February may be the shortest month but we have just as much to share with you, so do not fret. Luan Wise and Andy Lambert continue to discuss all things social media.

We have some shocking stats, interesting trends and really useful feature updates to share from February 2023. As always, we have a lot to cover, so let’s get straight in.

You can watch the recording, here:

Below is the summary of everything discussed:

Trends and Data

  •  Has social media’s growth stagnated?
  • The world’s most used social media platforms
  • Daily time spent using social media
  • Social media platform audience overlaps
  • Media habits across demographics
  • Instagram reach rate benchmarks
  • Is the buzz around Mastodon already over?
  • Has BeReal peaked too?
  • Platform growth

Feature Updates

  • Instagram updates
  • Facebook updates
  • Twitter updates
  • LinkedIn updates
  • TikTok updates
  • YouTube updates
  • Snapchat updates

Trends and Data

Has social media’s growth stagnated?

DataReportal released their 2023 Global Digital Report a few weeks ago, which is a rundown of essential digital usage and connectivity insights from around the world.

Here are the key bits of information that we found the most useful:

Out of 8.01 Billion people in the entire world, almost 60% are active social media users. Overall internet users make up 64.4% of the population, which means that only a small minority of people on the internet are not using social media. So, can social media as a whole grow any more? These stats seem to suggest it can’t. Seemingly, anyone that has access to the internet is already using social media every month.

Despite this, social media users are continuing to grow over time! However, it is important to note that this increase is very minimal, e.g. 3% since 2022. This shows pretty much total ubiquity.

The world’s most used social platforms (page 182)

Facebook is the world’s most used social media platform, with almost 3 billion users and YouTube is second, with 2.5 billion users. Clearly, both Facebook and YouTube are still highly significant and hold great opportunities to grow on the platforms. TikTok comes in at 1 billion users, which still remains lower than Instagram (2 billion users). Twitter is right at the bottom with 556 million users, followed by Pinterest (445 million users).

Daily time spent using social media

These charts are extremely useful for us as we can see where we have a greater chance of our content being seen. 

Naturally, we will see higher organic growth on the platforms where people are spending more time.

Social media platform audience overlap (page 183)

An increasingly small number of users are unique to one specific platform. It is very common for social media users to have accounts on multiple platforms. Obviously, every platform has specific reasons for using it, which are often very dissimilar to other platforms. So, just because users are on multiple platforms, does not mean that they want to consume the same type of content on each platform. This helps us plan where we want to position ourselves in order to target users and expand our impact. Some of the findings include:

  • 86.6% of LinkedIn users and 82.1% of TikTok users, are also using Facebook
  • 85.5% of Pinterest and 78% of WhatsApp users are also using Instagram
  • 74.9% of Instagram users are also using YouTube

You can use this information to work out what is best for you. We can’t do everything or be everywhere. For example, only 0.1% of TikTok users are unique to that platform. So, if you are worrying about being on TikTok, remember that the users are elsewhere too.

Media habits across demographics

GWI’s core Q2 2022 report showed some interesting results around media habits across the globe. Based on the average daily time spent on social media, with the exception of Europe and North America and those aged 55%, we can see that social media is the most used form of media across all different forms. This time is typically taken away from other forms of media, such as TV, not just added to the day.

Instagram reach rate benchmarks

Becoming more platform-specific here, Bazaar Voice shared some interesting metrics around Instagram posts vs Stories. Overall, posts have a much higher reach than Stories and as mentioned prior, your percentage reach typically decreases as your followers grow.

Is the buzz around Mastodon already over?

Yes. A lot of the time, a new ‘shiny thing’ can become viral and hugely popular, and can often scare social media managers and business owners into putting a lot of resources into it. After Elon Musk bought Twitter in October 2022, active users on Mastodon soared. Since then, the active users have dropped significantly from 2.5M active users at its peak, to 1.5M active users in February 2023.

Has BeReal peaked too?

Unfortunately, BeReal may have also met the same fate as Mastodon. At its peak, BeReal was achieving 40M global downloads in a quarter. In Q1 2023 (projected figures based on January 2023), the global downloads are at 15M. Further, the daily app store ranking for the app has fallen from 1st during the summer of 2022, to below 100. Another example of ‘wait and see’ when it comes to new social media platforms.

