Every year before I write this blog, I go back and read what I wrote in previous years. This lets us look at how much things have changed and how much they’ve stayed the same. In 2019, we talked about the importance of social media and the Kardashians. In 2020, we talked about the craziness of how elections, social movements, and COVID impacted social media. This year, we’re going to reflect on all of that and update you on some new changes.
Last year, we talked about the increase in time spent on social media, simply because people were bored; they were looking for something to do, so they scrolled, they called their mom, or they looked up recipes for banana bread. Even as things are returning to normal, we’ve still seen an increase in the number of social media users worldwide. In 2021, we’re looking at 3.78 billion people, a 5% increase from 2020. This may be shocking to some, but it makes sense if you think about it. More people are working from home and can take more leisurely breaks, we can start to travel again, wedding planning can resume (hello, Pinterest!), and, well, we’re just used to it.
So, we know that more people are using social media every day, but how much time are they actually spending on it? The average person spends 2 hours and 24 minutes each day on various social media platforms, and that makes up for about half of their total screen time. Think about the average daily screen time notifications you receive every Sunday – are your numbers on par with these? Are they higher or lower?
Something that affects marketers more than ‘normal’ people is the Apple iOS 14 update, which allows users to limit how they are tracked. When you open an app, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you will receive a notification with two options: “ask app not to track” and “allow”. This changes how social ads are run, which I discussed in my last blog, but it also gives users a feeling of relief; their every move is no longer being tracked. I wonder how this will affect time spent on social sites going forward. Will people spend more time scrolling since they aren’t scared that everything they do is being watched? Will it have the opposite effect and limit screen time since people will no longer be shown as many relevant ads, which keeps them shopping, browsing, or simply logged on? This rollout happened the week of April 26th and has been steadily flooding out since, meaning only time will tell how this impacts users’ screen time in the future. I can guarantee I’ll have an update for you this time next year, so check back then for more updates.
Social media continues to grow each year, just as it has since I first joined Myspace in the early 2000s, and as it has since I began in the industry 7 years ago. Social media growth brings new platforms, new advancements, different ways to track, and so much more. Pretty much anything you can imagine when it comes to social media either has already happened or is bound to happen in the coming years, maybe even months. Whether we like to admit it or not, social media plays a big role in each of our lives.
How has social media impacted your life? Is that impact positive or negative? What’s your favorite platform to spend your 2+ hours on each day? Let us know the answers to these questions and let us know if you think that social media can help your business because, in 2021, that’s exactly what it’s here for.