Social Media Customers Go four Billion: Digital 2020 October Statistics Report

More than 4 billion people Globally, they now use social media every month, with an average of nearly 2 million new users every day.

The world is also spending more time on social media, with the typical user spending roughly time now 15 percent their waking life with social platforms.

However, social media isn't the only aspect of the digital that delivers impressive numbers.

The new Digital 2020 October Global Statshot Report – produced in collaboration with Hootsuite and We Are Social – shows that connected technology continues to play an increasingly important role in various aspects of people's everyday lives.

The top stories in this quarter's report include:

  • The acceptance of social media has increased by more than 12 percent in the past 12 months
  • The time we spend with connected devices continues to increase
  • Instagram continues to see strong growth but is not alone
  • A clear “age difference” defines digital use in the workplace
  • Marketers may be missing out on some of the greatest digital opportunities today

The full October statshot report can be found in the SlideShare embed below (click here if this doesn't work for you). However, read below for an in-depth analysis of this quarter's key stories.

Download the full Digital 2020 report Learn where to focus your social marketing efforts and how to better target your audience. The full study also includes easy-to-understand data visualizations and shareable graphs.

Essential headlines

Before we dive deeper into this quarter's trends, here are the key headlines you'll need to understand the global "state of digitization" in October 2020:

  • Total world population: 7.81 billion People
  • Number of people using mobile phones worldwide: 5.20 billion
  • Global internet users: 4.66 billion
  • Worldwide social media users: 4.14 billion

To put these numbers in perspective, more than two thirds of the world today use a mobile phone (67 percent), while almost 60 percent of all people on earth use the Internet.

In the meantime, we only reported three months ago that social media penetration had passed the 50 percent mark. However, the latest data shows that this number has already risen to almost 53 percent.

More than 9 in 10 internet users around the world connect using mobile devices, but two-thirds continue to connect using computers.

However, when it comes to social media, users clearly prefer mobile devices. The Kepios analysis shows that 99 percent of global social media users access via mobile devices, but only one in five uses a laptop or desktop computer.

Now let's dig deeper into these top stories.

Social media adoption is accelerating

The number of people using social media around the world rose to 4.14 billion in October 2020, with that number surpassing the significant milestone of 4 billion users for the first time this quarter.

Analysis by Kepios shows that over 450 million people have used social media in the last 12 months, which corresponds to an annual growth of more than 12 percent.

That means that since then last year, an average of more than 14 people have used social media every second, which is even higher than in the last quarter.

In fact, the latest data shows that social media growth is indeed accelerating.

Compared to the last three months, more than 180 million people used social media between July and September, an average increase of almost 2 million users per day.

This is roughly twice the growth rate we reported in January, and is the largest quarter-over-quarter increase we have seen since we started producing these reports in 2011.

Much of the growth in social media use this quarter is a direct result of the new habits people adopted during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Despite the exceptional circumstances, however, we do not expect total user numbers to decline once users return to more “normal” routines, although we can expect some volatility in user numbers for individual platforms in the coming months.

In particular on some platforms, the use of which has increased significantly during the suspension, the monthly active user numbers may decrease again as soon as people can participate in a greater variety of everyday activities.

As we will see later in this analysis, a possible reduction in the individual platform target groups may still be a long way off.

The screen time increases

As we predicted in our April and July Statshot reports, the time people spend online has increased significantly in 2020, partly due to the new behaviors people adopted during the coronavirus lockdown.

The latest data from GlobalWebIndex shows that the typical Internet user spent nearly 7 hours a day with connected devices between April and June 2020, an increase of nearly a quarter of an hour per day compared to last quarter's figures.

Social media accounts for more than a third of our connected time. People now spend an average of almost 2½ hours a day on social platforms.

Taken together, this means that the world is now spending more than 10 billion hours per day via social media, equivalent to more than 1 million years of human existence.

We have also spent more time watching TV, and the world's internet users now watch an average of 3½ hours of TV content per day through radio stations, cable channels and internet-based streaming platforms.

However, our TV behavior is changing, with streaming services making up an increasingly important proportion of total TV time.

The latest data from GlobalWebIndex shows that the world's internet users spend an average of 1½ hours a day watching platforms like Netflix and Disney + compared to the 2 hours a day they spend watching radio and cable channels.

Social platforms are growing rapidly

Almost all of the world's leading social platforms have seen strong audience growth over the past three months.

Instagram added the most new users between July and September 2020 and posted even stronger growth figures than Facebook.

The company's own tools show that Instagram's advertising audience has grown more than 76 million in the past three months, reaching a total of 1.16 billion people by early October 2020.

That represents a growth of more than 7 percent from the previous quarter and extends the impressive jump of 11 percent that we reported for the platform in our July report.

In context, Facebook's global ad audience only increased 45 million over the same period, although its total ad audience of 2.14 billion is still almost twice that of Instagram.

However, if Instagram can maintain similar momentum over the coming weeks, there is a good chance the platform will overtake WeChat and host the world's fifth largest social media audience sometime in 2021.

