Commentary

People Spend Nearly 2 1/2 Hours Daily On Social Media

People worldwide spend two hours and 25 minutes each day using social media, according to new research from We Are Social and Hootsuite. (Americans spend 18 minutes less than the global average.) 

Surprisingly, the total time spent on social media across all users remained the same as in 2019, despite the pandemic enticing people to spend more time in front of their screens.

Facebook remains the world’s most used social platform both in the U.S. and globally, followed by YouTube and WhatsApp. Facebook-owned platforms account for four of the top five most-used social platforms globally. 

The 300-page “Digital 2021” report outlines the expanded use of social media, with 45% of users aged 16 to 64 searching for brand information on social networks, and 40% using social media for work purposes.

A key consideration for marketers is how older age groups are the fastest-growing segments among some of the top social platforms’ audiences. The number of users over the age of 50 is growing more quickly than any other age group on Facebook and Snapchat.

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There are now 4.20 billion social media users around the world, representing year-on-year growth of more than 13%, and representing 490 million new users. The number of social media users is now equivalent to more than 53% of the world’s total population. The U.S. counts 299 million internet users and 240 million social media users. 

Females, regardless of age, spend more time on social media than men worldwide. Women ages 45-54 spend two hours and one minute per day, compared to one hour and 47 minutes for their male counterparts.

The top reasons for using social media are staying up to date with news and events (37%), finding funny content and entertainment (35%), filling up spare time (34%), staying in touch with friends and family (34%) and sharing videos and photos with others (28%). Nearly half (45%) visit social media sites for brand research. 

Digital channels are becoming a much more important component of advertisers’ media mix in recent months, likely due to changes in digital adoption as well as COVID-19. While it is important to note Q4 tends to be the biggest quarter of the year even in "normal" times, many data points report values for Q4 2020 than are considerably higher than Q4 2019. Advertisers spent 39% more on social media ads in Q4 2020 than the same time frame 12 months prior. 

The change in total ad impressions served via social media grew 30%, and the total number of clicks via social media ads increased 23% year-over-year. The average global click-through rate measuring clicks versus impressions stood at 1.1% in Q4, up slightly from 1% from Q3 but consistent with Q4 2020. 

Meanwhile, overall time spent online has increased, with the average internet user now spending almost 7 hours per day using the internet across all devices (7 hours 11 minutes in the U.S.).

The report pulls together a variety of sources, including materials from research agencies and news media as well as its own internal analysis. 

Here is a link to the report.

1 comment about "People Spend Nearly 2 1/2 Hours Daily On Social Media".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 17, 2021 at 9:41 a.m.

    Many surveys ---especially online surveys---ask people who may or may not be reprsentative of the total  polulation to estimate how much time they devote to various media platforms. As a rule---though there are probably exceptions----what you get is an  overstatement for digital media activity. For example, this study reports that an average American devotes just over two hours per day to social media. Yet a typical Nielsen meter finding for adults prior to the pandemic indicated about half that much usage. It may be that social media usage increased last year and it may also be that Nielsen is missing some of this activity---so I'm not saying that the study cited above is wrong. However, it's a good idea when a major finding is headlined to check what other sources have to say on the matter. Nielsen has more recent data---perhps it might share some with us.

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