When social media first burst onto the scene in the early 2000s, it was used only by small groups of people, mostly college students, and there was a lot of skepticism about its future.
This was mostly because people didn't understand how to monetize social media and turn it into something with staying power. For proof, just ask people you know if they still have an account on Six Degrees, Friendster, or MySpace... exactly.
But oh how things have changed.
Today, social media is a huge part of our lives. We use it, along with a whole host of other platforms, to connect with friends and family, learn about events happening in our area, buy and sell goods, start new relationships, review shops and restaurants, and, most importantly, look at funny pictures of cats.
But just how much social media do we use? And how do we use it? And how can you use this information to grow your brand?
2019 Social Media Usage
If asked to ballpark it, most of us would probably struggle to come up with an exact number to answer the question: how much time do you spend on social media?
Luckily, though, we don't need to. There are lots of people out there studying this very thing, and what they've come up with confirms a belief that most of us already have: people love to use social media. For example, consider these findings from the Pew Research Center:
Young People LOVE Social Media
It seems natural. After all, today's youth have been born into a digital world, so it's only normal that they would be the ones most likely to adopt social media.
However, most of us also know that older people are hip to the social media game as well. But have they taken over young people?
Not yet. But usage is up across the board. Here's some more data from Pew:
Some more interesting facts are:
- Social media use is roughly equivalent across race, gender, income level, as well as community (urban/suburban)
- 79 percent of college graduates use at least one social media site, whereas just 60 percent of those with a high school degree or less use social networks
2019 Daily Social Media Usage
Most people like to use social media at least once a day. But which networks are they most likely to use on a daily basis? Check out this data from Pew:
Brands and Social Media
Social media started out as a way for people to connect and communicate with friends and family.
However, as it got more and more popular, brands began recognizing it as a great opportunity to interact with their target audiences and customers, as well as to expand their reach and grow.
In general, this has worked. But just being on social media doesn't mean your brand will automatically be successful. Here are some key stats to consider that have been provided by Sprout Social.
As you can see, there is a sharp drop-off from funny to trendy. There are people out there who may want you to be snarky or trendy, but most just want you to be helpful and friendly.
As a result, if you're just starting out, then this should be your focus on social media: relating to people in a friendly way while also being as helpful as you can be.
Where do people want to see brands showing off their personality?
- Facebook (83 percent)
- YouTube (48 percent)
- Twitter (40 percent)
- Instagram (35 percent)
- LinkedIn(30 percent)
- Snapchat (27 percent)
Hey look! Facebook came in at number one. After what we learned by studying usage and engagement, this shouldn't come as much of a surprise, and it serves as additional proof that your social media time and money might be best spent working on your Facebook strategy.
What Social Media Actions Drive Purchases?
When talking about brands and social media, we tend to focus a lot on things such as reach and engagement. But all this does is cloud our vision.
The ultimate purpose of using social media as a brand is to drive sales. Anything else that social media provides is great, but it's a bonus.
As a result, you need to be paying attention to what you can do on social media to trigger people into wanting to buy something you are selling.
Luckily, we've got some stats to help you figure this out. Here they are:
In this case, perhaps the biggest piece of insight we've gained is that trash talking competitors pretty much gets you nowhere. If you were able to present it in the perfect way, i.e. funny and friendly, it might work. But overall, it is likely not worth the risk.
Instead, it's much better to just be helpful. If people ask questions, make sure to answer them in a timely manner, and try not to let too many questions or comments go unanswered.
Other Social Media Platforms
We've spent a lot of time talking about Facebook, but there are other social media platforms. It's true that Facebook will probably provide you with the best bang for your buck, but don't close the door on other options.
2019 YouTube Statistics
- We watch over 1 billion hours of YouTube videos each day.
- 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
- There are, on average, around 1 billion video views per day.
- For brands, using TrueView, YouTube's proprietary advertising, can be very effective. In fact, viewers who watched a TrueView ad to the end were 23 times more likely to complete the action you want them to complete, and they are still 10 times more likely even if they don't watch the whole ad.
2019 Instagram Statistics
- As of June 2018, there are more than 1 billion users on Instagram.
- There are also some 500 million daily active users.
- Instagram is the place for images, as we might expect. On average, Instagram images get 23 percent more engagement than Facebook images.
- 70 percent of people look up brands on Instagram.
- 60 percent of people find out about new products on Instagram.
2019 Snapchat Statistics
- 60 percent of Snapchat users are under the age of 25.
- 78 percent of all Americans aged 18-24 use Snapchat.
- Of people who view one snap in a brand's Snapchat story, 91 percent watched the whole thing.
- 47 percent of U.S. teens think Snapchat is better than Facebook.
