10 mins

Social media

How do people use social media in 2019?

Date 22.03.2019

Social media can be a minefield. It’s a landscape that changes constantly – new features are introduced, users migrate, algorithms change, or a new platform swoops in. Staying in the loop of all these changes can be difficult, but evolving your strategies in good time can put you ahead of the competition.

For content, there are around 7.7 billion people in the world and there are 3.4 billion active social media users. That’s 44% of the entire population using social.

With that being said, prepare for some stats.

Let’s dive into the demographics

There are more social platforms than you can shake a tweet at these days, so I’ll break it down to the main five channels (in my opinion, please don’t @ me)…

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat

Who is using these platforms and how often are they using them?


  • 2.32 billion users, with 500,000 new users joining the site every day.
  • 76% of users check it daily and on average spend around 35 minutes on the site each day.
  • 47% of Facebook users access the platform through mobile only.
  • 53% of Facebook users are female.
  • The number of (American) users aged 65+ has doubled to 41% since 2012 and only 7% of all Facebook users are aged 13-17.
  • The largest age group for Facebook users is 25-34.


  • 1 billion users, and there are 400 million daily active Instagram stories users.
  • Over 95 million photos are uploaded to the platform each day.
  • 68% of Instagram users are female.
  • 64% of users are aged between 18 and 34.
  • Users spend on average around 30 minutes each day on the platform.


  • 326 million users with 500 million tweets sent every day.
  • 80% of users visit the site on their mobile and 46% of users visit the platform daily.
  • 37% of users are aged between 18 and 29, and 25% of aged 30 to 49.


  • 250 million users, of which 81% are females.
  • 40% of new signups were from men in 2018 but they still only account for 7% of the total pins on Pinterest.
  • The platform is most popular with users under 49 and those from high-income households.


  • 186 million daily users with 3 billion snaps created every day.
  • Users spend over 30 minutes a day on the platform.
  • 71% of users are aged under 34, with 45% aged between 18 and 24, and around 70% are female.
  • Active users open the app on average 25 times every day.

How are people using these platforms?

Knowing where people are spending their time is great, but knowing how people are spending their time is even more important for your social media content.


Video: Facebook is the second favourite platform for consuming videos after YouTube, with 40% of users saying that they watch the most videos on Facebook. However, it’s worth noting that 85% of Facebook users watch videos with the sound off so make sure that if your sound is important you encourage users to turn their sound on or provide captions so they can follow.

20% of videos are Live Broadcasts, so if your video lends itself to a live broadcast make sure you utilise this feature. Video posts get more shares than any other post type.

Stories: 150 million people are using Facebook Stories, making it a fairly untapped feature for businesses and with the rise of stories on Instagram it may be beneficial to be an early adopter of this feature.

Engagement: There are 80 million small and medium-sized business pages, and 5 billion comments are left on these pages monthly. 39% of users say that they follow Facebook business pages because they want to receive special offers.

When looking at your pages performance, consider that a post’s average organic reach is only around 6.4% of the page’s total likes and the average engagement rate for a post is 3.91%. The average engagement rate for Facebook video posts, though, is 6.01%.

In a month, the average user likes 10 posts, makes 4 comments, and clicks on 8 ads.

Paid: 40% of users don’t ‘like’ any brand pages, meaning paid adverts are the only way to reach them, but it’s a competitive market. 98% of B2C businesses use Facebook adverts and so do 89% of B2B businesses.


Posts: Videos get 21.2% more interactions compared to images and 18.6% more when compared to carousels. Everyone knows that user-generated content is king so it’s no surprise that they have a 4.5% higher conversion rate.

Stories: 400 million accounts use Instagram stories every day. 50% of businesses create at least one story a month and 55.4% of influencers use Instagram Stories for sponsored campaigns. Businesses that are on Instagram get up to 37% of their total impressions from Instagram Stories and 1/3 of most viewed Instagram stories are from businesses.

Engagement: Instagram has the highest engagement rates across all social media channels, with 4.2 billion likes per day. Pizza is the most popular food with sushi and steak following and the most popular hashtags on Instagram are #Love, #Instagood, #Me, #Cute, and #Follow – with 7 out of 10 hashtags being branded.

Posts with a tagged location get 79% more engagement, photos with faces get 38% more likes and including at least one hashtag generates 12.6% more engagement.

Instagram users engage more on weekdays with Tuesday and Thursday being the best time to post. 50% of Instagram captions and comments contain emojis. Well, it is the new language…

Business: Instagram has over 1 million monthly advertisers and 8 million business profiles. So, it’s no surprise that 80% of users follow a business on Instagram and, as e-commerce continues to develop, 8 of the top 15 most followed brands on Instagram are in retail. 78% of influencers prefer Instagram for brand collaboration.


Engagement: Unsurprisingly, 74% of users say they use the network to get their news. The best time to tweet is around 3pm on weekdays to generate the highest engagement. Tweets with a GIF get 55% more engagement and tweets with video attract 10x as much engagement as other platforms – 93% of videos are viewed on mobile, so ensure that your content is optimised – but tweets with images get 150% more retweets.

Business: 85% of small and medium business users use Twitter to provide customer service and it is clearly crucial with 77% of users feeling more positive about a brand when their tweet has been replied to.

However, only 3% of customers will @ you when they complain so having a proactive strategy and listening to conversations is important. The average user only follows 5 businesses, although 80% of users have mentioned a brand in a tweet.


Business: Over 5% of referral traffic to websites comes from Pinterest (for businesses using the platform). 93% of active users said they use Pinterest to plan for purchases and 87% said they’ve purchased something because of Pinterest.

Every day nearly 2 million people pin product-rich pins which makes sense considering two-thirds of pins represent brands and products, with food, drink and technology being the most popular categories for men.

Promoted pins have a strong conversion rate with 50% of users making a purchase after seeing a promoted pin. This is no surprise, since 85% of women use Pinterest to plan “life moments” and it is highlighted as a high-intent platform.

Search: Visual search is continuing to grow, and Pinterest seems to be leading the way as the platform’s lens tool hosted 250 million visual searches in February 2017, and that increased to 600 million in February 2018.


Business: 64% of marketers have a Snapchat account with activewear brands being the most likely to be on Snapchat and travel brands the least. 57% of brand content published on Snapchat is video.

Snapchat has one of the highest content retention percentages as 91% of users that view brand content watch the entire story from brands.

Engagement: The peak time for Snap stories is Saturday, though this isn’t business specific. Snapchat is primarily a C2C platform with only a selection of brands utilising the platform and users mostly use the app to message each other directly.

How can I use this information for my brand?

As you can see, there’s so much information out there about the behavioural uses of social media… but how are marketers meant to use this information effectively?

Knowing who your target audience are and where you can find them – such as using Pinterest for women or Snapchat for under 24s – is crucial.

Once you know what channels will be the most effective in reaching your audience you can begin to look at the type of content you can create and the formats that are going to be the most engaging. For example, we know that video is working best for Facebook and user-generated content (content created by your audience) works well on Instagram.

One way of making sure you’re hitting the mark is to take yourself through the RACE funnel:

  • Reach
  • Acquire
  • Convert
  • (Re)engage

Having said that, always remember that even with all of this information, people are still people – they’re unpredictable, individual, and subject to change.

Not everyone will use these platforms in the same way and not every business will be applicable, so these current trends and stats are worth taking into consideration when planning your social strategy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something different entirely.

If you want to do any extra reading around these stats, you’ll find all our sources below. Just get the kettle on and get stuck in:


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