Social Media Use in 2021: Stats and Insights

Toni Becker August 01, 2021

Digital adoption has increased substantially since the COVID-19 pandemic made its way across the globe in 2020. With social distancing regulations in place, and with more and more people making the switch to work from home, online communication and social media use skyrocketed. 

Now that the vaccine has been introduced to the world, people are slowly making their way back into pre-pandemic activities. With this in mind, has social media use dwindled in 2021 or is it still soaring?

Hootsuite released their July Digital 2021 report and revealed the latest data on the state of internet usage and social media in 2021. In this article, we take a look at the state of social media use in 2021 and provide insight into what your brand can do to stand out from the online crowd. Let’s take a look.


Social Media Growth in 2021

So, has social media experienced a decline or increase in activity in 2021?

According to statistics released by Hootsuite, the rate of growth in social media users is not slowing down at all. In fact, the worldwide unique user total grew by a staggering 520 million over the past year. This is significant as it represents a 13% annual growth rate. If we unpack this even further, this means that 1 in 9 of today's social media users only began using social media for the first time in the past year. 

This shows the growth that has taken place from July 2020 - July 2021 however, what has the growth been like in 2020 alone. Today's social media user total is 147 million higher than it was almost 3 months ago. So, is social media growing in 2021? The answer would be a resounding yes - and it doesn't look like it's slowing down anytime soon. In fact, digital growth rates continue to elevate as we head into the second half of the year.

Social Media Platforms: TikTok and Instagram Growth in 2021

As of 2021, Facebook is still the most dominant social media platform however, TikTok has seen the fastest growth of all other social media platforms. The social media powerhouse was only launched 5 years ago and is now in 5th place for most monthly active users. Instagram has also experienced significant growth and sits at number 4 in this regard. 

With this in mind, it is no wonder brands are turning their attention to these image and video-based social media platforms. You see, Facebook may have the most users however, Gen Z and Millennials are now migrating to Instagram and TikTok - and as these generations hold massive buying power, brands are taking notice.

For some insight, TikTok active user growth is predicted to reach 1.2 billion people in 2021. So, how does Instagram stand as of 2021? According to Hootsuite there have been considerable changes in Instagram's advertising reach. This is important for marketers to recognize as Instagram advertising has increased by 100 million users over the past 3 months and this signifies a quarter-on-quarter growth of over 7.5%.

What do the next 6 months look like for social media and internet usage?

As per the above statistics, we can see that digital adoption and digital use are rising throughout the world and marketers need to take this opportunity and run with it. What is also important to note is that these numbers are not dwindling and the high levels of growth - specifically around social media - cannot be ignored. 

So, what can marketers and businesses do with this information? 

3 Important Social Media Marketing Tips for the Second Half of 2021

1. Create New Value With Digital Utility

When we think of social media marketing, our mind immediately turns to businesses based on communication or entertainment. We don’t think about product or service promotions anymore. That’s too dull for the social media landscape, isn't it? However, the latest digital innovation is moving toward focusing on everyday utility. There has been a paradigm shift in the education, healthcare and banking sectors - with many of these industries turning their attention to digital activities to better the user experience. 

It may appear that these industries don't have a lot of advertising opportunities, but this is not the case. It is important you explore how you can make use of digital and social media channels to create greater value for your audiences in these industries. Think about it like this - you don't want to create advertisements simply based on a product or service. You want to take your marketing for these industries a step further through entertaining social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram Reels. Think inspirational video content and how-to videos. This can take your advertising to the next level in these industries

2. Video Content is Key

The rise in TikTok and Instagram relates to the video elements of the social media apps. In 2021, video content is on the rise and considered the most engaging content type on social media. TikTok is the undisputed leader in video content, and apps like Facebook and Twitter are scrambling to amp up their video capabilities - and brands need to be aware of this new wave of consumable content to get ahead of their competitors.

Marketers can expect massive video consumption in the coming 6 months and need to invest time and strategy into developing strong video marketing campaigns. 

3. Shoppable Social Media Content

Today, social media channels are quickly doubling as shopping sites. Many brands have now adjusted to the online landscape and platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok have started to develop more online business eCommerce solutions. Snapchat and TikTok were the first platforms to make mention of this kind of offering but it was Instagram and Facebook that actually brought shopping and eCommerce capabilities directly to their apps. 

Today, we have Instagram Shoppable posts and Facebook shops available to consumers. This means your audience is able to buy a product seen on a post without even having to leave the app they are on. This makes for easier purchase decisions and brands are quickly seeing the value in this kind of marketing.

The Wrap Up

The social media landscape is ever-growing and brands across the world need to consider how they can use social media to better their brand awareness and of course, their bottom line.

The vision for the future of social media is very much entrenched in incorporating the latest social media technology and deepening connections built online. 

Book a meeting with the Nexa team - we’re ready to help you elevate your social media marketing.