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Global Social Media Usage: Facts and Figures

Social media use is prevalent here in the United States. But, how does it look elsewhere around the world?

Recently, eMarketer took some time to examine global social network usage. They released their findings in a report titled “Global Social Media StatPack: Platforms, Users and Devices” and discussed the data in an episode of their “Behind The Numbers” podcast.

Below are some of the key facts and figures worthy of your attention

Social media usage worldwide continues to grow.

By the end of 2017, the world will have roughly 2.5 billion social network users. To put it in perspective, that’s roughly a third of the globe’s entire population. According to eMarketer analysts, more than seven in 10 internets users worldwide are also on social media.

Not surprisingly, China has the highest number of social media users in the globe. The world’s most populous nation is forecasted to have 600-million social network users according to eMarketer. In the Asia Pacific region, China is followed by India with 260-million users and Indonesia with 87 million. And despite the large number of users, there’s still plenty room for growth in Asian Pacific countries. You can point to India, the world’s second most populous country, as an example, where social media penetration is just at 20 percent.

Meanwhile in Europe, Russia claims the most social media users with 75-million people. Germany and the United Kingdom come tied at second with 40-million users. Across the Atlantic, the US leads all North American users with 190-million people followed by Brazil (100 million) and Mexico (66 million) rounding out the top three.

Facebook is the world’s most popular social network, but there are some countries where it trails in usage.

In June, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook had reached 2-billion users. Its expansion doesn’t appear to be slowing down with eMarketer forecasting 9.4 percent growth this year.

Despite Facebook’s origins as a North American-made service, its popularity has been exceeded by the rest of the world. eMarketer expects Facebook to have 561-million users in the Asia Pacific region and 279-million users in Latin America this year. In comparison, North America has roughly 190-million Facebook users.

Two of the most notable countries where Facebook usage trails or is non-existent are Russia and China. WeChat is China’s most popular social platform. It’s experienced significant growth due to being a network that provides a variety functions, including payments and taxi bookings. It’s growth is also aided by Facebook’s absence in China, which blocks access to the world’s most popular social platform.

Meanwhile in Russia, Facebook is the third-most used social network. VKontakte is the nation’s most popular platform and owns an advantage over Facebook due to the language barrier as well as being first to market. Launched nearly 10 years ago, VK has a design that’s fairly similar to Facebook and boasts features like music access, which keeps Russians from making the switch.

Defining social media usage: the debate between monthly and daily use as well as other key observations.

Trends become clearer when examining daily usage compared to monthly. Networks like Snapchat don’t release monthly usage numbers while companies like Facebook release both. In fact, two-thirds of Facebook’s user base access it daily.

How usage is defined also varies between platforms. As a result, all companies have very different perspectives on what usage data they make public. Networks like Facebook and Twitter are becoming more content-consumption based. Users on those networks spend more time scanning their feeds for videos, news, photos and other fascinating pieces of content. Meanwhile, platforms like Snapchat and Instagram have taken the mantle as more share-centric.

Additional Anecdotes

  • In the US, there were 6.5 billion visits via desktop and mobile in May 2017.

  • Facebook use is frequent. Roughly 70 percent of Facebook users are on it daily – more than Instagram users on Instagram, Snapchat users on Snapchat and Twitter users on Twitter.

  • Among the Nordic countries, Snapchat is performing best in Norway, where it’s used by 53 percent of internet users there. That’s more than Denmark (39 percent), Sweden (26 percent) and Finland (17 percent).

  • Social media share of time spent online is very high in Mexico, 37 percent to be exact. Above a third of the time online in Mexico is spent using social media.

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