Tencent saw quarterly growth of just 0.3 percent in its combined WeChat and Weixin audiences in its latest earnings release. This means that Instagram is currently growing around 20 times faster than China's top platform.

However, Instagram isn't the only platform that is growing rapidly.

Snapchat saw the biggest relative gains this quarter. Advertisers can now reach more than 9 percent more people via the platform than they did three months ago.

With the addition of 36 million new users between July and September, Snapchat's global advertising audience rose to 433 million, 20 percent more than the audience reported by the company's tools around that time last year.

With 16 million new users, India contributed nearly half to Snapchat's global growth this quarter, possibly due to the Indian government's recent TikTok ban.

Snapchat has also seen an interesting change in the demographics of its global user base in recent months.

Young women between the ages of 13 and 17 now make up the majority of the platform's advertising audience, while women between the ages of 25 and 34 were the largest demographic this time around three months ago.

Twitter's tools also saw impressive audience growth in the three months ended October. However, adding 27 million users won't restore even half of the 61 million users the platform lost in the previous quarter.

The story for TikTok is a little more complicated.

As we noted in our July statistics report, the Government of India banned the platform in late June and as a result, more than 200 million users have been deleted from the platform's audience.

Despite that significant road bump – and the ongoing uncertainty about the US outlook – TikTok was still able to add more than 80 million new users outside of India between July and September 2020.

According to the latest official figures, TikTok's global audience is 689 million. However, recent growth trends suggest that this number may have already passed the 700 million mark.

If you want to dig deeper into the demographics of each of these audiences and find new numbers for Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and various other platforms, you can find a lot more platform data in our full report.

Special focus: digital in the workplace

GlobalWebIndex just released an update of its extremely valuable work research, and they have generously allowed us to share some highlights of it in this quarter's report.

One of the key takeaways in this dataset is that age plays a crucial role in determining how people like to communicate in the workplace, be it with their colleagues, with partners and suppliers, or with customers and the outside world.

Email remains one of the most common channels of communication at work, but again, age plays an important role in its acceptance and use.

More than 90 percent of respondents under the age of 45 use email every week, but almost one in five respondents between the ages of 55 and 64 say they use email less than once a week.

However, this “age gap” becomes even more apparent when we look at recent additions to the communication mix.

About 9 in 10 Generation Z respondents say they use messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Slack every week to communicate with their coworkers, but barely half of those aged 55 to 64 have these platforms on their regular basis Integrated repertoire.

Interestingly, some of the biggest differences relate to social media usage.

More than 4 in 5 workers aged 16 to 24 say they connect with colleagues every week using social media platforms. For baby boomers, however, that number drops to less than 1 in 3.

Although they make up the largest group of social media users in terms of their personal lives, people aged 25 to 34 use social media less often to communicate with their colleagues than people aged 16 to 24.

These findings have critical implications for organizations everywhere, as they reveal important differences in the way people of different ages – and at different levels of the organization – communicate.

Without careful management, these different preferences could result in “isolated” communication, which could lead to knowledge gaps and cultural differences between different parts of the organization.

Reach in context: "User" versus "Visitor"

Data from our new partners SEMrush offers valuable new insights into the audience of some of the world's leading websites and social platforms.

One of the most interesting things we can learn from this data is that platforms like YouTube and Twitter continue to attract significant numbers of visitors who do not sign up to use each service.

For example, YouTube reports a registered audience of 2 billion users per month. However, the "Unique Visits" column in the table below shows that the total monthly user base of the platform is likely to be significantly higher.

It's worth noting that there can be duplication of work with these "unique visits" numbers as well, as there is no practical way to account for people accessing each platform on different devices or browsers unless they log on .

However, these numbers reflect the analysis we've done on other datasets, and they confirm our hypothesis that YouTube's monthly audience is actually closer to 3 billion – or maybe even higher.

That would mean YouTube's audience may be 50 percent larger than the submitted numbers suggest.

However, the "reported loophole" can be even greater for Twitter.

According to the latest data from the company's advertising audience, around 350 million people use Twitter while logged in each month.

However, the latest data from SEMrush shows that nearly three times as many people visit Twitter's website each month.

While this may sound surprising, our hypothesis is that a significant proportion of these “anonymous” visitors treat Twitter like a news website.

Since most Tweets are accessible to people without signing in, less “passive” visitors may have less incentive to create a Twitter account or log in, even if they have one.

However, this raises important questions about the role and positioning of Twitter both as a company and within the marketing mix.

Overall, I feel that the media – and maybe even investors – continue to underestimate the value of Twitter as a communication channel, and we may need to rethink where Twitter fits into our plans to achieve its full potential.

But it's not just Twitter that we may underestimate.

SEMrush's numbers also confirm a statement we highlighted in previous reports: Yahoo! is still one of the top features of the web.

In fact, the latest data shows that Yahoo! As before, around 1 billion unique visits are recorded to the .com and domains every month, with these visitors performing around 100 billion "sessions" each year.

