Social media has come a long way in its short 20-year history. Many thought it might just be a fad, but while many sites have come and gone, the concept of social media remains strong and has become part of the fabric of our global society.
Social media has become even more important over the past year as the Coronavirus pandemic has raged and forced us to rely on digital technologies more than ever, particularly to remain connected with friends and family.
However, while social media's popularity and significance are not all that surprising, there are lots of other things about social media that will shock you. We've compiled all the stats we could find about social media in 2021 that will knock your socks off and remind us all just how important this technology has become.
2021 Social Media Usage
As of January 2021, there were more than 3.96 billion social media users in the world. Considering there are around 7 billion people globally, more than half of the global population is currently using social media in one form or another. Since there are approximately 4.5 billion internet users worldwide, we can also say that around 80 percent of web users also use social media.
In the U.S., this percentage is much higher. Consider these findings from Statista:
Young People LOVE Social Media
It seems natural. After all, today's youth have been born into a digital world, so it's not surprising young people are the ones most likely to adopt social media.
However, most of us also know that older people are hip to the social media game too. But have they taken over from young people?
Not yet, but usage is up across the board. Here's some more data from Pew:
Some more interesting facts:
- 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.
2021 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 daily? The most recent data from Pew, which took a look at usage from 2019, found the following breakdown for U.S. social media use by platform.
As you can see, Facebook and Instagram remain the leaders in terms of market penetration.
The most significant changes on this list come from Snapchat and TikTok. Just a year ago, Snapchat was used by around 60 percent of people. This number has fallen to 30 percent, mainly as Instagram has made changes to mimic what Snapchat offered.
It's moves like this that have helped spur the many lawsuits designed to break up Facebook and its social media empire, a story we should all watch closely in 2021.
On the other hand, Tik Tok is exploding. It would not have made it onto this list just a year ago, but it has become a sensation that is taking the social media world by storm.
Only time will tell if TikTok will suffer a similar fate, but it is the rising start of the social media world for now.
Twitter has nowhere near the market penetration it once had, but it has also kept a firm handle on its niche market. It's unlikely it will be going anywhere anytime soon, though stranger things have happened.
Social Media and the Covid-19 Pandemic
The outbreak of COVID-19 has changed so much about the world in which we live. Since many of these changes have meant relying on the internet for more than we used to, it should come as no surprise that social media use has changed considerably during this past year.
Here are some surprising stats about social media and the pandemic:
Other Social Media Platforms
We've spent a lot of time talking about Facebook, but there are other social media platforms. Indeed, Facebook will probably provide you with the best bang for your buck, but don't close the door to other options.
2021 YouTube Statistics
- We watch over 500 billion YouTube videos each day, which accounts for more than 1 billion hours of YouTube videos each day.
- 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
- There are around 1.3 billion people who use YouTube regularly.
- TrueView, YouTube's proprietary advertising, can be highly effective for brands. 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 ten times more likely even if they don't watch the whole ad.
2021 Instagram Statistics
- There are now 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.
2021 TikTok Statistics
Tik Tok has more than 600 million active users, up from just under 30 million less than two years ago. It is now one of the most popular social media sites in the world.
- Around 13 million new videos get uploaded to TikTok every single day.
- After launching as primarily a Chinese social media site, 42 percent of TikTok's monthly revenue now comes from the U.S.
- TikTok is very popular among teens, and 14 percent of young adult internet users in the U.S. are on Tik Tok.
- TikTok has high engagement levels; 28.56 percent of TikTok users open the app at least once a day.
2021 LinkedIn 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.
2021 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 22 percent of people in the U.S. use Twitter, down from 24 percent in 2019, and 80 percent of Twitter users are from countries other than the U.S.
- 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.
Facebook Is The Most Popular
From the previously mentioned Pew Report, here is a breakdown of the popularity of different sites based on the percentage of the population that uses them:
- Facebook (74 percent)
- YouTube (73 percent)
- Instagram (63 percent)
- Twitter (42 percent)
- TikTok – (35 percent)
- Pinterest (28 percent)
- Snapchat (24 percent)
- LinkedIn (27 percent)
This was the first year Pew included YouTube in the study, and most reports on social media use don't include it, asthere is some debate as to whether YouTube really is a social media network.
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.
- Its closest competitor is Instagram (which it owns), but Instagram reaches just a little less than 65 percent of people aged 18-34, and each 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 looked at people aged 18-34 in the United States. Still, other studies that look at the larger population have found similar results regarding Facebook's dominance of the social media space.
Here's some data that breaks down where people are spending their time when they're on social media:
The big shocker on this list is TikTok, which has rapidly become the social media site where people spend most of their time. If we consider that YouTube is next, we can start to see a pattern: sites heavy on video tend to keep people engaged for longer.
Nevertheless, TikTok is growing rapidly in terms of the number of users it has and how much time people are spending on the site. Perhaps Facebook, which has traditionally dominated both of these categories, should start looking over its shoulder. Or, not so fast??
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 users access the app on average 11 times per month, and the 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 five times per day.
These numbers may not be as jarring, but they help 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. Instagram indeed 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.
Yet, don't let this distract you from the following truth: Facebook is still on top.
As a result, businesses should still be spending most of their time trying to boost reach and engagement on social media by using Facebook.
Social Media Around the World in 2021
Globally, there were 3.96 billion social media users in 2021, which is 18 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 constantly changing. However, there are a couple of 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 2021 continues to shape the world of social media. It's been a wild ride until now, so we can only expect more of the same.