2019 Linked In Statistics
- 45 percent of people earning more than 75k a year use LinkedIn.
- There are 46 million students and recent college graduates using the site.
- 75 percent of people who have recently changed jobs used LinkedIn to help them decide.
- 64 percent of social referrals to corporate websites come from LinkedIn.
2019 Twitter Statistics
- Twitter first turned a profit in 2017, quieting some concerns that it didn't know how to monetize and might be on its way out.
- Only 24 percent of the people in the U.S. use Twitter, and 80 percent of Twitter users are from countries other than the U.S.
- User growth in the U.S. looks dim. Twitter is only expected to add 500,000 users in 2019, a growth number of 1 percent.
- 80 percent of Twitter users are affluent Millennials. This should help you in deciding if this is a platform you want to use.
The Pew Study referenced above showed that a larger percentage of people used YouTube than Facebook, suggesting that YouTube may be making a run for the top spot.
However, when we look a little more closely at how people are using each network, it becomes quite clear that Facebook is still the dominant force in the market place.
Facebook Is The Most Popular
From the previously mentioned Pew Report, here is a breakdown the popularity of different sites based on the percentage of the population that uses them:
- YouTube (73 percent)
- Facebook (68 percent)
- Instagram (35 percent)
- Pinterest (29 percent)
- Snapchat (27 percent)
- LinkedIn (25 percent)
- Twitter (24 percent)
This was the first year YouTube was included in the study, and most reports on social media use don't include it, as there is some debate as to whether YouTube really is a social media network.
Nevertheless, Facebook, which 68 percent of people use, is far ahead of its next biggest competitor, Instagram, which isn't really a competitor since Facebook owns Instagram.
Facebook Is Where People Spend Most of Their Social Media Time
For further proof of the dominance of Facebook, here are some stats taken from Comscore's Digital Future in Focus Report:
- Facebook reaches approximately 97 percent of people between the ages of 18-34, and each person spends more than 1,000 minutes a month on the site.
- It's closest competitor is Instagram (which it owns), but Instagram reaches just a little less than 65 percent of people aged 18-34, and teach user only spends around 350 minutes on the site per month.
- Snapchat only reaches 38 percent of people, but they spend more time using it than Instagram, spending around 400 minutes per month on the site/app. However, research indicates that Snapchat is growing in terms of reach and usage, so it will be interesting to see how things change moving forward.
- LinkedIn only captures about 52 percent of people between ages 18 and 34, but most don't spend any time on the site at all.
- Pinterest gets about 40 percent of people, and they spend just a little less than 200 minutes on the site each month.
This particular study was done looking at people aged 18-34 in the United States, but other studies that look at the larger population have found similar results in terms of Facebook's dominance of the social media space.
Here's a graph from Comscore's report that shows how minutes are divided among the different social media sites in countries around the world:
Facebook Keeps People Coming Back
The following data, which comes from the Forrester Data Digest shows that the people using Facebook tend to be heavy users. This means that there are lots of opportunities to interact with people on Facebook.
- In a given month, 63 percent of people will access the Facebook app. They go onto the app an average of 15 days per month, and they will access it on average five times per day.
- Instagram's penetration (the amount of people who access the app) is just 27 percent. Those uses access the app on average 11 times per month, and they average daily access is six times per day.
- Twitter's penetration is 22 percent, with people accessing the site 7.5 times per month and 5 times per day.
These numbers may not be as jarring, but they help to reinforce this idea: Facebook is still on top of the social media world, and it will take a near miracle for that to change.
With so many social media options to choose from, it's easy to get distracted. It's true that Instagram offers you the chance to showcase great photos and look cool, and it's also true that Snapchat is rapidly becoming more popular, especially among young people.
But don't let this distract you from the following truth: Facebook is still on top.
As a result, you should still be spending the majority of your time trying to boost reach and engagement on social media by using Facebook.
Social Media Around the World in 2019
Globally, there were 3.196 billion social media users in 2018, which is 13 percent higher than the year before, according to We Are Social.
Also from We Are Social, the places where social media use is growing the fastest are:
- Saudi Arabia (32 percent)
- India (31 percent)
- Indonesia (23 percent)
- Ghana (22 percent)
- South Africa (20 percent)
- Vietnam (20 percent)
Overall, the social media landscape is one that's changing constantly. However, there are a few constants:
- Social media is growing around the world. Exactly how that growth will look remains to be seen, but we can expect more from social networks moving forward.
- Facebook is still the dominant force. This may change, but it's not likely in the immediate future.
It will be interesting to see how 2019 shapes the world of social media. Up until now, it's been a wild ride, so we can really only expect more of the same.