Social media users up 9% globally: YouTube pips Facebook as TikTok rises


YouTube has topped the chart as the social media platform with the most users last year, followed by Facebook, according to new research.


That’s according to the Digital 2019 report, produced by Hootsuite and We Are Social, which also found that quarter-on-quarter growth in Snapchat advertising reach declined by 14%.

Some other key findings include:

• On average, internet users in the UK have 7 social media accounts
• 2.026 billion mobile apps were downloaded in 2018
o The average number of apps on a mobile device was 96, however less than half (34 apps) are used on average per month
• TikTok, a Chinese social app similar to the now defunct short video network Vine, is the fourth most downloaded smartphone app globally.
• The dating app, Tinder, generated the most revenue in 2018 out of all apps available on the Google Play Store and iOS app stores
• 13% of internet users use social media for work purposes

The eighth annual report, which examines digital trends and social media use across 230 countries and territories, uncovered that more than one million new people go online every day, and that 45% of the world— nearly 3.5 billion people annually—are logging in to their favorite social platforms. That’s a near 9% increase year-over-year despite growing concerns of fake news, fake followers and data privacy in 2018.

“Although social media came under increased scrutiny and saw diminished trust among users in 2018, people around the world are spending more time on social—the global daily average is now 2 hours and 16 minutes, or one seventh of their waking lives.” noted Penny Wilson, CMO of Hootsuite. “But to capture the attention of customers, brands need to rethink how they engage on social. Businesses must be respectful of their customers’ privacy, while still creating personal 1:1 connections via content that’s important, interesting and timely to the audience while being genuine and authentic to their brands.”

Delivering content for mobile consumption has become increasingly critical as the majority of active social users—3.25 billion—are accessing social networks through their mobile devices. However, which social networks people use—and the way they’re engaging with them—is changing.

Facebook retains its position as the most popular social media network worldwide. Brands can now reach 2.121 billion people around the world with Facebook ads. And although growth is slowing, Facebook is still expanding its user base. Looking at just the last quarter of 2018, Facebook grew 1.7%, or by 37 million monthly active users. Instagram has a smaller user base than Facebook at approximately 1 billion active accounts, but it’s growing at a faster rate. Instagram grew 4.4% in the final 3 months of 2018, or by 38 million active users. The active advertising audience of Twitter and Snapchat declined by 2.7% and 12% respectively.

Jim Coleman, UK chief executive, We Are Social, said: “It’s clear that the world continues to embrace the internet and social media. Despite concerns around privacy and other negative aspects of online life, a surprising 58% of us globally are apparently unconcerned that our data is being misused; we could see this change over the next 12 months, as awareness spreads from marketing and technology communities to broader internet users.

“While the growth of mainstream social networks has slowed in Western countries, this is due to the fact that the majority of eligible audiences in Western markets already use it. Social media is now an ingrained part of everyday life in many markets and across many cultures. Brands need to develop creative, socially-led strategies to make the most of the world’s evolving online habits – especially when it comes to adapting to voice-controlled devices, which are really starting to take off both in the UK and globally.”

When it comes to messaging apps and the rise of messaging among users, Facebook also continues to dominate. The company’s investment in WhatsApp maintained its place as the global favorite in 133 countries, while Facebook Messenger is number one in 75 countries, including the United States. WeChat remains the messaging app of choice for those in China.

Global internet and social media use is also propelling e-commerce. More than 2.8 billion people purchased consumer goods via e-commerce in the past year, up 3.1%. 75% of internet users have bought something online in the past month, the majority from mobile devices. Collectively, that led to $1.786 trillion USD in global online consumer goods spending, a jump of 14% year-over-year. More and more digital e-commerce is happening on social as users enjoy the convenience of purchasing direct from their social feeds.

The 200-page Digital 2019 report is now available here.

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