Social media is an inseparable part of our everyday lives. It is always there, from the moment we wake up until we fall asleep with our phone in hand.
But how much time do people spend on social media? And which apps get the most attention?
The answer to the latter is probably obvious to anyone with an online presence. Apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger have become almost synonymous with the term “social media”.
Impressive, considering there are 3.196 billion people actively using these networks. What’s more, the internet user of today spends an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes socializing online, and most of it happens on these six most popular platforms.
According to GlobalWebIndex, Philippines residents lead the way with 3 hours and 57 minutes a day on social media channels. Second place goes to the Brazilians with 3 hours and 39 minutes. Last are the Japanese with only 48 minutes of social media time.
Between April and September of 2018, 83% of all internet-users were engaged with social media. And only 24% of those find it has a positive effect on their work.
Such a vast topic is perfect for a TechJury piece, so I dug out some details to tie each social media site or app with accurate daily numbers.
In 2019, 3.48 billion people use social media, and 2.23 billion of them are active monthly users on Facebook.
The biggest social media platform is mainly used for networking. However, media watching has always been a part of Facebook – be it uploading a photo or streaming a video, we still spend a lot of time on the site.
An eMarketer research shows US citizens (aged 18+) spend 43 minutes per day on Facebook. This is a seven-minute increase compared to the rates in 2014. It usually consists of one longer visit and lots of shorter ones.
In 2018, the average time spent on the mobile Facebook app was around 58 minutes a day.
This doesn’t come as a surprise, as 95.1% of all Facebook visitors access it through mobile devices. The network is a big part of why the daily average time spent on a phone gets higher every year.
Part of this is due to the 2,055 billion active users that now access the network through their smartphone or tablet. Scrolling through your newsfeed has become possible virtually anywhere. There are even 10 million active accounts on feature phones.
In comparison, only 31.8% (687 million) unique accounts check Facebook from a laptop and/or a PC exclusively.
Since November 2018, Android and iOS users can check how much time they spend on the network with the “Your Time on Facebook” app as well. You can find it under the Settings and Privacy tab.
It can also tell you if you spend more time than your peers there. It is there to remind you there’s life beyond Facebook.
YouTube maintains a solid second place in the “most used social media” category.
79% of all internet users own a YouTube account (Facebook sitting at 85%). However, the video and streaming platform has the most active users – 86% of all people on the Web visit it actively.
The majority of them point out entertainment as their main reason to visit the site.
In other news, Futuresource Consulting data from 2016 has some interesting points regarding UK users, aged 3-16. According to them, a tad over 10% of them watch more than 3 hours of YouTube videos daily.
In addition, VAB research from 2017 shows the average person spent 1163 minutes per month on YouTube. This equals to a little over 38 minutes a day. However, the actual watch time on the platform has grown by 60% between 2016 and 2017.
I can only imagine what those results will be for 2019.
Additionally, statistics also show users prefer to watch YouTube videos on their smartphone or tablet – those account for 70% of all YouTube views. To back that claim, YouTube stated their 1.8 billion users spend an average of 1 hour a day watching videos on their mobile device in 2018.
Last August, the video giant gave users the option to track how much time they spend on the platform each day. Anyone can check it for themselves.
Messenger – Time Spent on Social Media Statistics
58% of people in North America use social media to stay connected to their friends and close ones, according to a GlobalWebIndex graph.
It doesn’t come as a surprise, then, to see Messenger and WhatsApp having such a high usage rate. The former hosts the accounts of 72% of all internet users, while the latter has this figure at 66%.
There is an obvious explanation for why that is. Humans are social creatures and, as such, we need connection. With the rise of the smartphone (and the tablet), reaching out to another human being is 1-2 taps away. These apps’ business model is based on an innate human desire, which is why it works so well.
Therefore, we can reasonably expect the average time spent on social media to rise further.
New information that supports this claim continues to surface – a SimilarWeb article from Q1 of 2016 says Americans were spending an average of 48.5 minutes a day on Kakao, while their Messenger usage is registered at 9.36 minutes per day.
Regardless, things are looking up for Facebook Messenger as well. An eMarketer article suggests an 11.8 million US user growth for the app in the next four years. This would mean a staggering 138.1 million users will access the app in the US alone by 2022.
Naturally, users access Messenger mainly on mobile, with a small percentage using only the desktop app. Some even use it from their Apple Watch.
How Much Time Do People Spend on Social Media with WhatsApp?
Messenger may have a bigger user base in general, but WhatsApp has the most active users in recent years. 60% of all people on the Web use WhatsApp. Whatsapp’s userbase in India alone is 400 million. For Messenger, this figure is at 55%. They are both owned by Facebook, though, so what seems like competition is actually kind of a rigged race.
ExpandedRamblings estimates 2 billion minutes worth of calls is conducted daily in WhatsApp. No surprise there, considering it is the top messaging app in 128 countries as of 2018.
In 2016, United States users spent an average of 28.4 minutes a day in WhatsApp. The total user base back then was 18.8 million. Statista estimates the number will grow to 25.6 million in 2022.
If you’ve ever asked yourself “how much time do we spend on social media”, well – the figures are astounding. They don’t show any sign of slowing down either – social media usage (and WhatsApp’s in particular) will only grow in the future.
Granted – Kik, WeChat, and Kakao boast better engagement in terms of minutes in the US, yet WhatsApp already seems like the inevitable leader among the messaging services.
Current user engagement is not the best metric that can predict how the service will grow in the future. It’s relatively easier to optimize user experience compared to attracting said users in the first place. Arguably then, the number of people using an app is a better litmus test. With WhatsApp being the undisputed champion in this category, chances are it will continue to grow with impressive steps.
Instagram – Average Time Spend on Social Media per Day in 2018
In June 2018, Instagram users worldwide reached 1 billion. For those of you not counting, that was a 200+ million jump since September 2017.
63% of all people connected to the internet have a registered Instagram account. 58% of those are active users, making it more used than Messenger on a daily basis.
However, Instagram stats from June 2018 shed light on the astonishing app progress. 400 million active daily users spent 53 minutes per day on the platform – just a 5-minute difference compared to Facebook.
When it comes to time spent on the internet, statistics really paint a vivid picture, don’t they?
In January 2019, daily usage on Instagram averages at 15 minutes, according to SocialPilot. Keep in mind this is an average for all users, not just the active ones.
Instagram is mostly used for entertainment, but it already has solid messaging features. Doesn’t necessarily mean it will try to go after WhatsApp’s market. Still, it’s one more reason for users to spend more time on the platform. I’m sure that’s what their CEO thinks as well.
How Much Time Do People Spend on Social Media – Twitter
6% of teens in the US name Twitter as their most used social network. In January 2019, 326 million users were active on Twitter on a monthly basis. Some 9 million less than the summer of 2018, which can be worrisome for the platform.
A 2019 survey shares Twitter users only set aside 2.7 minutes a day to use the site. Most visits are done via desktop (82 million users), while mobile falls behind with 31 million.
In addition, three-quarters of Twitter visitors claim to use it to check the news. In a sense, we can say this social media focuses on adult users as a main demographic.
Social media platforms offer an ever-wider variety of things to do.
Be it to check on your friends, fill up free time, stalk your ex, become famous, or find the right outfit for a return to the real world.
Social media has a powerful influence on our daily activities as well. It can affect what we buy, what we like and dislike, and which places we choose to visit. This simple networking concept is arguably just a front for a robust marketing machine running in the background.
“How much time do people spend on social media?” then becomes important in terms of revenue as well.
Brands are aware that social media can make or break their business, and they are using it anyway they can.
With this much money to make, these apps will keep growing – that much is certain. It only remains to be seen how we’ll choose to use them. Misuse the power, and you’ll wreak havoc in a world that already has way too much of it. Use them right, and you’ll find yourself with a powerful tool to uplift and inspire.