11 New People Join Social Media Every Second (And Other Impressive Stats)

Blog   /   Social
January 29, 2018

The new 2018 Global Digital suite of reports from We Are Social and Hootsuite reveals that there are now more than 4 billion people around the world using the internet.

That means well over half of the world’s population is now online, with the latest data showing that nearly a quarter of a billion new users came online for the first time in 2017.

But what does this mean for the world of social media?

Alongside internet usage, social media use also continues to grow rapidly. The number of people using the top platform in each country has increased by almost 1 million new users every day during the past 12 months. More than 3 billion people around the world now use social media each month, with nine in 10 of those users accessing their chosen platforms on mobile devices.

You’ll find the key insights from this year’s reports in our more detailed analysis below, but here are the essential headlines for digital in 2018:

  • The number of social media users in 2018 is 3.196 billion, up 13 percent year-on-year
  • The number of internet users in 2018 is 4.021 billion, up 7 percent year-on-year
  • The number of mobile phone users in 2018 is 5.135 billion, up 4 percent year-on-year

Just before we dig into the key social media findings, we’d like to say a big thank you to the data partners making this year’s reports possible:

So, what does all of their valuable data tell us? Here are a few highlights.

11 new people start using social media every second

Almost 1 million people started using social media for the first time every day in 2017 — that’s equivalent to more than 11 new users every second.

The global number of people using social media has grown by 13 percent in the past 12 months, with Central and Southern Asia recording the fastest gains (up 90 percent and 33 percent respectively).

Saudi Arabia has posted the fastest individual country growth rate across our 40 focus economies at 32 percent, but India is only just behind (31 percent annual growth in social media users).

As part of this growth, we’re seeing larger numbers of older users joining social media too. On Facebook alone, the number of users aged 65 and above has increased by almost 20 percent in the past 12 months.

The number of teenagers using Facebook has also increased, but the number of users aged 13 to 17 has only grown by 5 percent since January 2017.

Gender ratios remain a concern across the internet, with the latest data from Facebook suggesting that women are still significantly underrepresented across much of Central Africa, the Middle East, and Southern Asia.

These countries are spending the most time on social media

For the third year in a row, Filipinos spend the greatest amount of time on social media. The average user in the country spends almost 4 hours on social every day.

The Brazilians are catching up though, and the Indonesians and the Thais have overtaken the Argentinians to take the third and fourth spots in this year’s rankings.

Facebook still dominates

It’s been another good year for Mark Zuckerberg and team, with all of Facebook Inc.’s platforms posting impressive growth during 2017.

Facebook’s core platform still dominates the global social landscape. Total users are up 15 percent year-on-year, reaching almost 2.17 billion at the start of 2018.

WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger both grew twice as fast as the core Facebook platform though, with the number of people using each messenger app up by 30 percent year on year.

Both apps are still tied in terms of user numbers, but the latest data from SimilarWeb shows that WhatsApp has the stronger geographic position. WhatsApp is now the top messenger app in 128 countries around the world, compared to Facebook Messenger’s 72.

There are now only 25 countries around the world where a Facebook-owned app isn’t the top messenger platform.

Despite these impressive messenger stats, Instagram managed to claim Facebook’s standout growth story over the past 12 months, with the number of global users up by a third.

To help businesses everywhere quantify the Instagram opportunity in their respective countries, we’ve included local numbers for Instagram use across more than 230 countries in this year’s regional reports. You’ll find links to those at the end of this post.

Organic reach continues to fall

For this year’s reports, we’ve teamed up with Locowise to share details of Facebook reach and engagement for 179 countries around the world.

As expected, organic reach and engagement have both dropped over the past year, with average reach down by more than 10 percent year-on-year.

Despite the depressing trends, these numbers will be valuable benchmarks for marketers everywhere – especially because they offer insights into the number of brands using paid media.

We’ve highlighted a small selection of interesting social media data for this post, but it only represents a sliver of the data you’ll find in the complete suite of 2018 Global Digital reports—which also covers global internet and mobile usage growth.

These reports provide 5,000 charts worth of in-depth data for more than 230 countries and territories, including all the essential numbers social teams need to understand current internet, social media, and mobile behaviours all around the world.

Download the 2018 Global Digital reports for free here.

If data and charts aren’t your thing, check out the 2018 Digital Yearbook for the most important local headlines.