Social Media Statistics and Trends: 2024 Guide

Social Media Statistics and Trends: 2024 Guide

More than half the world uses social media, but platform preferences vary by region. Facebook statistics and YouTube statistics show these platforms as two of the most used platforms in the U.S. and across the globe.

About 63% of the world population uses social media

As of April 2024, an estimated 5 billion people globally use social media. This accounts for the active users of the big names in social media, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as popular messaging apps like WeChat and Telegram. The popularity of social media platforms continues to grow worldwide each year.

YouTube is the most popular social media platform among U.S. adults 

YouTube is the most commonly used social media platform among American adults, followed by Facebook and Instagram. Pinterest is the fourth most popular social media platform in the United States, with TikTok rounding out the top five. Only 3% of U.S. adults report using BeReal, one of the newest social media platforms launched in 2020.

Facebook has the most users of any social media platform in the world 

Facebook has more monthly active users than any other social media platform with over 3 billion worldwide. YouTube ranks second globally, followed by WhatsApp, Instagram and TikTok. Facebook’s parent company, Meta, owns both Instagram and WhatsApp, making it a powerhouse among the top social networks. Meta’s own data show the number of users continued to grow leading into 2024.

A variety of factors influence a user’s choice over which social media platforms to use. Here are some recent insights about some of the top social media platforms, including Instagram and Twitter statistics.

The youngest U.S. adults are most likely to use Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok

Of American adults aged 18 to 29, 78% reported having used Instagram. In this age group, 65% have used Snapchat, and 62% have used TikTok. These social media apps saw the greatest difference between the oldest and youngest demographics. For instance, only 15% of U.S. adults age 65 and older reported ever having used Instagram. Only 4% of that age group had ever used Snapchat and only 10% had used TikTok.

Women are more likely to report using Pinterest 

Pinterest users are more likely to be women. A Pew research study found that in 2021, Pinterest had the widest gender gap of all social media sites used in the United States. Forty-six percent of women reported using Pinterest, while only 16% of men did. Women were also more likely to have used Instagram and TikTok, while men were nearly twice as likely to use Reddit. LinkedIn, Snapchat and Twitter had no wide gaps in users based on gender.

Twitter activity has dropped since the X rebranding 

After Twitter’s acquisition and rebrand, the platform saw its number of users remain relatively flat, but overall activity dropped. The top 20% of the site’s most active users are posting less on average. In 2023, a quarter of X users reported they did not expect to be using the platform within a year.

Influencer marketing is a popular way for big companies and small businesses alike to reach a broader audience with social media strategy.

75% of marketers work with social media influencers 

A 2019 study published by researchers in the Journal of Marketing found that three out of four marketers used social media influencers as part of an overall promotion strategy to generate word-of-mouth buzz and increase brand awareness. Influencer marketing is an effective strategy for online brand engagement when seen as authentic by social media audiences.

Social media influencers drive entertainment recommendations

Influencers are driving what people are watching and playing. Sixty-three percent of Gen Z and 48% of millennials discover new video games through gaming content creators, and more than half of Gen Z respondents said they chose to play a video game because of an influencer. As for streaming video, 60% of Gen Z reported preferring user-generated content (UGC) videos. This was in part because they don’t like searching streaming platforms for what to watch.

More older adults are following influencers

The number of baby boomers following social media influencers has jumped 12% since 2021. Older adults say their main reasons for using social media include keeping up with family and reading news stories. Notably, however, baby boomers are more likely than ever to use social platforms to find new products, follow influencers and celebrities and watch sports.

Not everyone uses social media the same. Platform choice and time spent on social media vary widely for a variety of reasons. Here’s some insight on average users and what draws them in, including Instagram statistics and TikTok statistics.

The average user spends about 2.5 hours per day on social media 

The typical social media user will spend two hours and 23 minutes on social media every day. This time is spread across an average of six to seven social media platforms. That amounts to more than 36 days of social media usage every year. Taking into account sleep and other activities, this means the average user will spend 14% of their life on social media activity.

98% of TikTok content comes from about 25% of users 

About a quarter of TikTok users are responsible for almost all content on the platform. This means the vast majority of TikTok users only watch videos without posting any themselves. Research has shown the same is true with Twitter (now called X). Only a fraction of Twitter users actually post their own tweets.

