Top 10 Digital Trends in October 2021

In addition to my analysis of our complete Digital 2021 October Global Statshot Report, I thought it might be helpful to share the transcript of our Top 10 Trends video for October 2021 as well.

This video shares some of the essential headlines from our latest report, together with some additional context around the numbers.


You can watch the full video in the YouTube embed below, but scroll on past that to find the complete transcript, as well as the slides that I use in the video.

Let me know in the comments at the bottom of this page if you have any questions, and I’ll do my best to add some extra insight.

Video transcript

Hello folks, Simon Kemp from Kepios here, bringing you ten essential headlines from our new Digital 2021 October Global Statshot Report.

Remember that you can read the full report – and my in-depth analysis – over on, but this video will help you make quick sense of this quarter’s top stories.

10. Podcasts gaining in global popularity

Starting in reverse order at number 10, new data from GWI shows that podcasts are gaining in global popularity.

More than 1 in 5 working-age internet users around the world now listens to podcasts every week, with that figure rising to roughly a third in Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia.

Data suggests that younger women account for the largest share of the global podcast audience, with nearly a quarter of all the world’s female internet users aged 16 to 24 saying that they listened to at least one podcast over the past 7 days.

People are spending ever more time listening to podcasts too, with GWI reporting that the typical internet user now spends almost an hour per day listening to podcast content.


9. VPNs on the rise

At number nine, mobile insights expert App Annie reports that there’s been a significant rise in the number of people downloading VPN apps for their smartphone over the past 3 months.

Virtual private network services accounted for 6 of the 10 fastest-growing mobile apps by number of downloads between July and September 2021, making them one of this quarter’s hottest mobile categories.

For context, GWI reports that roughly 1 in 3 internet users between the ages of 16 and 64 already uses a VPN for at least some of their connected activities, with that figure rising to more than 4 in 10 in India and Indonesia.

However, with the big jump in downloads of VPN apps over the past 3 months, we might expect to see those figures increase over the coming months.

8. India has Snapchat’s largest ad audience

Our first social media story this quarter comes in at number 8.

A rapid increase in the number of Snapchat users in India has propelled the country to the top of the platform’s ad reach rankings.

Marketers can now reach almost 116 million Indian users with ads on Snapchat, which is almost 10 percent higher than the number of users that these ads currently reach in the United States.

The platform’s reach is still growing in the US though, and Snapchat continues to post strong growth at a global level too.

The company’s latest data shows that worldwide ad reach grew by almost 5 percent over the past 3 months, taking the platform’s global ad audience to 538 million.


7. Social media audience overlaps

And sticking with social media, headline number 7 this quarter is a special reminder for anyone building a social media plan for 2022.

The latest data from GWI reveals that marketers can now reach the vast majority of users of any given social media platform on at least one other social platform.

That’s true even on huge platforms like Facebook and YouTube, with GWI’s data suggesting that marketers can reach at least 99 percent of those platforms’s working-age users via other social channels.

And what’s more, the typical social media user now makes active use of an average of 6.7 different social platforms each month.

As a result, adopting a more strategic, portfolio approach to social media marketing may help you improve both efficiency and effectiveness in 2022.

Critically, instead of treating each channel as an opportunity to amplify reach, explore how you can deliver a more varied and evolving brand narrative across different social platforms.

6. The rising popularity of international content

Number 6 this quarter is my top tip for trends to watch in 2022: the rise of cross-cultural content.

Now, it’s no secret that Squid Game has been a huge success all over the world in recent weeks, with Netflix data suggesting that 132 million people across the globe watched the Korean hit drama in the first 23 days following its release.

However, data from tracking company FlixPatrol shows that Squid Game isn’t the only non-English-language show that’s been enjoying global success.

Indeed, for the first 12 days of October, a non-English-language show claimed top spot in FlixPatrol’s daily ranking of Netflix TV shows across every one of the 83 countries that the company profiles.

And what’s more, the huge popularity of other international shows like Lupin and Money Heist suggest that we can expect this trend to accelerate in 2022.

