Social media – let’s get global: The stats and facts

Social media, we all use it in some form or another to connect with each other locally and globally. Let’s think about it. How many social media apps do you have on your phone? How many social media accounts do you have? Whether we like it or not social media platforms play an important part of our lives. Our work and personal lives interlink on social media. Believe it or not, Whatsapp is also recognised as a social media platform, We hope to open your mind to social media on a global scale, showing a comparison in some cases with local statistics showing you a bigger picture.

Take a moment to think about what you’d rate as the top 10  social media internationally, now think about it in a South African context. The facts speak volumes. Simmer on our blog post and comment below to get this conversation started.

According to more than half the world now uses a smartphone and almost two-thirds of the world’s population now has a mobile phone with the average user accessing 7 accounts (Global Web Index). The current estimated number of smartphone users in South Africa is set to reach 16.1 million with an expected reach of 22 million users by 2021 (Statista) If you’ve ever doubted the rise in social media in South Africa vs globally, these figures will give you a new understanding of the power/scale of social media.

Did the above numbers match your perception of what the top platforms were? Looking closely at, we see that the top 4 are Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Twitter based on popularity and monthly visitors. Now think about your website or some of your clients’ websites. What social media icons are represented? On the Airborne website, we feature Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. LinkedIn only has 106, 000, 000 monthly users which is still a good number. It is important to remember that your brand/client’s choice may not feature all of the top 4 platforms shown here because your decision was based on your audience and product. Your needs may vary as time goes on, re-evaluating your social media platforms is never a bad thing. (Local and International brands) Do you still encounter people that are social media hesitant? Share this interesting fact with them:

Since 2005, the number of people who use social media has risen from 5% to 69%. (Pew Research Center)

In March 2016, the top social media platforms were listed as (Insideman):

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. LinkedIn
  4. Youtube
  5. Google +
  6. Pinterest
  7. Instagram

We can see that these numbers have changed since last year and confidently say that Facebook will remain at the top locally and internationally. Contributing factors to this are: Facebook is still the site with the most active users (1.860 billion) per month, that’s roughly 22% of the world’s population. (Statista) holding an 18% market share, 7% more so than its closest competitor, the Facebook-owned, WhatsApp. (Smartinsights) It easy to understand why almost all businesses see the need to have Facebook as their primary social media platform. Are all your favourite brands on Facebook?

Enough about Facebook, the information below will give you some insights into other social media platforms from various sources:

  • In Asia, social media commerce makes up about 30% of online sales. (eMarketer)
  • WhatsApp: has over a billion users now. – You will notice a rise in brands using Whatsapp. A good example of this comes from Heart 104.9 FM, they allow listeners to enter competitions and interact with the station through a dedicated line.
  • Twitter: There are 500 million tweets sent per day and 100 million active users. 79% of Twitter accounts are based outside the United States (Omnicore Agency)
  • Instagram: 40 billion photos have been shared to date on Instagram: 80% of Instagram users come from outside of the U.S with +- 95 million photos uploaded per day. (Omnicore Agency)
  • LinkedIn: 70% of Linkedin users are from Outside of Us. 40 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn. There are 57% of male users and 44% female users on Linkedin. (Omnicore Agency)
  • YouTube reaches more people age 18-49 than any cable network in the U.S. (YouTube)
  • Pinterest: 45% of online women use Pinterest. (Pew Research Center)

Other sources: