As marketers, we know that brand growth is a numbers game.
Even with brand awareness, there’s a number that can describe an increase or decrease in each KPI.
However, the marketing world has changed a lot over the last decade. In particular, social media marketing has become more than just paid advertisements. Younger generations don’t even remember a time when social media wasn’t an important part of their lives!
Now more than ever, if you aren’t marketing on social media you are missing out on a lot of sales. In fact, you’re probably falling behind. Let’s take a look at the statistics behind these realities.
Social Media Usage Around the World
Social media is widely used by people all over the world. While it does require an internet connection, even this requirement is getting easier to meet. Smartphones, for instance, are easier to use than laptop or desktop computers. Even on slow internet connections, social media is opening up a new world for people in developing countries. For developed countries, social media is almost ubiquitous.
1. Between July 2019 and March 2021, social media users increased by over 13%. In raw numbers, this represents more than 376 million new users and a total social media reach of 4.20 billion.
2. Social media being used by 4.20 billion people represents just over half of the global population and represents 83.4% of internet connected people.
3. Experts believe that in five years, there will be 4.4 billion people on social media.
4. Internet users are expected to spend more than 1/3 of their internet time on social media. This total internet consumption adds up to 1.25 years. This provides many opportunities to reach customers.
5. The countries with the highest level of social media saturation are in Eastern Asia and Central America. Saturation rates in these countries stand at 84%. (Further reading: 5 Most Popular Platforms for Social Media Marketing in China)
6. European countries vary widely in social media use. Northern European countries come in first place with 79% of their population on social media. By contrast, Eastern Europe comes in last at 57%. Southern Europe (66%) and Western Europe (62%) are in the middle.
7. In the first quarter of 2020 (January-March), the average Internet user spent an average of 2 hours, 24 minutes between messaging apps and social media.
Social Media in the United States
Since the United States is both where most popular social networks were and created and home to the world’s largest economy, what goes on here is vital for most brands.
In addition, the US is home to Silicon Valley, the largest source of technological innovation in the world.
American internet-related statistics are also important because of the huge number of users concentrated in one place. Finally, Americans buy a lot of goods and services relative to their incomes.
8. In the US, at least 79% of internet users are on social media. The total number of social media users will likely reach 257 million by the end of 2023.
10. According to Emarketer, social media has a wide range of saturation based on age. Millennials lead the way with 90.4% being active users. For Gen X, that number is 77.5%, and Baby Boomers still participate at a rate of 48.2%.
11. Studies show that up to 81% of teenagers are active on social media.
12. Even when the entire adult US population is considered, social media is widely used. In fact, 68% of adults are on social media. There are few places which are so effective at reaching customers.
13. Children are getting social media profiles relatively young. In fact, an astounding 21% of 8-11-year olds are on at least one social media network. This number increases sharply in 12-15-year olds, with usage at 71%.
Social Media Usage by Device
Remember when slow desktops were the only way to access the internet? Well, times have changed. For sure, most of us have at least one laptop or desktop, if only for work or school. But for consumers in developing countries, mobile phones (and internet) are the main way to get online. In addition, children may have a greater level of access to smartphones than they do a laptop. These factors and others have led to mobile phones becoming an important way to access social media.
15. Social media users spend almost 80% of their social media time using the platform’s mobile versions.
16. About 99% of social media users will use a mobile connection to view these sites at some point.
How Social Media Users Engage with Content
Video has been a big thing ever since it came out, and modern technology has made it easier than ever to produce. The fact it hasn’t lost its luster is one thing that becomes evident from these statistics. Along with pictures, visual content is an important part of modern life. Another thing we can see from the numbers is that content doesn’t always stay on social media. Rather, the impact of content creators often spreads far beyond their native medium.
17. Sharing and engagement often happen away from where a piece of social media content was posted. In fact, 84% of content sharing happens outside of social media on other platforms, including instant messenger, email, and SMS.
