How Much Time Do People Spend on Social Media in 2021?

Social media is an integral part of modern life, and the majority of internet users have a heavy presence on many different social networks. In fact, the average user has 7.6 active social media accounts.

With so many different accounts across a range of networks, it’s no surprise that many people spend quite a hefty amount of time on social media. How much time do people spend on social media, exactly? 

In this article, we’re going to answer the following questions: 

  • How much time do people spend on social media? 
  • Which social media platforms get the most attention? 

If you’ve been online in the past year or two, the answer to the second question is probably no big shock. Apps and platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Twitter all reflect the true essence of “social media” as it stands. 

Let’s start with a quick review and a basic rundown of social media use. 

At a Glance: Social Media Usage Statistics 

social media time

Here are some of the most impactful social media usage statistics: 

  • The average user spent 2 hours and 24 minutes on social media in 2020, which increased by 2 minutes from 2019. 
  • Facebook is the most popular social media network, with roughly 38 minutes spent daily on the platform and the most active users. 
  • Instagram users average 28 minutes per day, but this has been shown to increase to up to 54 minutes per day. 
  • YouTube comes in at about 40 minutes per day
  • 50.1% of time spent on social media was through mobile apps in 2020, with that number on the rise, and 99% of people preferring social media via mobile. 
  • Snapchat users spend roughly 30 minutes per day on the app.
  • WhatsApp is opened on average 23 to 25 times daily. 
  • There are 4.48 billion internet users on social media. 

The number of social media users has increased steadily over time, now clocking almost 4.5 billion actively using the different platforms. 

While the average user spends about 2 hours and 24 minutes per day on social media, this usage is spread across many different social networks.

According to Review42, South America has the most social media usage time, coming in at 3 hours and 29 minutes.  Statista indicates that the Philippines is the country with the most social media usage in time spent, clocking 3 hours and 53 minutes on social media daily. 

Brazil and Nigeria have high usage levels as well, both surpassing 3 hours and 40 minutes daily on social sites. 

Countries with low social media levels include Japan, with under 50 minutes on networks every day, as well as the Netherlands and South Korea. 

That said, Statista also reports that China has the biggest social media market worldwide, with India coming in second based on the number of social media users. 

The US comes in third, with Indonesia and Brazil trailing behind. 

83% of internet users were active on social media between April and September; even still, only 24% of those users felt it has a positive impact on their work. 

We’re going to dive into different social media platforms and how much usage each one sees, but first let’s take a look at 15 stats that can help us better understand the way that people use social media, and for how long every day. 

How Much Time Do People Spend on Social Media in 2021? 

social media

So,how much time do people spend on social mediain 2021? 

We’ve compiled the most impactful and current information for time spent on social media stats. Let’s check them out! 

1. in 2020, the Average Internet User Was on Social Media for 2 Hours and 24 Minutes Daily 

(Source: We Are Social) 

This is up two minutes from the prior year, 2019, at 2 hours and 22 minutes. It’s likely that screen time will continue to increase, since YOY, according to Statista, this number has gone up, even if just by a few minutes. 

2. 50.1% of Social Media Activity Is Done via Mobile Apps 

(Source: We Are Social)

With a global population of 7.8 billion, roughly 5.19 billion are mobile phone users. The global active internet user count as of 2020 was 4.57 billion, and 4.2 of those billion are unique mobile internet users. 

It’s clear that the internet and mobile phone use has become a significant part of our day-to-day lives, and time spent on social media via mobile has shown that in 2021, with an average of 3 hours and 40 minutes of mobile social media use daily. 

3. Instagram Users Spend Roughly 28 Minutes a Day on The Platform 

(Source: Hootsuite) 

Hootsuite has disclosed that Instagram users spend about 28 minutes per day on the platform, but this number has been reported differently by a number of outlets. 

Both Forbes as well as Review42 report an average of 53 minutes per day on Instagram, and a study done by Refinery29 shows that out of 33 people who shared their Instagram usage, the average was 1 hour and 12 minutes. 

72% of American teens actively use Instagram, and the largest user base of the platform comes from America, hitting 121 million users. Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users around the world, so it has a stronghold in many countries as one of the top social media networks. 

4. Instagram Has the 4th Most Users of Any Mobile Social Media App 

(Source: Backlinko) 

Instagram is based around mobile use; you cannot post via desktop, but they have expanded their features for web use to include direct messaging, which before wasn’t a possibility. 

Instagram still remains, however, a mainly mobile-based platform, and it is the fourth-most used mobile app after Facebook, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. 

