Update on the Continued Growth of Social Media

Earlier this year, the team at Pixel Road Designs trawled through the big data of our favourite social media platforms to deliver a snapshot of the industry’s growth from 2010-2015. From our own use we already know the powerful influence these platforms can have in the interactions businesses and brands have with the average internet user, but these figures reveal a behemoth that some may be surprised to learn is still growing, and is as pervasive as ever. We have all heard the phrase ‘everyone who wants a Facebook account already has one’, but even that beast grew year over year, and surely its growth strategies project beyond the, albeit remarkable, achievement of roping in 47% of the globe’s internet users (so far).

In collaboration with Search Engine Journal, Pixel Road Designs open their snapshot with a missive by Gary Vaynerchuk aimed at critics of social media marketing, who often debate its ROI: ‘[they’re] not playing the marathon. They’re playing the sprint. They’re not worrying about lifetime value and retention’. It is no longer a special opportunity that a good portion of a brand’s customers are on social media, now that the majority of the world’s population of internet users have an account somewhere, and most of those are active. Facebook and YouTube both have over a billion users, and Instagram, Google Plus, Twitter, Tumbler, Snapchat, Pinterest and Linked In all have virtual populations that exceed many countries.

71% of connected adults, who are much more likely to have a disposable income than younger users, are reachable on Facebook alone, while 23%-28% of them are likely to use LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and/or Twitter respectively. Cashed up or not, the globe’s 2.1 billion social media users are spending more time on their favourite platforms than they might do eating a meal. Facebook’s 1.55 billion users spend a whopping 42 minutes a day on the site on average, with Tumblr’s 230 million users not far behind at 34 minutes a day spent hanging out on the blogging platform. It’s no surprise that Google Plus users spend only 7 minutes a day, on average, on the dying platform, while it may shock some that LinkedIn’s 97 million users are pretty close to that at only 10 minutes. Pinterest proves though that catering to a niche, in contrast to Facebook’s approach of being everywhere, doesn’t have to result in significantly less engagement, with its 100 million plus users spending 21 minutes a day on the service, much like Instagram’s 400 million photo lovers also spending 21 minutes a day on its service.

The desktop isn’t dead for social media platforms, but mobile has quickly grown up to achieve majority use status on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit and (somehow) Google Plus. Snapchat and Instagram almost only exist on mobile, while users of LinkedIn and Tumblr still find the desktop most attractive for accessing those platforms, perhaps due to the presence of more complex, long form content.

We’ve said it before and we will say it again: marketers simply can’t ignore social media in 2016. Forget the challenge of properly defining ROI from every post of cute kittens for a moment and consider the repercussions of ignoring social; consequently giving your competitors free reign of marketing channels that lead directly into the personal lives of half the world’s internet connect population, who are more than willing to grant their undivided attention for extended periods of time, and in ways unique to the rapidly evolving digital age.

For more interesting facts from Search Engine Journal and Pixel Road Design’s snapshot of the industry, please see their amazingly informative infographic below.


Michael feels privileged to be part of the #SMPerth community as its first intern.