18. Of all content types, visual formats are 40x more likely to be shared on social media.
19. You can get a much higher engagement rate on posts by tagging them with another location (79%) or user (56%).
20. Sharing branded video content is popular, with 74% of customers doing so.
21. Internet users are saying “no” to ads on social media, with more than 40% turning on ad blockers.
22. Video posted on social media has earned new customers for 93% of brands.
How Social Media Influencers Consumer Purchases
Like the television of the past, social media is becoming a major driver of consumer decisions. In fact, many people turn to social media to decide what to buy. In addition, customer service is sometimes done on social media. One of the reasons for this is that people like to work with brands who others say is OK, and which are attentive to consumers.
23. Among people who buy things online, 97% have accessed social media in the previous month.
24. Among American internet users between the ages of 18-34, almost 40% would like to buy things through social media.
25. Product research is one reason why 54% of internet users access social media.
27. Social media-based influencer recommendations help 49% of consumers decide what to buy.
28. For 13% of social media users, having a “buy” button would make them more likely to buy through the platform.
Social Media User Relationships with Brands
Social media is all about relationships and human connections. However, this connectedness also extends to brands.
For many internet users, social media is a major gateway to the world, and where people compare notes about products and services. Furthermore, word about events or experiences, good and bad, travels fast in this environment.
For those reasons and many more, social media is one of the best tools for reaching out to customers.
29. Among internet users ages 18-34, 95% will follow at least one brand on social media.
30. Brand discovery from online sources comes through social media 52% of the time.
31. For 43% of all internet users, social media is a major source of information on what to buy. It is also a great way to get product ideas.
32. The ability to reach brands on social media makes 21% of consumers more likely to purchase their products and services.
35. Interacting with customers on social media leads them to spend 20-40% more money on products and services.
36. Among consumers between 18 and 29, 49% admit to buying something in response to a social media ad.
What Social Media Users Expect from Brands
Now more than ever, speaking out about issues on social media is crucial for brands. In addition, users like to know about any service or product changes that are taking place. Social responsibility among companies and taking a stand on current issues are increasingly being demanded of corporations. Finally, companies should be careful about which side they are on, because some customers make buying decisions on that basis.
37. For 86% of Americans, transparency on social media is so important that they will take their business elsewhere if a brand refuses to show transparency. This is an all-time high.
38. Over half, or 53%, of social media users say that transparency regarding changes to products and services is critical. They also expect companies to express values on social media.
40. Social consciousness is important for 70% of consumers, who expect brands to take a public stand on issues that matter.
41. However, taking a stand doesn’t always have a positive result. For 55% of consumers, values are important enough that they might boycott brands they disagree with.
42. For 47% of consumers, social media is where they expect brands to express their views.
43. About 40% of consumers believe that working with a relevant nonprofit is an ideal way for brands to express their views on social media.
44. An Adobe study indicates that for 50% of Gen Z and 42% of Millennials, social media is the advertising channel they find most relevant.
45. Unfortunately, for 53% of customers there’s a belief that marketing and publicity are the only reasons companies take a stand.
How Companies are Leveraging Social Media Marketing
Fortunately, companies are rising to the challenge posed by social media marketing. For one thing, they understand that it’s important to advertise on social media. Even small businesses are rapidly building a social media presence. For another, social media marketing is resulting in huge successes for brands of all sizes.
46. According to 90% of marketers, social media is very important to their clients and business.
47. The use of social media for marketing campaigns is growing, with more than 91% of American businesses adopting this practice.
48 . 93% of marketers do business on social media.
51. According to 93% of marketers, increased exposure for brands is the primary benefit of advertising on social media.
52. 70% of marketers credit social media marketing with increased web traffic, and almost 90% say it has improved business exposure.
54. For marketers who have used social media marketing for two years or more, 50% have seen increased sales.
55. Social ad spending is expected to cost approximately $43 Billion in 2020, an increase of 20%.
What these social media statistics tell us is compelling. For most marketers and brands, social media is the place to be seen by and engage with consumers. From a consumer perspective, social media is where everything happens. Increasingly, the brands consumers interact with, and talk about, on social media guide their purchasing decisions.
While many marketers still try to find ROI from their social media marketing, perhaps the greatest ROI comes not from clicks but by simply having a presence, engaging in conversation, and responding to both questions and issues that impact our society.
Either way, regardless of how much or little ROI you glean from your social media marketing, it is simply an area that you cannot ignore in your business anymore.
Any of these social media marketing statistics surprise you?
Photo by Merakist on Unsplash