42 Top Social Media Statistics For 2021: Usage, Demographics, Trends

The social media landscape is ever-changing. New platforms come and go, social marketing strategies evolve, and every generation of consumers brings new ways of interacting with social platforms.

In this post, we’ll be revealing the most important social media statistics you need to know.

These stats show you the state of the social landscape this year and reveal interesting insights about how both brands and users are behaving across different platforms.

Social media usage statistics

Let’s start by taking a look at some up-to-date social media usage statistics and trends.

1. Over 4 billion people use social media

To put that figure into perspective, the entire global population is around 7.67 billion – that means over half of the entire world’s population is on social media.

If that wasn’t shocking enough, consider the fact that only 4.66 billion people are internet users, meaning almost 90% of all internet users are on social media. That’s a pretty incredible level of market penetration, huh? (Source: We Are Social October Statshot)

1 Hootsuite Social media usage statistic

2. 98% of internet users aged 16 to 64 used social media in the last month

If we look specifically at the 16-64 age range, a whopping 98% of people access social media, and 90% of them actively engage or contribute to social platforms. (Source: Influencer Marketing Hub)

3. The average person has 8 social accounts

8.3 to be exact. Note, though, that this doesn’t necessarily mean active social accounts. Many of the social accounts people have are dormant. (Source: Hootsuite)

4. The average user spends nearly 2.5 hours on social media

That’s been growing steadily year on year for the past decade. In 2012, the average time spent on social media was just 1.5 hours. (Source: Statista)

4 Statista Social media usage statistic

5. 66% of employees use social media to talk to their colleagues

Somewhat surprisingly, social media is still popular even in a work setting. The majority of employees (66%) will communicate with their colleagues via social media, but email still dominates as the primary form of workplace communication (92%). (Source: We Are Social)

Social media marketing statistics

Next, let’s look at some of the most important social media marketing statistics that brands and marketers should be aware of this year.

6. Social media ad spend surged by nearly 30% in 2020

If you thought the pandemic of 2020 would mean businesses spent less on social advertising as budgets tighten, think again. Social media ad spend actually grew enormously in 2020 as businesses shifted their marketing budgets to digital channels. For example, the third-quarter of 2020 saw ad spends grow 27.6% compared to the year before. (Source: Socialbakers)

6 Socialbakers Social media marketing statistic

7. 50% of 16-24-year-olds research products on social media

This data from the GlobalWebIndex social media trends 2020 reports shows how younger consumers are increasingly using social platforms to inform their purchase decisions.

7 GlobalWebIndex Social media marketing statistic

8. Social marketers rate identifying and reaching their target audience as their #1 challenge

Measuring ROI has long been one of the biggest challenges facing social marketers, but this year, it came second to identifying and reaching their target audience. If this is one of the biggest hurdles facing your SMM efforts, you’re not the only one. (Source: Sprout Social)

8 Sprout Social Social media marketing statistic

9. 69% of marketers use social media to build brand awareness

Comparatively, 52% use social marketing to drive traffic, and 40% to drive sales. This reflects the fact that social marketing seems to be better suited to brand awareness goals rather than direct-response goals. (Source: Sprout Social)

9 Sprout Social Social media marketing statistic

10. 57% of consumers follow brands to hear about new products/services

This is good news for brands hoping to use social media to help generate a buzz over a new product launch – your followers are waiting for exactly that! (Source: Sprout Social)

10 Sprout Social Social media marketing statistic

11. 49% of users who follow brands unfollow due to poor customer service

The takeaway: if you’re losing followers more quickly than you’d like to, you might want to reevaluate your customer service efforts. (Source: Sprout Social)

11 Sprout Social Social media marketing statistic

12. The average ROI of influencer marketing per dollar spent is $5.78

If you plan on working with social media influencers as part of your campaign, this is a useful benchmark to compare your results against. (Source: Influencer Marketing Hub)

12 Influencer Marketing Hub Social media marketing statistic

Facebook statistics

Alright, moving onto what continues to be the leading social platform: Facebook. Here are a few enlightening Facebook statistics for 2021 worth taking note of.

