Marketing analytics & reporting

How much time do people spend on social media (11 insights)

Some people might be solely active on messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Line, and WeChat. In contrast, others are virtual social butterflies and have accounts on social networking sites such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. Others are active on professional networking channels like LinkedIn for connecting with individuals of similar career descent. Here are some mind-blowing facts about how much time do people spend on social media.

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Indrė Jankutė-Carmaciu

Aug 31 2020 8 min read

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Table of Contents

    The average time spent on social media in a day by adults is growing exponentially

    Yes, you will be surprised to discover that the average time an adult spent on social media in 2012 was 90 minutes, which leaped to 126 minutes in 2016. While this leap is acceptable over five years, things escalated quickly, with people spending over 3 hours per day on social media in 2020.

    The increase could have been because of the Covid-19 pandemic that took over the world in March, and people were confined to their homes. However, with people spending around 2 hours and 22 minutes on social media already in 2019, an upward movement was expected, pandemic or no pandemic.

    This massive jump in the time one spends on social media sites truly makes one wonder what we spent our time on before coming into existence.

    The time spent on networking sites may differ in various continents but, it is still A Lot!

    When we compared each country individually, the average time spends on social media in a day differs. South Americans lead the race with 3 hours 29 minutes per day, followed by 3 hours 10 minutes by Africans, 2 hours 6 minutes by North Americans, 2 hours 16 minutes by Asians, and 1 hour 53 minutes by the European residents. In many countries like Singapore, the number of social media users has increased by 43,000, year on year. Social media usage in Singapore is growing day by day.

    The amount of time spent on social media sites also depends on unemployment in the countries and their populations. For instance, the employment and people in Asia both are pretty high, lowering its average. Whereas, a majority of African regions have poor infrastructure, heightening the average time spent on social networking sites by individuals who have access to the internet and smart devices.

    As for North America, Europe, and Australia, they are developed nations with access as well as time in their hands since working hours are less.

    People from 16-24 years of age group mostly spend on social media

    The elderly, ages between 55 and 64 years, spend 1 hour, 53 minutes per day on social media on an average. The ones from 25 years to 34 years of age spend on social media 2 hours 37 minutes each day, which is only 2 hours 4 minutes for individuals aged between 35-44-year-olds. As for 44-54-year-old people, this time is limited to 1 hour 39 minutes.

    Now coming back to how much time young adults, aged between 16 and 24 years, spend on social media, it is around 3 hours and 2 minutes every day.

    The above progression indicates that the average time spent on scrolling through feed on social sites decreases as the age of individual increases. This also shows that no matter the age, every individual loves spending time scrolling through their social media feed.

    Even traditional/local services such as credit unions are embracing the social media to stay in the market, spending an average of $1,000 a year on social media marketing. 

    More often than not, it is Facebook and Twitter that are popular amongst the aged population.

    As of 2019, over 2.2 billion users are active on Facebook!

    Out of the population of somewhere about 8 billion people in this world, 2.2 billion were active on Facebook in 2019, making it an unbelievable fraction with access to the internet.

    On average, people from across the planet spend 58 minutes per day on Facebook. Ever wonder what they do at this time?

    • The netizens view 8 billion videos on Facebook feeds every day;
    • They upload over 300 million pictures on the platform daily;
    • More than 1.4 billion of the users are active on the platform every day too.

    The above stats guarantee the fact that Facebook is the leader when it comes to social media sites and will rightfully be so in the coming years, no matter how many people say that the platform is on a decline after the advent of Instagram and Snapchat.

    YouTube is second in the lead, with over 30 million active viewers every day

    After Facebook, YouTube is the social media world leader with a database of billions and trillions of videos. You will be shocked to discover the viewership of these videos since each viewing session lasts 40 minutes, on average, with 30 million active viewers per day!

    • More than 1.5 billion users use the platform to view videos of their favorite creators every day, which is phenomenal.

    We know you would agree with the stats because it is tough to exit the platform before streaming at least 5-10 videos, thanks to amazingly talented creators. The creators on YouTube are the reason why you learn as you grow on the platform.

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    Instagram is not far behind YouTube and Facebook.

    Every second, users upload 870 Instagram photos that make startling 49,380 photographs in a minute. Only in the US, 73% of users who have access to the World Wide Web and are aged between 13-24 years are on Instagram, making it the third most popular social networking website.

    • By the end of 2020, Instagram is expected to have 120.3 million monthly active users in the US alone. One can only imagine the number if we take the entire world into account.
    • Instagram is not only a networking app but also immense marketing opportunities, with over 25 million business profiles.
    • Instagram is a versatile application with features, including video sharing through IGTV, IG Reels, stories, memories, and whatnot. Hence, over 64% of the world's social media users are on Instagram.
    • Most of the audience here is between 18-29 years, while only 10% are above 65 years and 21% fall between 50-64 years.