[Note: this trend has critical implications for marketers and content creators, so click this link to read my complete guide if you’d like to know more.]


5. Social media CPMs increase

Entering the top 5, the latest data from Skai reveals that the average cost to reach 1,000 social media users has increased significantly over the past year.

The company’s research shows that the average social media CPM reached 7 US dollars and 70 cents in Q3 2021, which is 33 percent higher than the global average for the same period last year.

Social media CPMs only grew by about 3 percent between Q2 and Q3 this year, but if the jump between Q3 and Q4 last year is anything to go on, we can expect another big jump in the cost of social media advertising as we head into the coming holiday season.

Skai also reports that the cost of search ads has increased significantly over the past 12 months, with the global average search CPC now 30 percent higher than it was this time last year.

4. Chinese internet users pass the 1-billion mark

The latest data from the China Internet Network Information Center reveals that there are now more than 1 billion people using the internet in China.

China’s netizens grew by more than 70 million over the past 12 months, accounting for roughly a third of total global growth since October 2020.

China is now home to more than 1 in 5 of the world’s internet users, but the latest data shows that there’s still plenty more room for growth.

Roughly 70 percent of China’s population is now connected, but that means a further 400 million people across the country are yet to come online.

However, with Chinese internet users currently growing at a rate of 7½ percent per year, we can expect the country’s connectivity gap to close steadily over the coming months.


3. Ads on Facebook Inc.’s platforms now reach 3 billion users

In at number 3 this quarter, the latest numbers published in Facebook’s self-service advertising tools suggest that the company’s portfolio of platforms now reach a combined advertising audience of more than 3 billion users.

Even if we factor potential user duplication and fake accounts at the company’s suggested rates, the latest data show that advertising placements across Facebook’s family of apps now reach nearly half of all the people on Earth aged 13 and above outside of China.

And it’s important to stress that this number only represents advertising reach too, which means that it only includes audiences on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger.

If we look beyond advertising reach to factor total monthly active users across all of the company’s platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook’s active user base now exceeds 3½ billion every month.

But Facebook isn’t the only company posting big numbers.

2. TikTok reaches 1 billion monthly active users

This quarter’s second-top story is that TikTok has now joined the exclusive billion-user club.

The hugely popular short-form video platform has grown rapidly over the past few years, and is now one of just 7 social media platforms that claim more than a billion active users every month.

User growth shows no signs of slowing either, with App Annie reporting that TikTok was the most downloaded mobile app around the world over the past 3 months.

TikTok’s users are also spread widely around the world, with the company’s self-service advertising platforms revealing that the app is particularly popular across the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

And you’ll be pleased to hear that our complete October Statshot Report has a detailed breakdown of TikTok’s advertising audience by location, age, and gender, so be sure to get stuck into that amazing data once you’ve finished watching this video.


1. Global social media users reach 4.5 billion

And our top story in October 2021 is that global social media users have now passed the 4.5 billion user milestone.

That global user figure has grown by almost 10 percent over the past year, with more than 400 million users starting to use social platforms in just the past 12 months.

For context, that means an average of well over a million new users join social media every day, equating to roughly 13 new users every single second.

The pace of growth has slowed slightly compared to the rapid increases we’ve seen over the past 6 months, but even at these slightly slower rates, social media users are on track to reach 60 percent of the world’s population in the first half of next year.

Wrapping up

That’s all for this quarter’s Top 10 Headlines video, but remember that you’ll find loads more data and analysis in our full October Statshot Report.

And if you’ve got any questions about this quarter’s numbers and what they might mean for you, simply pop those in the comments below, and I’ll try to offer some answers.

Thanks as always to Hootsuite and We Are Social for making these reports possible, and to our wonderful data partners for allowing us to share their valuable insights.

And thanks to you for joining me today too – I look forward to seeing you again for our next video.

Slides used in this video

You’ll find the extended set of slides used in this video – together with some additional context – on the SlideShare embed below (click here if that’s not working for you).

About the author
Simon is DataReportal’s chief analyst, and CEO of Kepios.
Click here to see all of Simon’s articles, read his bio, and connect with him on social media.