Platform growth

  • Snapchat’s growth rollercoaster has been interesting to keep our eyes on, to say the least. In 2019-2020 it wasn’t doing very well, but it is now growing rapidly. Globally, the average daily active users has increased by 17% since Q4 2021.
  • Pinterest’s monthly active users have increased by 4% globally, showing that it is not recovering after the hit it took in the pandemic.
  • LinkedIn is now up to 900 million members in 200 countries and regions worldwide and it is continuing to grow.
  • YouTube shorts hit 50 billion daily views.

Social Media Platform Updates

Instagram Updates

  • Quiet mode– you can now silence the app and its notifications when you need to take a break from the platform.
  • Gifting– viewers can send virtual gifts as a form of appreciation for creators
  • Refocusing on photos– we are now cycling back after Instagram admits that they were ‘overfocused on videos’ and are now heading back to the way the platform was pre-2022
  • Capture ‘leads’ from business profiles– you can now add a lead form to your profile
  • Story memories– you can now look back on past stories as a memory. Only you can see this memory unless you choose to share them.
  • ‘Topics’ added to Instagram reels– add topics and categories to Instagram Reels to help with organisation and discovery
  • Choose with whom you share Reels– do you want to share with everyone, close friends or followers only?
  • Broadcast channels– creators can do ‘one to many messaging’. It is starting in the USA and then will be rolled out elsewhere. It is a nice addition for those who use Instagram as a ‘behind the scenes’ of a business.

Facebook Updates

  • Add collaborators to Reels
  • Turn Facebook lives into Reels– great for content repurposing
  • Save Reels as a draft and download– another feature that is useful for repurposing
  • Meta subscription– a verified account, similar to Twitter Blue, and additional features could become a paid subscription by Meta. It is currently in testing but is one to watch out for.

Twitter Updates

  • 60-minute video uploads for Blue subscribers
  • 4,000 character tweets for Blue subscribers– useful for Twitter threads in order to tell a story
  • Twitter Blue for Business– the avatar is square rather than circle for businesses, to distinguish business accounts from personal accounts
  • Twitter post boosting– you can now pay to boost your posts from your personal profile
  • Swipeable feed– you now see your top tweets first
  • View counts to tweets for everyone to see

LinkedIn Updates

  • Testing posting topics– LinkedIn is testing ‘suggested topics’ when you go to write a post
  • Improved newsletter discovery– newsletters feature in search results and one-tap subscribe links are now available
  • Newsletter SEO– LinkedIn has added SEO for search engine result pages
  • Record number of visits– traffic is up on the platform with more and more people seeking jobs on the platform

TikTok Updates

  • Draw and Guess feature– a nice feature for live streams in a way to interact with viewers
  • Save your TikTok drafts without a watermark– great for editing and for repurposing to different platforms
  • SEO trick– when you search for something on TikTok, you can see recommended results, which you can add to your own content and optimise your SEO to enhance discovery
  • Carousels are blowing up – TikTok is now more accessible for creators who do not want to create video content

YouTube Updates

  • Updated analytics to understand where subscribers come from
  • Upload thumbnail for Shorts
  • Add a ‘location’ to YouTube Shorts

You made it!

Now, we did warn you that there was a lot to cover off this month. So, let’s summarise everything that we’ve just read.

  1. Social media continues to have an incredible impact on society
  2. Facebook continues to invest in Reels, which means good growth potential
  3. YouTube Shorts continues to offer a great opportunity for small businesses
  4. LinkedIn’s strong growth, organic reach and SEO value mean it’s a solid platform
  5. Twitter appears to be tilting more towards a ‘pay to play’ model
  6. Instagram re-focusing on photos and community could re-invigorate reach

 A question for you: Are you prepared to start paying for verified accounts with Meta and Twitter?

Tinisha Osu is a Marketing Executive with two degrees in Psychology. She is the first-author of a published psychology paper and is beginning her career in marketing through blog-writing, creating social media content and running marketing campaigns.