Global social media users pass 5 billion milestone 

A man looking at his Facebook profile.

Global social media users pass 5 billion milestone  Duncan is an award-winning researcher, with 20 years experience of analysing the technology industry, specialising in cloud computing, edge computing, blockchain, cybersecurity and marketing technology.

We Are Social, a socially-led creative agency, and Meltwater, a specialist in social and media intelligence, have released Digital 2024, their latest annual report on social media and digital trends worldwide. 

In a bumper year for digital milestones, Digital 2024 shows that active social media user identities* have passed the 5 billion mark (5.04 billion), equivalent to 62.3% of the world’s population. The global total increased by 266 million over the past year – an annual growth of 5.6%. 

The typical social media user now spends 2 hours and 23 minutes per day on their social platforms of choice, and uses 6.7 platforms each month. TikTok has the highest average time per Android user of any social platform globally, clocking in at an impressive 34 hours per month – equating to more than an hour per day using the platform. In second place is YouTube, with the average user spending just over 28 hours per month on its Android app. 

In terms of the world’s ‘favourite’ social platform, Instagram has taken the crown from last year’s winner, WhatsApp. Digital 2024 shows that 16.5% of internet users between the ages of 16 and 64 consider Instagram their most loved platform, pushing WhatsApp into second place with 16.1%. 

Digital 2024 is a 550+ page report that covers data points from across the entire online ecosystem, from social media to smart devices, gaming to social commerce. 

Other key highlights from the report include: 

  • The typical internet user now spends 6 hours and 40 minutes online each day – up by 3 minutes per day, or 1%, year-on-year. 
  • Facebook – which celebrates its 20th birthday on 4th February – grew its global ad reach by more than 200 million over the past 12 months, delivering year-on-year growth of 10.5%. 
  • LinkedIn, Snapchat, WeChat and Pinterest all reported strong user growth year-on-year. 
  • Digital ad spend grew by 10% year-on-year, with almost $720 billion spent on digital ads in 2023. Social ad spend increased by 9.3% to USD $207 billion, and investment in influencer activities increased by 17%. 
  • The typical internet user now spends 17 minutes per day less watching TV content than they did this time last year – a decline of 8.2% year-on-year.
  • In a rich analysis of TikTok hashtags, Digital 2024 reports that TikToks tagged with #fyp (for your page) have amassed a total of 55½ trillion views – making it the platform’s top hashtag.

Finally, in the ultimate battle for the internet – Dogs vs. Cats – canines reign supreme, with dog-tagged content outstripping felines across both Instagram (376 million posts vs. 290 million) and TikTok (575 billion views vs. 502 billion). 

Nathan McDonald, co-founder and group chief executive at We Are Social, said: “Social media continues to be a vital part of the way we connect with one another, from building communities to researching purchases and everything in between. TikTok’s continued popularity has changed the way that people behave online – social is not somewhere where a broadcast approach works for brands, and the importance of thinking social first has never been more important. It’s encouraging to see strong growth across multiple social platforms, each offering something different, whether that’s Pinterest for social commerce or Facebook for connecting with communities.  For marketers, understanding platform nuances – and how to use social media to connect in culturally relevant ways – will be more crucial than ever.”

Alexandra Saab Bjertnæs, chief strategy officer at Meltwater, said: “As social media enters its next chapter with five billion-plus users, understanding usage patterns, engagement, and emerging trends is crucial to helping brands find their unique voice amidst all the online chatter. The rise of TikTok, coupled with Instagram’s ‘favorite’ status and the growth of professional networking platforms like LinkedIn, paints a picture of evolving preferences. With so many platform choices, brands need to really understand where their target audience is going for information—and shape compelling narratives that engage them with unparalleled precision and authenticity.”

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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