5. Users Spend on Average 45 Minutes a Day Browsing Tik Tok 

(Source: Fast Company) 

TikTok usage has been debated across different outlets, but it’s clear no matter which statistics you abide by, that the platform has seen a huge surge of users, with over 1 billion monthly active to date. 

TikTok shot to popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been said to average 52 minutes of daily use according to sources such as Wallaroo Media and Oberlo. Fast Company states that TikTok users spend roughly 45 minutes per day, showing a decline. 

That said, NME states that TIkTok users spend a whopping 89 minutes per day on the platform. 

The primary demographic for TikTOk is Gen Z, but it does have users in other age groups as well. In the last decade, TikTok has become the seventh most-downloaded app.  

6. YouTube Users Spend Roughly 11 Minutes + 24 Seconds on The Platform Every Day

(Source: Hootsuite) 

The longstanding winner of second place in terms of social media popularity, YouTube has over 2 billion monthly active users. The largest market is in the US, with 14.8% of its user base from the territory, followed by India with 8.1%. 

The average adult spends 24 minutes daily on YouTube alone, and watch sessions on YouTube average about 40 minutes. 

YouTube is the second most-visited website globally, following only Google, even though 70% of YouTube visits come from mobile. 

5 billion videos are watched daily on YouTube, the equivalent of 1 billion hours of video every day. It’s the most popular video-sharing platform on a global scale. 

7. 90% of The Us Population Is Familiar with Twitter 

(Source: Hootsuite) 

Even if a person doesn’t use Twitter personally, the average person in the US does know about the platform, at 90% of people being familiar with Twitter. 

This is in comparison with 95% of people being familiar with Facebook, and 91% of people being familiar with Instagram. 

8. There Are 4.48 Billion People Using Social Media Actively in 2021. 

(Source: Backlinko)

56.8% of the world’s total population use social media today, which is about 4.8 billion global internet users. This means that 93.3% of internet users are active users of social media.  

Social media usage has steadily increased year over year since 2015; with roughly 2.078 billion active users in 2015, there’s been a growth of roughly 2.4 billion. The increases are quite notable, with YOY increases anywhere from 9% all the way to a staggering 21% increase in 2017. 

9. The Highest Social Media Growth Rates Occurred in Asia

(Source: Backlinko)

According to Backlinko, from 2019 to 2020, there was a growth in social media users on all continents. Asia marked the highest level of growth, with a 16.98% increase in social media user base. 

Following Asia was the Americas, with a total growth of user base at 14.96% between North and South America. 

Africa followed with an increase of 13.92%. The lowest regions of growth occurred in Australia and Europe, both increasing their user bases at a rate lower than 5%. 

10. Facebook Users Spent 38 Minutes Online Daily in 2020 

(Source: Review42)

Facebook usage has decreased over time, likely due to the increase in social media platforms as well as the usage of other networks overall. 

In 2020, the younger generation was shown to prefer other social media networks over Facebook, including Snapchat and TikTok. 

Facebook has also lost 15 million users since 2017. That said, it still hasn’t lost its footing as the most popular social network worldwide, with almost 3 billion monthly active users. 

11. The Average User Opens Whats App Between 23-25 Times Daily 

(Source: DigitalMarketing.org) 

WhatsApp is the most popular mobile messaging app on a global scale, with over 2 billion users. It tied YouTube in second place as the most popular social networking site after Facebook in 2020. 

WhatsApp can be found on virtually all smartphones worldwide, and 65 billion messages are sent every day via WhatsApp, a huge increase from the 2017 figure of 43 billion messages daily.  

The app is said to be opened on average between 23-25 times by a user daily. 

12. 72.3% of The US Population Have Social Media Networks 

(Source: Backlinko)

Social media is extremely popular in the US, with many platforms like Instagram and Twitter seeing the majority of their follower bases in the region. 

72.3% of the US population actively engages in social media use, which is 240 million people. 

13. Facebook and Instagram Are Among the Apps Most Americans Use Daily 

(Source: Backlinko) 

While Instagram and Facebook are still the most popular social media platforms in the United States, TikTok has grown by 18.3%. 

74% of Americans say they use Facebook daily, followed by Instagram at 63%. 

14. Snapchat Users Spend an Average of 30 Minutes per Day on The Platform 

(Source: Snapchat) 

Snapchat turned 10 years old in 2021 since its launch in 2011. It’s a multimedia messaging app that allows users to share photos and videos directly or to a feed of stories. 

