Social media represents a key tool for marketers who want to build up a brand or boost a customer base. The article explores in depths the level of growth for different key social media networks.
- In 2021 it was recorded that nearly 4 million people worldwide are using some form of social media, this is almost double what it was in 2015 when the numbers were 2 million. Source: Statista
- Facebook is the most popular social network while YouTube and WhatsApp follow Facebook with 2 billion each. Interestingly Twitter is the least used platform with just 326 million.
- The average person has 8.6 different social media accounts in 2021. This rose from 4.8 in 2014. Source: Backlinko
- The growth rate of social media has been at a steady average of 12.5% per year. Although between 2019 and 2021 growth declined.
- Mobile is a key part of social media usage with 90.7% of mobile users active on social networks. Furthermore, 3.81 billion social media users access the networks through a mobile device.
While certain social media networks are continuing to rise in popularity, many have experienced losses. This includes Pinterest, Whatsapp, and Twitter, losing between 1% and 3% each through 2021.
Now let’s explore some of the key levels of growth for different social media networks in recent years.
Facebook was launched by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommates from Harvard College in 2004. Since its launch, it has had many names, including Facemash and Thefacebook before they finally settled on Facebook.
- Facebook has been running for 15 years and is the most popular social media platform out there with an average of 2.6 billion users worldwide. Source: Smart Insights
- The number of active users for Facebook increased in 2021 from 2019, rising from 1.50 billion up to 1.62 billion. Ultimately, this means that 66% of Facebook users are accessing the app on a daily basis. Source: Business Of Apps
- It’s interesting to note that the majority of Facebook users are not found in the US. Instead, 1 billion users are located in Asia while Latin America accounts for 802 million. Source: Engineering Facebook
- The largest level of growth for Facebook over the last few years has occurred in Asia. US, Canada, and Europe have seen lower levels of growth, potentially due to the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal that rocked the western world. Source: Business Of Apps
Since its launch in 2010 Instagram has steadily grown in size. On its first day, it racked up 25,000 users. In 2012 there were around 27 million people using it. 2018 saw them reach over 1 billion and they are still over that number now. Source: Investopedia
- In 2021, Instagram will surpass 117 million users in the US alone. The US currently represents only 11% of Instagram users. Source: Hootsuite
- Instagram users are spending more time on the app than they used to. In 2021 users are spending an average of 28 minutes per day browsing the platform. This is key for marketers as time spent on a platform will often translate directly into a level of engagement. Source: Hootsuite
- Instagram used to be a social network that was typically used by individuals. However, this has changed and through 2021 75% of US businesses are using Instagram to connect with their audience. Source: Blue Wave Concepts
Since its launch in 2006 Twitter has grown at a steady rate.
In 2010 it had 30 million users and now in 2021, it’s up to 353 million. Source: Statista
However, in general, growth levels for Twitter are not positive. Twitter users declined between 2018 and 2019 from 336 to 330 respectively.
- Cost Per Engagement also decreased by 25% for the social media network in Q2 of 2021. The company also experienced an operating loss of $124 million during this time. That said, Twitter could still prove useful to marketers as 40% of users still access the service on a daily basis. Source: Oberlo
- On average 500 million people also continue to access Twitter each month. The majority of them do this without having an account which is where Twitter distinguishes itself from other social media networks. It also highlights the true reach of this social network and why it is still relevant. Source: Brand Watch
- Since its initial conception, 1.3 billion accounts have been established on users, but only 550 million people have actually sent a tweet. This could highlight an issue with engagement on this network. Source: Business Insider
An android and social media app, TikTok is used for both sharing and creating videos. It’s become popular with general users as well as celebrities and influencers. TikTok was launched in 2017 and has since grown tremendously.
In the three years since its launch, the social media network has grown its number of users to 800 million. These active users mean that TikTok is now the 9th most popular social networking site beating key competitors including Snapchat. Source: Datarepoortal
The level of growth from TikTok is remarkable. To put it into perspective, it took Instagram six years to achieve the same level of growth in terms of active users. Facebook needed almost four years to reach this level. Source: Oberlo
- The app has been downloaded more than 2 billion times since it was originally launched on the market. It managed to reach its first billion by February 2019.
- There’s no sign that the growth of the app is slowing down either. By April 2021, the app had doubled its user base in little more than a year. In the first quarter of 2021, there were 315 million downloads. It is generally believed that this is due to the impact of the pandemic. Regardless of the reason, TikTok should now be on the radar of every marketer. Source: Oberlo
- TikTok is available in more than 155 different countries and 75 different languages. As such, it does cover a massive section of the world population. It’s even become popular in China and certain Asian territories. In Thailand, the app has been downloaded more than 10 million times. Source: KR Asia.
Snapchat is another social media network that has seen tremendous levels of growth. Snapchat provides users with ways to share stories, video call friends, or send photos. In 2021, 125 million people viewed news stories on Snapchat and half the Gen Z population is using the app to watch stories like this. Source: Zephoria
- The number of daily active users in the third quarter of 2021 was 249 million. This marks an 18% surge which could again be tied to the coronavirus. Source: Statista
- The average number of Snaps created every day throughout Q3 was more than 4 billion. This means that there was an annual growth level of 25%. Source: Hootsuite
- Individuals on Snapchat are also watching far more videos. This increased by 50% from the following year in 2021. Source: Zephoria
- There were worries by stakeholders that Snapchat would crash in 2018, due to an unpopular redesign. However, this never occurred. While there was a slight dip to 186 million from 191 million, numbers were back up and stabilized in 2019. Source: Digital Trends
- Snapchat Discover was a feature introduced in 2015. Since its initial conception, the Discover feature has grown in popularity. Half of Discover viewers use it every week according to the company. This does present a unique opportunity for marketers. They can introduce engaging content and even launch new products or services using the feature. Source: Snapchat
- Snapchat also now ranks second in terms of mobile usage for a particular social media network. Source: Oberlo
LinkedIn is a social media/networking site that launched in 2003 and allows people to progress in their chosen job sector or explore new ones. They can add their resume and interact with individuals or businesses. Source: Business Insider
- LinkedIn has been one of the top 10 social media platforms since 2003 and has grown every year, from 90 million users in 2010 to 722 million in 2021. This represents a massive surge and a huge level of potential, particularly for marketers working with B2B clients. Source: Business Of Apps
- LinkedIn saw a 14% increase in users through 2018. Source: LinkedIn
- Though the majority of LinkedIn users are men, similar to social networks like Instagram the gap isn’t that significant. 43% of users on the network are women and the gap decreases each year. Source: Hoot Suite
- Since its creation, Linkedin has also successfully grown its international audience. Today, 70% of users on LinkedIn are outside the US. However, with 167 million users, the US still represents the most significant user base. Source: LinkedIn.
We hope this article has shed some light on the level of growth in social media usage over the past few years and why it could be relevant to marketers. It’s clear that some networks that used to be discounted by marketers completely are now key tools for reaching valuable target audiences.