2 Billion People Using Social Media

Over a quarter of the earth’s population (two billion people, or 29%) was plugged into online social networks in 2014, and these numbers are growing fast, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics: total users will increase to 2.2 billion, or 31% of the earth’s population, in 2015, and 2.72 billion or 36% of the total by 2019.

No surprise -- social media advertising revenue is also soaring, with Facebook getting the lion’s share of the loot. Facebook now boasts 1.4 billion monthly active users, or 68% of the world’s social network user base. Its revenues reflect this dominant position: last year Facebook raked in $11.4 billion in ad revenues, or 75% of social media’s total of $15.3 billion, followed by Twitter at $1.2 billion, or 8% of the total. SA predicts total social network ad revenues will grow to reach $19.8 billion in 2015 and $24.2 billion in 2016.

SA noted that Facebook’s achievement is especially impressive since it doesn’t have an official presence in China, which accounts for a quarter of the social media marketplace. Overall residents of the Asia-Pacific region account for 46% of social network users. However North America had the largest proportion of social network users as a share of its population, at 64%, followed by Europe at 55%.

The U.S. also leads that way in social network advertising, with $6.2 billion in spending, or 41% of the global total in 2014; social network ad spending per user in the U.S. came to $31.37 in 2014, and is expected to reach $39.84 this year. Next up in terms of global share was the UK with 8.2%, followed closely by China in third place with 8%.

This meteoric growth has been enabled in large part by increasing smartphone penetration. In a previous report, SA stated that the total number of global smartphone users reached 2.1 billion in 2014, up from 1.5 billion the year before. SA forecast the number will increase to 2.5 billion in 2015, or 35% of the world’s 7.2 billion people.

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