13. Facebook has around 2.7 billion active users

Without access to official figures, that’s the best guess we have as of October 2020. It also means Facebook is still the number one most popular social media platform by active users. (Source: We Are Social)

14. Facebook has an ad reach of 2.14 billion users

Ad reach refers to the total number of people that Facebook can reach with advertisements. 2.14 billion is an impressive figure. (Source: Hootsuite)

15. The average Facebook engagement rate across industries is 0.09%

The success of a social campaign is often measured by the engagement rate of your posts. If you’re wondering whether your performing above or below average, this is a useful figure to measure yourself up against. (Source: RivalIQ)

15 RivalIQ Facebook statistic

16. The optimal Facebook video length for engagement is 2-5 minutes

This is the video length to aim for if you want to generate the maximum number of likes, shares, and comments. (Source: SocialPilot)

17. 52% of US adults use Facebook as a news source

Consumers seem to use Facebook in a markedly different way than other social platforms. 52% of adults in the US get their news on Facebook, compared to just 14% on Instagram, and 1% on TikTok. The upshot for brands is that Facebook is probably the best place to release your press releases and brand updates.

18. Almost 80% of Facebook users will ONLY access the app via mobile

Desktop usage of Facebook is lagging far beyond mobile. Only 1.7% of users will only access via their laptop or desktop, compared to 98.3% on any kind of mobile device. (Source: Statista)

18 Statista Facebook statistic

19. Square videos outperform landscape videos on Facebook by 35%

According to a study by Buffer, square videos generate more views and engagements than landscape and letterbox videos on Facebook, likely due to the platform’s large number of mobile users.

19 Buffer Facebook statistic

20. Facebook traffic is greatest at midday, mid-week

According to Sprout Social, the best time to post your content to Facebook is between 11 AM and 2 PM on Wednesdays and Thursdays. These are the times at which you can expect the highest engagement figures.

20 Sprout Social Facebook statistic

Check out our Facebook statistics article for more.

Twitter statistics

Below are a handful of insightful Twitter statistics that tell you more about how internet users are interacting with this popular social networking service.

21. Twitter has an estimated 340 million users

We don’t have any official user data to work with as Twitter chooses not to publish that, but the experts’ best guesses based on their advertising reach is around 340 million. (Source: Hootsuite)

22. Over 500 million tweets are sent per day

Or around 6,000 per second. That’s a lot. (Source: Dsayce)

23. The average Twitter engagement rate across industries was 0.045% in 2020

That’s been pretty consistent for the last 3 years and is roughly half the average engagement rate of Facebook. In general, marketers should expect lower engagement rates on Twitter compared to other social platforms. (Source: RivalIQ)

23 RivalIQ Twitter statistic

24. Falsehoods are 70% more likely to be retweeted than true statements

2020 was a year in which the issue of ‘misinformation’ really came into the spotlight – and Twitter was at the center of the controversy. This statistic from an MIT study illustrates just how easy it is for fake news to spread online.

But just because falsehoods tend to generate a lot of social shares on Twitter, it doesn’t mean you should be spreading them. Deliberately spreading fake news as part of your social strategy is a surefire way to damage your brand reputation.

25. 87% of Twitter users also use Facebook

And 93% of Twitter users use YouTube. Cross-platform usage is peaking in 2021 as users spread their time across different social networks. (Source: Influencer Marketing Hub)

Check out our Twitter statistics article for more.

Instagram statistics

Check out these Instagram statistics to find out what’s new with the world’s most popular photo and video sharing social network.

26. There are over 1 billion active users on Instagram

That makes it the second most popular social network worldwide if you don’t include YouTube and messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat. (Source: Statista)

26 Statista Instagram statistic

27. The average Instagram user spends 30 minutes on the platform per day

According to eMarketer, Instagram users were expected to spend around 30 minutes per day on the platform in 2020. That’s 4 minutes more than the year prior. The revised estimation was based on the impact of the pandemic, which encouraged people to spend more time browsing social media as they were forced to stay indoors.

28. The average Instagram engagement rate across industries is 1.22% in 2020

Surprisingly, this is actually down from the year before, when the average engagement rate was around 1.6%. It’s a useful benchmark to compare your engagement rates against, but remember that the real average varies dramatically by industry. (Source: RivalIQ)

28 RivalIQ Instagram statistic

Be sure to check out our Instagram statistics article for more.

TikTok statistics

TikTok is the new kid on the block in the social space. Here are some TikTok statistics that tell you what you need to know about this rapidly-growing social platform in 2021.

