social media

To no one’s surprise, global usage of social media rose last year (2020) during the coronavirus pandemic—beating expectations—according to a report from eMarketer. Last year saw almost 150 million more social network users worldwide than eMarketer predicted its November 2019 forecast, totaling 3.23 billion people—close to 81% of all internet users.

Plus, eMarketer revised its estimates for the major social platforms—upward. But while Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter have all added new users, the growth has not been equal.

Through 2024, Facebook is expected to keep “dominating global social networking.” In fact, eMarketer adds, “Facebook is still the only platform used by more than half (59%) of the world’s social networking population.” That gives Facebook an 8.7% increase in global users—passing 1.9 billion. That’s about 100 million more than eMarketer predicted in November 2019.

Even though that’s impressive growth, eMarketer says Facebook had been “sluggish.” And Instagram is the beneficiary of “Facebook’s difficulties…growing its user base by 22.9%,” the largest percentage increase of any social network in 2020. This growth pushes Instagram past 1 billion users. In their previous forecast, eMarketer didn’t think Instagram would hit that “milestone” until 2024.

Snapchat saw a 16.1% increase in global users. EMarketer attributes this growth to “new features and partly as a consequence of TikTok’s troubles.” TikTok was banned in India, which impacts their potential user base.

Twitter is used “much less than Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat” in most parts of the world. Yet eMarketer says it experienced a “steady” growth of 8.4% in 2020, “thanks to the platform’s starring role as a source of up-to-the-minute, bite-sized news and opinions in a year that was highly volatile politically, socially, and economically.”


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