Young people get most of their news from social media

A 2021 Gallup poll found that 45% of Americans aged 15 to 24 used social media — more than any other source — to stay informed about current events and news. Only 15% of this age group reported television as their most common source of news, and only 14% said they checked online news sites most often.

Time on social media dipped recently, except in North America 

Social media usage is up in North American countries but down worldwide. For only the second time since 2012, social media usage in early 2024 decreased in Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Overall, the average time spent on social media has remained fairly consistent over the last few years, indicating that platform usage and interest have potentially reached a ceiling.

Research on the negative results of social media is often inconclusive 

An analysis of the current research on social media platforms usage and mental health found that in general, there is no conclusive link between social media and major mental health issues. Some studies have linked social media usage to depression and anxiety rates or issues with self-esteem in young people. Other studies have found no clear causation.

More than half of teens say it would be difficult to give up social media 

Social media habits among young people have been in the spotlight, especially as American teens report using multiple social media platforms daily. In one Pew research study, 54% of teenagers said they’d find it difficult to give up social media. Respondents aged 13-14 were less likely to say this than respondents aged 15-17.

The arrival of Facebook on college campuses was linked to declines in mental health

One study in 2022 analyzed college student mental health data before and after Facebook was introduced on their campus. The results showed student mental health was negatively impacted by Facebook’s arrival on college campuses, which in turn impacted student academic performance. Researchers pointed to the possibility of the social media platform leading to greater “social comparisons” as creating a decline in mental health.

Deactivating Facebook was linked to better perceived well-being 

One study found that deactivating Facebook for four weeks increased well-being in the eyes of users. This finding was based on users self-reporting they had better general well-being when not using the platform. Deactivating their accounts also resulted in participants taking part in more offline activities, and led to participants using Facebook less in the long term, even after the study had concluded.

45% of people check social media before making a purchase

Just under half of consumers worldwide say they check social media for reviews and insights before making a purchase. People are most likely to check social media before buying a mobile phone or other technology products such as TVs or household appliances. This signals to businesses that a marketing strategy and social media presence is important to establish a brand and build trust with potential customers.

Social media marketing is proven to influence purchases

Psychology research demonstrates that social media marketing activities do influence customer intentions. This suggests social media is an effective marketing tool as businesses try to reach consumers online. Social identification with brands has been cited as particularly important when influencing customer behavior. In essence, the more someone identifies with a brand personally, the more likely they are to intend to buy that product or service.

Social media advertising is linked to impulse buying

A recent study confirmed social media advertising can increase the likelihood of a consumer making a quick impulse purchase. This gives new insight into consumer behavior as marketers decide ad spending, develop digital marketing plans and implement social media ad strategies. Social media ads differ from other content, such as organic posts from businesses. When a brand uses advertising content to attract its target audience, it can prompt consumers to make a snap decision to buy.

Social media user struggle to identify AI-powered bots

As ChatGPT and similar platforms surge in popularity, artificial intelligence (AI) applications on social media loom large in the discussion of potential risks. AI might make it difficult to spot bots online. Researchers at Notre Dame University asked study participants in a recent project to engage in political discourse with AI-powered bots and real people. Then researchers asked participants to identify the bots. Fifty-eight percent of the time, participants could not tell when they were interacting with an AI-powered bot.

Social media is influencing traditional media

Researchers have found a connection between trending topics on social media and news topics, indicating online conversations influence what traditional news outlets, such as television news stations, choose to cover. Social media acts as an “attention driver” that signals to news outlets what topics are popular among internet users on the top social media apps, researchers wrote in the European Journal of Information Systems. When social media trends attract public attention, it’s more likely traditional news outlets will cover the activity.

Frequently Asked Questions About Social Media Statistics

What is the most used social media platform?

Facebook has the largest user base of any social media platform in the world. There are more than 3 billion active Facebook users on a monthly basis.

How many people use social media?

An estimated 5 billion people use social media worldwide, or about 63% of the population.

How much time does Gen Z spend on social media?

Gen Z spends more time on social media than other age groups. In one study, Gen Z was the most likely to report using social media for two hours or more daily.

Is social media usage increasing in 2024?

The average time spent on social media is increasing in North America but has plateaued in other regions. Early 2024 saw a decline in time spent on social media in Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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