30. The number of TikTok users is expected to surpass 1.2 billion this year

There were around 800 million TikTok users in 2020, but in light of its explosive global growth, it’s expected to grow to over 1.2 billion users in 2021. (Source: App Annie)

31. TikTok has been downloaded over 2 billion times to date

In 2020, it also ranked as the most downloaded app ever in a single quarter. This was probably partially due to the flood of consumers looking for new content during the pandemic, but it also is reflective of TikTok’s meteoric growth in recent years. (Source: App Annie)

32. 29% of US teens say TikTok is their preferred social platform

This makes it the runner-up in the teen social platform popularity ratings. Snapchat took the number one spot at 34%. What continues to be clear is a marked shift away from traditional platforms like Facebook amongst younger consumers. (Source: eMarketer)

33. 38.8% of TikTok users are 18-24 years old

This is another stat that illustrates the soaring popularity of TikTok amongst the new generation of consumers. (Source: Influencer Marketing Hub)

33 Influencer Marketing Hub TikTok statistic

34. Over 40% of TikTok users are from wealthy families

Interestingly, many TikTok users tend to come from high-income families. 40.2% come from households with an annual income of over $100k, according to Marketing Charts.

34 Marketing Charts TikTok statistic

Check out our TikTok statistics article for more.

YouTube statistics

Last but not least, let’s take a look at some of the most relevant YouTube statistics.

36. Over 2 billion users log-in to YouTube each month

YouTube commands a huge number of active users. It’s surpassed only by Facebook. (Source: YouTube)

37. YouTube users consume over a billion hours of content every day

Yikes. That’s a lot of watch time. Users tend to spend a lot of time on YouTube compared to many other platforms due to the nature of the content. Videos on YouTube are frequently more than 10 minutes long, whereas videos on social networks like TikTok and Instagram tend to be much shorter. (Source: YouTube)

38. The average YouTube view duration is around 50%

One thing that’s certain about YouTube is that viewer retention, watch time, and view duration are incredibly important metrics. YouTube pushes videos that keep people’s attention to a greater number of viewers, so the longer people stick around and watch your videos, the better it’ll perform.

We don’t have any clear-cut metrics to go by as to what constitutes a ‘good’ view duration as there doesn’t seem to be any large-scale studies, but 50% seems to be a good benchmark to aim for. (Source: Uhuru Network)

39. YouTube is the most visited website in the world

Data from Broadband Search shows YouTube received more than 8.5 billion monthly global visitors in 2020. That’s more than twice as much as Facebook, which came in second place with around 3.48 billion monthly visitors.

Most important social media trends to watch

I think we can all agree that 2020 was a pretty wild ride – and 2021 seems to be shaping up in much the same way.

Before we wrap up, here are some statistics that show the most important changes we expect to see in 2021 as a result of recent world events. Brands, take note.

40. Niche social platforms are growing amidst mainstream platform policy changes

One of the most dramatic shifts that we’ve seen was a change in mainstream platform policy regarding extremist and misleading content in early 2021. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other leading platforms have clamped down on dangerous content in the wake of the US capitol riots and more strictly enforced their policies.

As a result, many users unhappy with these changes have shifted to other niche platforms that have since seen dramatic jumps in engagement. Amongst these were Parler; which added 4.5 million users in a single week after the election, alt-tech platform MeWe; which gained over 110,000 users in a single weekend in January, and Gab.

Many brands will be wondering whether they should develop their presence on these emerging platforms, but whether or not that’s a good idea is a difficult question to answer – this is uncharted territory.

It’s like that, in most cases, the damage to brand reputation likely to occur as a result of maintaining a presence on less mainstream sites means it’s not worth taking the risk. (Source: Yonder)

41. 37.2% of people are expected to interact with AR on social media in 2021

According to eMarketer, 30% of users had interactions with AR on social media each month in 2020. This is expected to grow to 37.2% this year. Brands, make sure you’re ready to capitalize on this new content trend.

41 eMarketer Important statistical trends

42. Pinterest is the dark horse that you should be keeping an eye on

Pinterest often flies under the radar and gets overlooked by marketers who focus on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – but that’s a mistake. In the third quarter of 2020, Pinterest reported year on year revenue growth of 58%.

Their global user base also grew 37% year on year to 442 million. If you’ve overlooked Pinterest, that’s a huge potential audience you could be missing out on an opportunity to reach. (Source: Pinterest)

Final thoughts

There you have it – the social media statistics, trends, and facts you need to inform your strategy. Hopefully, you gained some valuable insights from these data points that’ll help you to make the most of your SMM campaigns this year.

Just remember that the most important data you can leverage is your own. This is why it’s important to ensure you have a social media analytics platform in place. You could take things a step further by leveraging social listening to uncover marketing opportunities and additional data to inform your marketing efforts.