This platform is what motivated Instagram stories to be launched in 2016, and Snapchat still hasn’t managed to surpass Instagram in terms of active users. 

With a user base of 265 million daily active users, it is extremely popular among younger social media users, being the most-preferred app for 53% of internet users aged 15 to 25 years

The biggest market for Snapchat is the US, with over 46 million monthly active users based there alone. The daily time a user spends on Snapchat averages 30 minutes. 

15. 99% of People Access Social Media on Mobile, Globally 

(Source: StatCounter) 

StatCounter shows that the current landscape of mobile vs. desktop social media use is highly geared towards mobile, with 55.89% accessing the internet via smartphone

That said, 99% (4.43 billion) social media users access platforms on mobile, with 78% of those users using mobile exclusively. 

Time Spent on Instagram 

Instagram 

Instagram remains one of the most popular social media networks, with over 1 billion monthly active users. 1.22 billion, to be exact. 

11.01% of active internet users reportedly have a registered Instagram account, and the app has reported continuously positive usage statistics. 

Instagram is one of the most reputable social media networks, and also has a big impact on its users in terms of marketing and business. According to Instagram itself, 90% of Instagram users follow a business. 

Additionally, 50% are more interested in a brand after seeing Instagram ads for it, which means the impact is quite large for brands and businesses looking to harness Instagram screen time. 

What’s more, 2 in 3 people confirm that Instagram enables brand interaction, so much of the screen time spent on Instagram can be productively channeled for your brand and business endeavors. 

While it’s been reported by Hootsuite and others that the average Instagram user reports about 28 minutes of daily screen time, since 2020 and the pandemic, usage reports for Instagram have indicated users are spending even more time— up to 53 minutes. 

That makes Instagram one of the most-used social media apps, coming in second after Facebook, and slightly edging out Snapchat, and only 1 minute less than the reported 52 minutes per day spent on TikTok. 

TikTok has quickly risen to popularity, and while it is coming in near Instagram, the Instagram platform has still slightly edged it out and kept its stronghold. 

While Instagram started out as a way to share photos with friends and family, it has rapidly expanded to a marketing powerhouse that puts users in direct contact with the brands and businesses that they love. 

Time Spent on Facebook 

Facebook time

Facebook remains the reigning king of social media, with 2.80 billion active users every month. As of January 2021, there are 4.2 billion people using social media, so over half of those users are active on Facebook. 

It’s the biggest social media platform to date and is primarily used for connecting with people and networking. That said, people do watch media via Facebook, as well as check out the marketplace and engage in shopping. 

Research from 2021 shows that US citizens over the age of 18 spend more or less 33 minutes daily on Facebook. People are usually on for a longer period rather than opening and closing the app a variety of times. 

Other data provided in 2018 shows that the average time spent on the Facebook mobile app was 58 minutes per day. 

This indicates that people spend more time looking at Facebook when done through a mobile app, and 98.3% of all Facebook users visit the site through mobile devices. This is why time spent on mobile phones is at an all-time high. 

The focus of mobile-driven social media platforms isn’t surprising, considering only 1.7% of Facebook users access the platform via laptop or PC. 

If you’d like to track your own personal usage of an app on your phone, you can do so using the Screen Time feature (iOS). On Android, you can find this under the Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls setting. 

It shows you the breakdown of the overall screen time you’ve had, as well as which apps got the most screen time activity. You can see how much time you spend on Facebook and other networks and see where you fall in terms of the average. 

Time Spent on YouTube

YouTube time

YouTube is the runner-up for the most active users after Facebook, clocking over 2 billion. That said, YouTube doesn’t require users to register to use the platform like other networks typically do, which means it can skew that data a bit and make it tough to know the true amount. 

79% of internet users have a YouTube account, compared to Facebook’s 85%. That said, YouTube has the most active users of any social media network, with 86% of all web users actively using the site and app. 

The younger generation has taken to YouTube in a big way, and Futuresource Consulting shows that 10% of UK users between the ages of 3-16 watch more than 3 hours of YouTube videos on a daily basis. 

On a larger scale, Digital Marketing research from 2020 illustrates the usage for an average person is significantly lower, at only 11 minutes and 24 seconds per day. 

Even still, YouTube has a huge amount of videos being watched every day— a whopping 5 billion videos daily   and the typical viewing session lasts about 40 minutes.  

With a large number of content creators, 15 million to be exact, and 500 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute globally, according to Oberlo. This means that users of the platform will always have something new and interesting to watch on the platform. 

