showing time spent using TikTok's mobile app

Facebook still the most-used social platform

Insights regarding people’s “favorite” platforms and how much time they spend on each are maybe the most representative data points for marketers developing a social media strategy.

However, active user counts continue to be useful benchmarks, particularly when it comes to gauging a platform’s momentum.

Facebook remains the world’s most popular social media network, with 2.91 billion members as of October 2021 (the most recent “official” statistic at the time of writing (according to data disclosed in Meta’s Q3 2021 investor results statement).

Despite reaching more than half of its total potential audience in terms of age and accessibility, Facebook’s monthly active user base increased by 6.2 percent (+170 million members) in the previous year. [It should be noted that Facebook is still restricted in China.]

Over the last year, however, YouTube has narrowed the gap with Facebook, with the platform’s audience expanding nearly twice as quickly as Facebook’s.

YouTube currently has at least 2.56 billion active users, which is nearly 88 percent of Facebook’s most recent number.

chart showing the world's most-used social platforms

However, keep in mind that the data we report for YouTube is based on the platform’s ad viewership. Whereas the figures for Facebook represent total monthly active users.

Meta hasn’t provided any official updates to worldwide WhatsApp user counts in the last year. However, the platform is still likely to rank third, with at least 2 billion active users each month.

Instagram ranks fourth on a worldwide scale and has witnessed some of the quickest growth of any platform in the last year.

WeChat rounds out the top five, with China’s favorite social media network currently boasting 1.26 billion monthly active users.

All eyes, however, will undoubtedly be on TikTok, which is presently ranked sixth.

However, TikTok’s active user base nearly quadrupled between December 2019 and September 2021. This helps the platform still hold the top place in worldwide app download rankings. It’s very inevitable that TikTok’s monthly active users will continue to increase (more on that below).

Meanwhile, Meta hasn’t issued an “official” monthly active user (MAU) count for Messenger since September 2017. We’ve opted to utilize the platform’s most recent ad audience reach data in these rankings rather than that older figure.

Because LinkedIn does not provide active user counts, we are unable to include it on this list.

Instagram keeps growing and growing and growing

According to the most recent statistics provided in Meta’s advertising resources, Instagram’s ad reach has increased by an amazing 21% in the last year. This number reflects regardless of the changes in how the firm publishes its ad audience counts.

According to Meta’s research, more than a quarter of a billion new users joined Instagram in 2021. This brought the platform’s worldwide ad reach to around 1.5 billion users by the beginning of 2022.

chart showing Instagram's advertising audience

Furthermore, Instagram’s viewership rose by more than 6% (+85 million users) in the last 90 days. This implies that its growth rates would continue to rise.

Instagram has been claiming remarkable quarterly growth rates for some time now. Also, our examination of the company’s ad reach figures shows over 60 percent increase over the last two years.

chart showing Instagram's advertising reach

Our Digital 2022 Report also contains statistics for some of Instagram’s distinct “environments”. This will be very beneficial for marketers looking into potentials like short video formats and social search.

Ads on Instagram’s “home feed” reach nearly all (96.6 percent) of Instagram’s active user base each month. Therefore, these placements remain the most reliable approach to target the largest Instagram audience.

Ads on Instagram Stories, on the other hand, now reach more than 1 billion people each month. The format’s increased functionality and creative opportunities make the Stories environment an even more enticing possibility.

chart showing Instagram Stories audience overview

Meanwhile, each month, significantly less than 800 million Instagram users encounter adverts on the Explore tab.

Because visitors viewing the Explore tab are more likely to be seeking fresh material, ideas, and inspiration. This result may be especially relevant for marketers introducing new companies and goods.

Although Reels haven’t yet garnered the same traction as Stories. Statistics show that 675 million Instagram users still encounter advertising on the platform’s dedicated video tab each month.

chart showing Instagram Reels audience overview

In the social commerce part of this post, we’ll take a deeper look at Instagram Shop.

TikTok’s rapid rise isn’t slowing anytime soon

According to recent data, TikTok’s ad reaches expanded by 60 million people in just the last 90 days. It brought global ad reach to about 885 million by the beginning of 2022. The app’s ad audience is expanding at an alarming rate – 7.3 percent year on year. However, it’s crucial to note that this statistic excludes users under the age of 18. [Note: Due to “data security concerns,” Bytedance’s tools only provide ad reach statistics for audiences aged 18 and above, while advertisers may still target advertisements to users aged 13 and up.]

TikTok has added an average of more than 650,000 new members every day over the last three months. This number translates to about eight new users per second.

chart showing TikTok advertising audience overview

Furthermore, contrary to common belief, TikTok is popular with people of all ages.

Ad audience data for TikTok users aged 18 and above. This data shows that the platform is already used by more than three-quarters of all adults. These people live in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait.

Meanwhile, TikTok users in the United States aged 18 and above now account for more than half (50.3 percent) of all American adults.

chart showing TikTok ad reach rate ranking

As with other social media audience statistics in our Global Digital Reports, “users” may not reflect distinct individuals. However, it’s evident that TikTok has already made a tremendous effect throughout the world. Also, Tiktok is also becoming an increasingly popular option.

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