Social media is part of our daily lives and usage continues to grow as new platforms are created and existing ones evolve. Savvy marketers look to social channels as a key strategy to grow their brands, sell products, and create influencers.
Which social channels are right for your brand? How does one wade through the multitude of statistics that are continuously published to find and apply the numbers that really matter? And, how does a novel category like gaming factor into the future of social media?
Find much of the information you should consider curated here to help guide your social media strategies.
Social media statistics that matter
1. 3.5 billion people use social media
This number equates to 45% of the global population. Mobile usage is one of the key reasons this number is so large. In the beginning years of sites like Facebook, one had to be on a desktop computer to use the platform—or to get full functionality with it— and that limited the number of users. That is no longer the case and allowed for the proliferation of usage around the globe.
2. 91% of users are on mobile and 80% of time spent on social is on mobile
As mentioned above, mobile usage took over desktop years ago for most demographics and now the only category that may still use desktop equally is Baby Boomers. There are multiple reasons this mobile statistic matters:
- A mobile user could be waiting in line at a store, open their favorite social app for a quick perusal, only to drop their phone in their pocket when called to the register. Usage like this calls for quick and memorable posts.
- A mobile user could also be sitting in a circle of friends, everyone on their phones, and start laughing out loud at a great video or meme in their scroll. Everyone in the circle suddenly wants to know what is so funny and an organic audience of people in that room suddenly exists for your content. Then, they share it with friends and family not in the room, and so on and so on.
- Many image designers use desktop programs to create campaigns, logos and other marketing materials. We have all scrolled through social and seen posts with an image that doesn’t fit the frame right or half a logo gets cut off. This lack of polish taints your brand. Acknowledging what social channels you will be posting to and how images need to be formatted for that channel—especially so your content shows well on mobile unless your only audience is Boomers—is key. Professional designers or image-creating programs like Canva and Pic Monkey can easily create multiple image files of the same graphic to play well on each channel.
3. Generation Z spends about 3 hours per day on social networks, with the rest of the population over 2 hours
Generation Z, the 16 to 24-year-olds, have the highest usage on social each day, at almost 3 hours. Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers are over two hours each.
An interesting note about this statistic is that Gen Z uses social at the same time they do things like watch TV or speak to their parents and peers. Content directed at them may need to be more interesting or engaging, as brands marketing to them may only have part of their attention.
4. Facebook continues to be the market leader in usage
Facebook has 2.5 billion monthly users worldwide, and 69% of adults in the United States are active on it. Once on Facebook, the average time spent is more than 11 minutes, which is plenty of time for brands and individuals to try and capture the attention of the Facebook audience.
An additional source article on influencers credits Facebook with “19% of purchasing decisions being influenced by the platform.”
5. Twitter has 152 million daily users, including 22% of US adults
Additional statistics on Twitter allow users to be broken down into 62% male and 38% female. Once on Twitter, the average time spent is over 10 minutes, which provides similar opportunities to that of Facebook to capture users’ attention.
The use of hashtags originated as a functionality of Twitter. Tweets with hashtags reportedly receive 100% more engagement than those without. The strategic use of hashtags in a post can let many who do not follow an individual or brand find their content when a hashtag search is performed.
6. 54% of social media browsers use social platforms to research products and services
Note the use of the term “browser” not “user” here. The difference is that a browser is defined as one who is using social to take up time, and while they are on the site, decides they may as well look up a product they have been considering or click on sponsored content fed to them.
Among younger generations especially, consumers are just as likely to search on social channels for a company or product of interest as they are to use a search engine. This includes finding and following a brand page, clicking on an ad or sponsored post, asking questions about the product, or sharing brand and social media influencer content.
7. 49% of consumers use influencer recommendations to make buying decisions
Social media influencers often begin as relatable, regular people who find a niche, create engaging content that is enjoyed and shared by others who like what they like, and their organic audience multiplies until their influence and impact becomes just as important and able to be monetized as that of many celebrities and elite athletes.
Influencers can be leveraged to create sponsored content and endorse products or services to their loyal fans. If those fans and followers are confident in their favorite influencer’s recommendations, they are much more likely to make a purchase.
8. Instagram is considered the leading platform for influencer marketing
Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users and is almost evenly divided at 50.9% female users and 49.1% male. It is a visual platform with videos and photos filling users’ feeds. This visual focus lets creative influencers post engaging, often sponsored content that can work as advertisements and promotions for their favorite products.
9. Gaming now has higher revenue than TV, movies, and digital music
This is a novel addition to statistics on social media, but it is important to note the rise — especially among those in Generation Z — who consider gaming as their favorite social medium. As traditional social channels become as much about commerce as they are about connection, young people are finding community and genuine connection on gaming platforms.
This line from the GlobalWebIndex Flagship 2020 Report, cited frequently here for other statistics, may be the key to understanding the rise of gaming as a social tool among young people:
“Bullying, discriminatory, or hateful behavior is also a common grievance aimed at social media across all age groups. Conversely, one of the major positives associated with gaming is the feeling of authenticity and openness.”
Millions, if not billions, of potential customers can be found multiple hours each day on social media. Any successful marketing strategy will include one or more social channels. Brands and individuals who wish to grow their audience have many statistics to consider.
One of the best things about social media that has not changed is the ability to set up a page on any of the platforms by simply creating a profile and beginning to post. Unlike traditional advertising on television, radio, or in print, there is almost no cost or barrier to entry to get started. There are plenty of opportunities to spend budget on ads, sponsored content, and influencers, but none of that is required to begin.
However, marketers are wise to recognize that the social channels offer varied audiences who expect different things when they are using each one. A post that performs well on Facebook may need to be reworked for use on Twitter, including the addition of appropriate hashtags.
Knowing where your target market of potential customers is spending their time on social media and executing your strategy well on those platforms, will maximize the potential reach and impact of all your content. Whether targeting Baby Boomers or Generation Z, we hope this article has provided direction and resources to help you succeed.