Social media usage statistics also show that users prefer YouTube on a smartphone or tablet, accounting for 70% of all YouTube views. YouTube has even disclosed that the average of videos viewed on mobile devices in 2018 was one hour each day. 

Time Spent on Twitter 

Twitter time

Twitter is widely known in the US, and 90% of people say they are familiar with the app, even if they don’t use it themselves. While it’s recognizable, it’s not one of the most-used social media platforms out there today. 

Only 3% of teens in the US identify Twitter as their most-frequented social platform. Even still, as of January 2021, Twitter has 187 million monetizable daily active users on the network. 

This means that Twitter still has huge potential, and their user base is 68.5% male and 31.5% female, which is a difference from other social networks that have a slight majority of female users. 

Time spent on Twitter indicates that the largest demographic clocking screen time on the platform are those aged from 24-35. The majority of users are on Twitter for current events and news (59%), so this platform is more popular amongst adult demographics. 

Twitter is primarily accessed via mobile, with 80% of visits done on mobile, and 20% on desktop. Users are on the platform at a rate of 3 minutes and 39 seconds per session. 

It’s also important to note that Twitter is different from other social media networks in that it’s not as visual. The text-based platform does allow rich media, however, so it’s vital that you include it in your strategy. 

From 2019 to 2020, the number of video views on Twitter increased by 62% (Hootsuite), which is substantial enough to make an impact on your content approach to Twitter. 

In terms of marketing, B2B is the primary focus of Twitter, with 82% of B2B content marketers using Twitter. 

Time Spent on Facebook Messenger 

Facebook Messenger 

Facebook Messenger was previously the most popular messaging service before WhatsApp edged it out, but that doesn’t mean people still aren’t using it. 58% of people in North America connect with friends and family via Messenger, according to GlobalWebIndex

This isn’t surprising considering the usage rates for both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are very high. Messenger has a user base of 72% of internet users, with WhatsApp following at 66%. 

People love to connect with others via social media, and for direct communication, these two apps are the most popular. It has proved to be successful as many people use it every day. 

Statista shows that mobile messaging apps average about 24 minutes daily, with a projected user count of 3.21 billion on mobile phone messaging by 2022. 

Discord, for example, has 668k messages shared in an internet minute. 

Facebook messenger is noted as having 106 million monthly active US users in 2019 per Statista, making it the most popular in the US. They also indicate that 24.6% of these users are aged 25-34. 

Per month per user, Facebook Messenger logs 78 sessions

eMarketer suggests that things will continue to go well for Facebook Messenger in the coming years, indicating a user growth of 11.8 million US users over the next four years. 

Messenger is used primarily via mobile app, but is sometimes even accessed from smartwatches such as the Apple Watch. A small percentage of users access it via desktop. 

Time Spent on WhatsApp

WhatsApp

WhatsApp has surpassed FB Messenger in terms of monthly active users to become the most popular messaging platform available on a global scale. WhatsApp has over 2 billion monthly active users from around the world. 

Daily, ExpandedRambilngs estimates that 2 billion minutes of calls are performed via WhatsApp. It holds the #1 spot as a messenger app in over 180 countries. 

While the US was slow to engage on WhatsApp with only 18.8 million users in 2016, it exploded to 74 million US users in 2020 and is projected to grow to 85.8 million US users by 2023. 

We don’t typically think of messenger apps as social media networks, but when we ask ourselves, “how much time do people spend on social media?,” it needs to be a part of the conversation. 

WhatsApp now has a stories feature, which means people are not only on the app to chat with friends or make calls— they’re also browsing the story feature, which means you can take advantage of the platform for marketing efforts. 

WhatsApp also offers a business app, which means brands and businesses can use the platform for connecting with clients. Gearing the platform towards business and client engagement, you shouldn’t overlook the potential that the messaging app holds. 

After all, WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, soon to be called Meta, just as Instagram and FB Messenger is. 

Final Thoughts: Which Social Media Platform is Best for Reaching Your Audience? 

Based on social media usage statistics, you have some decisions to make regarding which platform is best for you. 

Facebook and YouTube boast the most monthly active users, but Instagram has powerful features for marketing and shopping, and also has shown a large increase in screen time. 

WhatsApp is also a great option for communicating with clients and advertising via the story feature. 

If you’re looking to increase your B2B efforts, you may consider organic content marketing via Twitter. 

At the end of the day, you can decide on your goals and then see which social media network will best serve them. Remember, the average user has 7.6 social media networks, so cross-promotion and cross-platform presence is also a big deal and can further your reputation on social media.

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