Social media has garnered a lot of negative headlines recently, but that doesn’t seem to be deterring users. In fact, a new report released by social media management firm Hootsuite in conjunction with We Are Social shows that there has been a rise of nearly 9% year over year in the number of people logging into social media platforms.

According to the Digital 2019 Report, the global daily average of time spent on social media has reached 2 hours and 16 minutes, which represents roughly a seventh of people’s daily lives. In fact, 45 per cent of the world – or 3.5 billion people each year – are using social media, 3.25 billion of whom are doing so with their mobile devices.

Hootsuite Chief Marketing Officer Penny Wilson said that brands that wish to grab customers’ attention need to rethink the ways they are engaging on social media. It’s important to strike the right balance between respecting privacy and creating personal one-on-one connections with timely and relevant content, she stated.

How are the various platforms faring?

While social media use isn’t slowing down, the networks users prefer and their methods of engagement are indeed evolving. Although growth is slowing at Facebook, it has managed to hold onto its position as the planet’s most popular social media network, enabling brands to reach 2.121 billion individuals globally via Facebook ads. In the last quarter of 2018, it saw its number of monthly active users grow by 37 million.

Instagram, meanwhile, may be looking at a smaller user base at 1 billion active accounts, but its growth has eclipsed that of Facebook. They attracted 38 million active users in the last quarter of 2018 in growth of 4.4 per cent, which handily outpaced Facebook’s 1.7 per cent growth. Snapchat and Twitter, however, have seen their active advertising audiences decline by 12 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively.

We Are Social UK Chief Executive Jim Coleman pointed out that privacy issues are not putting users off, with a surprising 58 per cent saying they are not concerned about data misuse. In addition, he believes that the fact that social network growth has been slowing in Western countries is down to most people in these areas already being firmly on board. That’s why it’s time for brands to start getting creative, he says – for example, by adapting to voice-controlled devices.

In terms of messaging apps, WhatsApp is dominating in 133 countries, while Facebook Messenger is tops in 75 countries including the U.S.; WeChat is the top choice for Chinese consumers.

All this social media use is having a positive effect on e-commerce, with a rise of 3.1 per cent in those making e-commerce purchases in the last year. Three fourths of internet users have made an online purchase during the past month, and most of these are coming from mobile devices.

Tobias Matthews

Tobias Matthews


Writer at Fourth Source.