Obviously, reach isn't the only factor marketers should consider when creating their plans, but those numbers suggest that Yahoo! Still attracts a larger audience than TikTok. Maybe it's one to put back on your list – especially if you're looking to reach older audiences.

Once again, Yahoo! and Twitter may not be the only things we underestimate.

Video Games: Marketing's Biggest Missed Opportunity?

Video games are one of the most popular pastimes in the world, but for some inexplicable reason, it remains one of the least appreciated opportunities in marketing.

GlobalWebIndex reports that approximately 7 out of 8 internet users around the world play games.

These results suggest that around 3½ billion people worldwide play video games today, three quarters of whom play on their smartphones.

In addition, the popularity of games in all countries and age groups is consistently high.

More than two-thirds of connected baby boomers play video games, with women ages 55 to 64 more likely than their male counterparts to be gamers.

And while men are slightly more women than women in other age groups, the latest data clearly breaks the stereotype that gaming is a male-dominated activity.

In fact, video game adoption among women is only a few percentage points behind men, and these gender ratios are broadly in line with what we see when using social media.

However, it is interesting to note that in Europe and the US, compared to the rest of the world, the acceptance of video games is lower.

In addition – and perhaps surprisingly – Japan sees the lowest number of video games of any country in GlobalWebIndex's survey, but even here more than two-thirds of Internet users say they play games.

How can brands take advantage of these opportunities?

Online gaming options may be more fragmented than “super platforms” like YouTube or Facebook. However, different ad platforms already enable marketers to reach and reach large audiences across a variety of gaming titles at the same time.

With the advancement of video games and the fact that people are spending more and more time watching others play games, marketing opportunities are not limited to just interrupting ads.

So if you are looking for new opportunities in 2021, I highly recommend that you spend some time exploring what video games have to offer.

Digital ads: still a bargain?

The latest Kenshoo Quarterly Trends Report shows that digital advertising spending rose again in the second quarter as both search and social media spend declined year over year.

Global online search advertising spending declined 9 percent from the same period last year, while social media advertising spending declined 13 percent.

However, Kenshoo reports that there were already signs of a rebound in ad spending by the end of the second quarter.

In addition, between April and July 2020, users clicked on a significantly larger number of ads than in the same period last year.

The total number of clicks on social media ads in the second quarter of this year was 33 percent higher than in the second quarter of 2019, while clicks on search ads increased 28 percent.

In addition, the cost of individual ad units fell significantly over the same period.

The average cost of reaching 1,000 people (CPM) through social media ads decreased 30 percent between Q2 2019 and Q2 2020, while the average cost per click (CPC) on search engines decreased 29 percent .

However, these “bargain prices” may not last.

With many businesses now much more reliant on e-commerce than they were this time last year, brands should expect higher prices and more competition as we near Single & # 39; s Day and BFCM sales and the all-important Christmas season.

But what about the next year?

Outlook: 5 trends for 2021

This is our final statshot report for 2020. To conclude, let's look at next year.

What can marketers expect in 2021? Here are some of the trends we're watching:

1. Development of search behavior: More than two thirds of internet users worldwide already go beyond search engines when looking for products and services in order to buy them. However, we expect voice search, image search, and social search to play an even more important role in the coming months.

2. Balancing the demographics of the digital audience: With COVID-19 as a catalyst to bring many more elderly people online, businesses can now use digital to reach a wider audience than ever before. This is a clear and immediate opportunity for marketers, especially when it comes to e-commerce. However, this expansion of the online audience can also spark a new wave of digital innovation leading to new platforms, new services, and even new devices.

3. Increasing globalization in e-commerce: We have been following the rise of the east for some time. The latest data suggests that China's e-commerce giants are becoming increasingly popular with international buyers. With affordable cross-border logistics increasingly within reach, even for smaller retailers, we can also expect shoppers to search for deals and unique products all over the internet. Scaling will still be an advantage, but unique offers and differentiated shopping experiences are the key to long-term success.

4.Useful Augmented Reality: AR has been bubbling in the background for a few years now, but it still doesn't seem to have reached its full potential. With mainstream brands like Nike, IKEA, and Estée Lauder increasingly adopting AR functionality, and Apple actively announcing the AR performance of its new iPhone 12, AR 2021 may be the year AR finally comes of age. However, marketers need to go beyond novelty and use AR to deliver tangible benefit and value. Think of "help", not "hype".

5. The next disruptive innovation: It's been well over a decade since social media and smartphones sparked the last wave of large-scale marketing disruption, and it seems that the "next big thing" is long overdue. There are some interesting competitors, from connected "smart" glasses to decentralized finance to portable or smart home devices. These things have been around in some form for a few years now, however, and the current momentum does not suggest any of them will become global mainstream in 2021. As a result, it is more likely that the real interferer will be something unexpected.

Are there any trends or forecasts you'd like to add to this list? Let me know on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Don't forget that you can find all of our previous reports in our free DataReportal library, which also includes local reports for 230+ countries and territories.

That's all for this quarter. I'll be back at the end of January with our annual Global Digital Flagship Report and our Local Country Reports Digital 2021 from mid-February.

Read the full report

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