Surprising Social Media Statistics - The 2022 Edition (2022)

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 Covid-19 pandemic has raged and forced us to rely on digital technologies more than ever, particularly to remain connected with friends and family.

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However, while social media's popularity and significance are not all that surprising, many other things about social media will shock you. We've compiled all the statistics we could find about social media in 2021 that will knock you off and remind us 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 currently uses 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:

Surprising Social Media Statistics - The 2022 Edition (1)

Young People LOVE Social Media

It seems natural. After all, today's younger population have been born into a digital world, so it's not surprising that young people are most likely to adopt social media.

However, most of us also know that older people are hip to the social media game. But have they taken over from young people?

Not yet, but usage is up across the board. Here's some more data from Pew:

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Surprising Social Media Statistics - The 2022 Edition (2)

Some more interesting facts:

  • Social media use is roughly equivalent across race, gender, income level, and 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 on a daily basis, but which networks are they most likely to use daily? The most recent data from Pew, which looked at usage from 2019, found the following breakdown for U.S. social media use by platform.

Surprising Social Media Statistics - The 2022 Edition (3)

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 offers.

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 taking the social media world by storm. Only time will tell if TikTok will suffer a similar fate, but it is the rising star of the social media world for now.

Twitter has nowhere near the market penetration it once had, but it has kept a firm handle on its niche market. It's unlikely it will go 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 be no surprise that social media use has changed considerably during this past year.

Here are some surprising stats about social media and the pandemic:

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Surprising Social Media Statistics - The 2022 Edition (4)

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 give you 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 daily, which accounts for over 1 billion hours of YouTube videos.
  • 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

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 world's most popular social media sites.

  • 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 daily.

2021 LinkedIn Statistics

2021 Twitter Statistics

Facebook Dominates

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 use each network, it becomes 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 users don't include it, as there 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.
  • Pinterest gets about 40 percent of people spending 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:

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The big shocker on this list is TikTok; it rapidly became 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 its users and how much time people spend on the site. Perhaps Facebook, which has traditionally dominated 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 daily.

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.

The Takeaway

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 spend most of their time trying to boost reach and engagement on social media by using Facebook.

Social Media Around the World in 2021

According to We Are Social, there were 3.96 billion social media users in 2021, which is 18 percent higher than the year before.

Also, from We Are Social, the places where social media use is growing the fastest are:

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  • Saudi Arabia (32 percent)
  • India (31 percent)
  • Indonesia (23 percent)
  • Ghana (22 percent)
  • South Africa (20 percent)
  • Vietnam (20 percent)

Conclusion

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, 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.

FAQ

How old is social media?

The first iteration of social media as we know it can be traced back to the early 2000s, and it largely started with MySpace. According to social media statistics, by 2004, MySpace had amassed a few million users worldwide. Hi5 and Friendster were similar websites to Facebook that were popular in the early to mid-2000s, but by 2012, Facebook had surpassed them all.

What are the worst social media habits?

When it comes to negative social media habits, mindlessly scrolling through social media for hours is a pretty terrible one, especially if you engage in "doomscrolling" - scrolling through negative content, usually fear-mongering content, or news about tragedies and other heavily negatively charged topics. That creates intense feelings of anxiety and depression in a lot of people and is best avoided.

Other bad habits are ignoring the people around us in favor of social media, taking our phones everywhere, including the bathroom or out for a run, or using social media as a "solution" for depression, loneliness, or anxiety. That does nothing to improve your mental state and can be actively harmful.

How to keep kids safe on social media?

For young kids, the best course of action is to have access to their account to keep an eye on it and supervise their interactions. Do not allow friend requests from people you don't know and have no business talking to your child.

You'll also want to make sure you're friends with your kids on social media and that their settings enable you to see their activity. Many platforms allow you to restrict what others see, and kids are clever - don't get caught out.

When it comes to content, it can be a crapshoot. You can restrict certain types of content through parental control settings. But for apps with increasing popularity among kids and teens, like TikTok, the content you are shown is based on the content you consume. That can make for some pretty dangerous rabbit holes, so it's up to you to keep a close eye on the content they are consuming.

Is social media a good place to start a business?

