Global social media Stats

Kepios analysis shows that there are 4.55 billion social media users around the world in October 2021, equating to 57.6 percent of the total global population.

These figures suggest that well over 9 in 10 internet users now use social media each month (learn more about people’s broader internet behaviours on our Global Digital Overview page).

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Social media user numbers have seen strong growth over the past 12 months too, with 409 million new users joining social media in the year to October 2021.

That equates to annualised growth of 9.9 percent, or an average 13 new users every single second.

It’s also worth noting that comparisons of social media users to total population may under-represent the full extent of social media use, because most social media companies restrict use of their platforms to people aged 13 and above.

For context, the latest data suggest that the number of social media users around the world now equates to more than 70 percent of the eligible global population.

The typical user actively uses or visits an average of 6.7 different social media platforms each month, and spends an average of close to 2½ hours using social media each day. 

Assuming that people sleep for between 7 and 8 hours per day, these latest figures suggest that people spend roughly 15 percent of their waking lives using social media.

Added together, the world spends more than 10 billion hours using social platforms each day, which is the equivalent of nearly 1.2 million years of human existence.

Global Social Media Overview October 2021 DataReportal

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Facebook remains the world’s most widely used social media platform, but there are now seven social media platforms that claim more than one billion monthly active users each. Four of these seven platforms are owned by Facebook.

Based on publicly available data up to 17 October 2021, at least 17 social media platforms have 300 million or more monthly active users*:

  1. Facebook has 2.895 billion monthly active users (see more Facebook stats here)
  2. YouTube’s potential advertising reach is 2.291 billion(a)
  3. WhatsApp has at least 2 billion monthly active users
  4. Instagram’s potential advertising reach is 1.393 billion(a) (see more Instagram stats here)
  5. Facebook Messenger has around 1.3 billion monthly active users(b) (see more Facebook Messenger stats here)
  6. WeChat (inc. Weixin 微信) has 1.251 billion monthly active users
  7. TikTok has 1 billion monthly active users
  8. Douyin (抖音) has 600 million daily active users (note: monthly active users may be higher)
  9. QQ (腾讯QQ) has 591 million monthly active users.
  10. Sina Weibo (新浪微博) has 566 million monthly active users
  11. Telegram has 550 million monthly active users
  12. Snapchat’s potential advertising reach is 538 million(a) (see more Snapchat stats here)
  13. Kuaishou (快手) has 506 million monthly active users
  14. Pinterest has 454 million monthly active users (see more Pinterest stats here)
  15. Twitter’s potential advertising reach is roughly 436 million(a) (see more Twitter stats here)
  16. Reddit has around 430 million monthly active users(b)
  17. Quora has around 300 million monthly active users(b)

Note that LinkedIn doesn’t publish monthly active user data, so we can’t include it in this list. However, you can find in-depth data for LinkedIn use around the world here.

World's Most-Used Social Media Platforms October 2021 DataReportal

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Audience overlaps

These individual platform user numbers tell a compelling story about the rise of social media around the world, but – on their own – they don’t tell the whole story.

Critically, the world’s connected population makes use of a variety of different social platforms each month, which means that there will be considerable overlaps between the user bases and advertising audiences of each of these platforms.

The chart below shows the extent of these overlaps, with fresh data from GWI providing valuable insights for anyone looking to build a social media ‘mix’ or digital marketing plan.

Social Media Platform Audience Overlaps October 2021 DataReportal

The key takeaway from this great data is that marketers don’t need to be on all platforms at the same time in order to reach the majority of their audiences.

Indeed, if reach is your primary objective, you can focus on just one or two of the larger platforms, safe in the knowledge that you have the potential to reach 99 percent of social media users.

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Reach isn’t the only thing you should factor when building a marketing plan of course, but this data also allows us to think differently about how we construct a social media platform mix.

For example, different people will use different platforms for different needs, and it’s well worth marketers exploring these needs to identify which platforms are best suited to individual campaign and activity objectives.

The chart below offers some great insight into the reasons why people use social media today, but remember that these motivations will differ by country, by age group, and by platform, so be sure to dig into our local market data too.

Reasons for Using Social Media October 2021 DataReportal

Social media preferences

It’s also worth noting that high user numbers don’t necessarily translate into preference.

Once again, data from GWI can help us make sense of which platforms people have the greatest affinity for, with the chart below showing overall social media platform preferences at a global level.

The World's Favourite Social Media Platforms October 2021 DataReportal

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As you might expect though, these preferences vary considerably by age and by gender.

As you can see in the chart below, GWI’s research finds that younger people are more likely to say that Instagram is their “favourite” social media platform (at least in most Western markets), whereas older generations tend to prefer Facebook and WhatsApp.

However, there are important differences in these preferences at a country level, and those local nuances are particularly important for marketers who are hoping to reach the right audience in the right place at just the right time.

Favourite Social Media Platforms by Age and by Gender October 2021 DataReportal

Social media behaviours by country

As you’ll have seen by now, social media platform preferences vary from one country to another, so it’s important to dig deeper into the data to understand what’s happening at a local level.

If you’d like to know more about social media use in individual countries, including local social media platform rankings and audience profiles by age and gender, take a look at our complete collection of local reports.

We also have dedicated pages exploring the latest stats for a number of the world’s top social platforms, which you can explore via the links below:

And if you’d like to stay up to date with all the latest developments in social media use around the world, sign up for our newsletter using the form below to receive notifications whenever we publish new reports.


Notes:

(a) Where platforms only publish daily active user figures, or where platforms have not published recent updates to monthly active users, we've used the latest advertising reach figures published in each platform’s respective self-service advertising tools, in order to provide a more equal basis for comparison.

(b) These platforms have not published updated user figures in the past 12 months, so the user figures published here may not be as reliable as the user figures we’ve included for other platforms in this list.

LinkedIn no longer publishes monthly active user figures, and its monthly advertising audience reach figures are based on total registered members, not monthly active users (MAUs). As a result, it’s difficult to identify how many active users LinkedIn has each month. However, our calculations indicate that the platform likely has an insufficient number of MAUs to qualify for the ranking above.

* Note that we report both monthly active user figures and potential advertising reach figures for various social media platforms in our reports. Please read each slide carefully to understand which metrics we’ve used for each platform.