Global Social Media Trends – What You Need To Know

10 Global Social Media Research Findings

Smartphones and global social media trends Social media usage varies by region.

Social media usage also varies by device.

Social media usage continues to expand across the globe and different platforms based on the Global Web Index‘s Social Media Report.

Global social media trends 4Q 2013

Smartphones and global social media trends

1. Facebook continues to reign as the top social network globally as its 4Q 2014 financials showed. This is similar to Pew Internet’s US findings.

  • 83% of those interviewed have a Facebook account.
  • 49% of Facebook users are active.
  • 56% of Facebook users log in more than once a day.
  • Facebook active usage declined 3%.

2. YouTube and Google+ rank second globally behind Facebook.

  • Google+ usage increased 6% in the 4Q 2013.
  • YouTube usage decreased 3% in the 4Q 2013.

Social Media 3. Instagram experienced 23% increase in active usage globally. Here are some tips on Instagram’s popularity.

This makes sense in light since 60% of images were taken and shared outside of the US. Don’t forget that Instagram is part of Facebook. Here are the  top Instagrammed cities in 2013; they represent a global mix.

  1. New York City, NY, USA
  2. Bangkok, Thailand
  3. Los Angeles, CA, USA
  4. London, UK
  5. São Paulo, Brazil
  6. Moscow, Russia
  7. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  8. San Diego, CA, USA
  9. Las Vegas, NV, USA
  10. San Francisco, CA, USA

Social Media Network usage 4Q2013 via Global Web Index

Global social media trends by region

Emerging Internet markets outpace established markets in terms of global social media use. Across most social media platforms, users from the Middle East and Africa tend to be high level participants.

4. Facebook has the highest usage across global regions and ranks highest for North American users with 55% usage.

5. Google+ usage is highest in the Middle East and Africa (31%) followed by Asia (26%) compaared with a mere 17% in North America.

6. Pinterest is effectively only in North America with 16% usage there. Given the focus on scrapbooking, interior design, clothes and food, these may be more consumer-oriented than in other cultures.

Global social media trends by region

Social media: Mobile trumps

Mobile is where the social media action is. Social media is made for on-the-go snacking behavior. It also underscores the mobile first or mobile only activity.

Once they attract their main mobile base, most mobile social media usage doesn’t change markedly. In 4Q2013, WhatsApp increased 7 percentagae points and WeChat increased 9 percentage points from 2Q2013.

7. Facebook is the global winner for mobile social media with 69% mobile app usage. Additionally, it’s important to look at Facebook’s extended reach via associated apps.

  • 37% of those surveyed used Facebook Messenger.
  • 36% of those surveyed used WhatsApp.
  • 21% of those surveyed used Instagram.

8. Don’t underestimate mobile owners’ appetite for video. 59% of those surveyed used YouTube, 10 percentage points lower than Facebook.

Social Media Mobile Apps-4Q2013

Age has an impact on global social media trends

Social media usage remains strong among the group that first started using these networks while in college.

9. Facebook’s biggest demographic age segment is 25 to 34 year olds. This shift is consistent with other data from early 2013 that showed a falloff in teen Facebook usage. Facebook was silent on this point when they discussed their 4Q 2013 results. Don’t look for the cool kids on Facebook.  39% of Instagram users are teens. This demographic loves to share photos. This purchase was and is strategically important to Facebook.

10. Tumblr continues to be popular with teens who account for 45% of its base. Since being purchased by Yahoo, little has been heard from this platform.

Global Social media trends by age

Globally social media continues to be attractive to audiences. While Facebook still dominates, it’s lost the strength of the teen demographic except through its mobile purchases, namely WhatsApp and Instagram.

Bear in mind that the heart of social media activity has migrated to mobile. Therefore your social media marketing must render well on smartphones and tablets.

What’s your experience been? Have you seen similar shifts in your audience’s social media usage?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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