    Then follows Twitter with 330 million active users every month

    Ever wondered what the record number of tweets Twitter ever experienced in a single minute is? You will be surprised to discover that during the FIFI World Cup Final of 2014, an astonishing 618,725 tweets flooded Twitter in a single minute, a challenging record.

    • There are over 1.3 billion users registered on Twitter, of whom 80% mention some of the other brands in their tweets to gain traction.
    • The hashtag is a phenomenon made famous by Twitter, and then it reached the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and every social media platform under the sun.
    • Twitter experiences a surge of political opinions whenever there is a significant event on that front, and you will find almost all heads of states present on the site.

    Snapchat isn’t far behind with 178 million active users per month

    No matter how hard it is to believe, but Snapchat is more of a youth phenomenon, with over 3.5 billion snaps being created every day. Since so many snaps are made, it is only fair that over 10 billion of these videos are being watched every day by 178 million active users who regularly storm the application.

    • Approximately 24% of the social media users in the United States are active on Snapchat. The number is equally high in European, Asian, African, and other North American nations.

    The demographics on this site are mostly populated by the younger generation, aged between 13-34 –year-olds. Out of these also the ones below the age of 15 are more active on the platform. Teens spend hours on Snapchat to see what their friends are up to. These snaps range from that of travel to what one is having for lunch. 

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    WhatsApp counts as a social media application, too, and it is BIG!

    If you believe that WhatsApp is merely a messenger, you are wrong. With features such as groups, stories, media sharing, and profile pictures, it is also a socializing application that has taken the world by storm since its advent. Today, over 43 billion texts are exchanged on the platform every day.

    • The biggest market for WhatsApp users is India, with over 200 million users; all of them use it daily!
    • In the United States, since the population difference cannot be overlooked, there are 23 million WhatsApp users;
    • Initially, WhatsApp was an independent application which was then acquired by Facebook in 2014. The deal is said to have been one of the most expensive ones of the decade, with $19 billion involved.

    The average time an Indian spends on WhatsApp is 17 hours per week. As for the age groups, people of all ages are reasonably active on WhatsApp to stay connected with their family, friends, and conduct business.

    WhatsApp is the most popular and widely-used messaging app globally, with over 1.5 billion users in 180 countries.

    LinkedIn is a one-of-a-kind network for professionals

    LinkedIn is known to be the most professional and committed of all social networking sites because it is teeming with serious candidates who wish to make a mark for themselves. Yes, it is known to be 277% more effective for generating leads as compared to other social media sites.

    Over 50% of the traffic generated by B2B sites is through LinkedIn, and it is considered to be a highly reliable source of content since educated and learned individuals provide it.

    Today, recruiters and job-seekers prefer LinkedIn to find a job they believe they can justify.

    One hundred seventy-five millions share their interests on Pinterest every month

    Pinterest is another social media site that has caught the millennial generation's eye as over 50% of them in the US are active on the platform every month. Since the app culture has taken over, 80% of Pinterest users prefer using the app. Also, it is handier than the desktop version.

    Every day, over 14 million articles are pinned on the platform, mostly because the success stories, art, design, and more shared here are truly inspirational. 

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    How much time do millennials spend on social media?

    According to a report published by Consumer Behavior, the millennial generation prefers spending about 2 hours and 38 minutes on social media sites per day. The wasted time on social media can lead to deteriorating performance in academics and poor socializing skills. Hence, they should be educated to limit their media time.

    How much time do students spend on social media?

    In their teens, students are the most vulnerable group to social media addiction, and the least affected group spends somewhere between 1-2 hours on social media regularly. For the ones who are genuinely obsessed with social media, the average time spent on the phone can go up to 10 hours, most of which is dedicated to social media!

    What is the average time spent on social media per day?

    If you find yourself wondering that scrolling through the feed every once in a while is alright and not a big deal, you will be taken aback to discover that an average adult spends over six years and eight months of their lifetime on social media. If that is not mind-numbing, we don't know what is.

    Facebook alone has US adults spending 38 minutes per day on it, which is just a fraction of 3 hours per day spent on social media by 16-24-year-olds.

    In 2018, the average time spent on social media in a day by an adult was 142 minutes, which rose to approximately two and a half hours in 2019, followed by 3 hours in 2020. This is bound to increase as more than 3 billion people are expected to access social media sites by 2021.

    Social media has expanded horizons from being a platform to introduce oneself to the world; it has become a global market. Today, businesses, content creators, artists, and more are flourishing on social media thanks to their creativity and heavy traffic drawn by these applications and sites.

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    Published on Aug 31 2020

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    Indrė Jankutė-Carmaciu

    Indrė is a copywriter at Whatagraph with extensive experience in search engine optimization and public relations. She holds a degree in International Relations, while her professional background includes different marketing and advertising niches. She manages to merge marketing strategy and public speaking while educating readers on how to automate their businesses.