Social media can be a tremendously lucrative avenue for launching a business. Not only is it essential for the visibility of brick and mortar businesses, but it is now possible to build a business that exists exclusively on social media. Chances are your target customer spends hours a day on social media - so it's the most natural place to market to them.

Instagram businesses are the clearest example, with thousands of small businesses popping up and functioning on Instagram only, without the need for a dedicated website or brick-and-mortar location. The lack of overhead saves costs, and its existence on social media makes it incredibly easy to establish a presence, grow your audience, and expand your reach.

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Can social media improve your business?

Social media can improve and expand your business. Some industries will be better suited to it than others, but if you have a visual business or offer digital services, especially, social media can ensure that you reach audiences that wouldn't have discovered you otherwise.

Social media marketing is the most effective way to reach new customers and grow your audience and overall retention rate. The most popular social media platforms for businesses are Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

FAQs

What is a surprising fact about social media? ›

One of the mind-blowing facts about social media is that; there are nearly 3.5billion active social media users, and every 6.4 seconds a new account has been created. Every user has an average of 7.6 social media accounts. They spend around 142 minutes on social media every single day.

What is the most popular social media 2022? ›

The latest statistics show that Facebook continues to reign strong as the king of social media, with 2.94 billion active users in 2022. That means that around three out of every four of the 3.96 billion social media users are active Facebook users.

What are some statistics about social media? ›

More than half of the world now uses social media (59%) 4.70 billion people around the world now use social media, 227 million new users have come online within the last 12 months. The average daily time spent using social media is 2h 29m.

How does social media affect our mental health? ›

When people look online and see they're excluded from an activity, it can affect thoughts and feelings, and can affect them physically. A 2018 British study tied social media use to decreased, disrupted, and delayed sleep, which is associated with depression, memory loss, and poor academic performance.

How does social media affect society? ›

Social Media is relatively a newer technology, hence, it is a little difficult to establish its long-term good and bad consequences. However, multiple researchers have concluded a strong relationship between heavy use of social media platforms with an increase in risk of depression, self-harm, anxiety, and loneliness.

Did you know facts social media? ›

The number of social media users skyrocketed with 72% of adults using at least one social network. 3. Young adults were early adopters of social media platforms. However, older adult usage continues to increase in recent years with more 50-64-year-olds using Facebook than those 18-29.

What percentage of the world is addicted to social media? ›

Worldwide Social Media Addiction Facts

Over 210 million people worldwide suffer from social media addiction. In the US alone experts estimate that about 10% of social media users are addicted.

What are some scary facts about social media? ›

Spending more than 3 hours on social media per day puts adolescents at a higher risk for mental health problems. 13% of kids ages 12-17 report depression and 32% report anxiety. 25% of 18 to 25-year-olds report mental illness. These age groups report high usage of social media.

What is the number 1 social media app? ›

Facebook

With nearly 3 billion monthly users, Facebook is inarguably the largest and most popular social media platform in the world.

What is the fastest growing social media platform 2022? ›

All channels have seen an increase, however, unsurprisingly it is TikTok that takes the crown of the fastest growing social media channel in 2022. Of the 3,000 participants, 40% state that they plan to use TikTok in 2022 as part of their social media strategy.

What are the 5 social media? ›

A Closer Look at the Top 15 Social Networks
  • 1. Facebook – 2.74 Billion Active Users. ...
  • YouTube – 2.291 Billion Active Users. ...
  • WhatsApp – 2.0 Billion Active Users. ...
  • 4. Facebook Messenger – 1.3 Billion Active Users. ...
  • Instagram – 1.221 Billion Active Users. ...
  • Weixin/WeChat – 1.213 Billion Active Users. ...
  • TikTok – 689 Million Active Users.
Aug 13, 2021

Did you know social media facts? ›

There are 3 billion active social media users. Social networks earned an estimated $8.3 billion from advertising in 2015. Snapchat users watch 6 billion videos every day. More than 16 billion photos have been uploaded to Instagram since launch.

How many social media users are there 2022? ›

Social media's infiltration into the lives of internet users has been on the rise. The latest figures show that there are expected to be 4.59 billion social media users worldwide in 2022—a 7.8 percent increase from a year ago.

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