Is Whatsapp the world's favourite platform?

07 January 2022

It’s no secret that we’re using technology more and more every day. Did you know that there were half a billion new social media users in 2021 alone? With more than 4.7 billion people using the internet around the world, it’s pretty safe to say that there’s going to be some significant trends in digital usage. In this blog, we will highlight the most significant information gathered from the Digital 2021 April Global Statshot Report and try to make sense of what all of this means for the industry.

1. Digital Headlines

General research was executed to measure a wide range of information on how people use the internet globally and how this breaks down. Not only has internet adoption surpassed ‘60% of the world’s population’ (equating to 6 in 10 people around the world using the internet) but a massive 2/3 of the entire population now own a mobile phone. With so many digital users worldwide, it is much easier to understand why there are now over half a billion new social media users.

2. Social media continues to climb 

Moving on to social media specifically. Surprisingly, social media adoption has rapidly accelerated for this quarter of the year and it doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down. Hootsuite has noted that such a large increase in social media users equates to a ‘14% year-on-year growth rate’. If we were to put these figures into perspective, that means that social media is seeing more than ‘1.4 million new users each day’, equalling 16.5 new users every second! 

In addition to this, Hootsuite has also discovered that ‘social media user numbers grew twice as fast in the first quarter of 2021 than they did over the previous three months’. Just as we thought social media had reached its peak, it seems to be consistently climbing faster than it ever has before.

3. And the world's favourite social media platform is...

Whatsapp. A quarter of the world's internet users say that WhatsApp is officially their favourite platform, with Facebook coming in as a close second.

Instagram ranks as the third favourite platform which highlights that Facebook’s four main platforms take up a whopping 67.9% of favourite platforms worldwide.

Twitter followed in as a surprising fourth favourite. However, it is worth noting that the survey did not cover under 16’s which may be the answer as to why TikTok missed the fourth spot.

4. Facebook reigns as the most active social platform

Although WhatsApp may have taken the crown for the world’s favourite platform, this doesn’t mean that it’s the most active platform. Facebook continues to reign as the most active platform with ‘2.8 billion monthly active users’, a huge 57 million more users than it had just three months ago.

Youtube takes the silver medal for the second most active platform in 2021. Followed by the world’s favourite WhatsApp, as the third most active, with ‘2 billion active users a month’. It is worth keeping in mind, however, that WhatsApp accounts are connected via a mobile number and thus multiple accounts for one person is highly likely.

We can now determine that 17 social media platforms have at least 300 million active users a month. Figures as big as this allow us to gauge the potential of each platform and from numbers like this, it seems the answer is that the potential is massive.

Note: When it comes to applying these numbers to marketing, it is important to understand that there is most likely overlap in audiences. For example, most people using Facebook are also using Instagram, therefore you will not be reaching millions of brand new customers on each platform. 

5. Searching for brands

Since the internet is used by so many people every day, we can assume that there is likely to be searching behaviour due to such a high amount of daily usage.

One significant search behaviour emerging is  ‘72.1% of 16-24-year-olds are using social networks for brand research’. This can then inform marketers and brands across the globe to ensure that their brand is well represented across most social platforms, as this is where your customers are looking to connect with your brand. 

Additionally, it is apparent that a lot of people using social media are also using it to research physical products or services that they’re thinking of buying, so your brand must be keeping this trend in mind when it comes to marketing.

6. #Influenced

Due to the ever-growing data collection of internet usage, we are now able to explore the types of accounts users follow across different platforms. Unsurprisingly, most people tend to follow mostly their friends and family. Yet, it is interesting to see that just below friends and family, social media users seem to be following entertainment-related accounts such as TV shows, actors and musicians.

If you’re a B2B marketer, you may be interested to discover that around one-fifth of all internet users follow companies that are relevant to their work. Thus, B2B marketers may want to produce border marketing material to reach wider audiences, especially since it’s highly unlikely that all of these people work in procurement or partner relations.

Note: Social media users are more likely to follow companies and brands that they’re pondering purchasing from, rather than influencers and experts. With companies and brands taking 21-23% and influencers sitting below 22%. Even though this gap may be small, it is worth taking into consideration when crafting a marketing strategy.

7. New isn’t always best

In the world of technology and the internet, innovations are often discovered. However, many of the existing digital tools still offer many exciting opportunities.

Tools such as web-based email are still used by 4 out of 5 internet users. What’s even more telling is that this is one of the only areas where the usage remains consistent across the different demographics, roughly 79% across the board. 

Web-based email platform Yahoo!, attracted over half a billion users in March 2021, which is more than the popular platform Snapchat’s active user base.

The fundamental takeaway from this information is that many audiences continue to use their old favourite platforms, even with new services emerging. Don’t abandon platforms that are working for your brand just because something new has entered the industry, most digital opportunities are an addition rather than a replacement.

Inform your marketing

Now that you’ve read the 7 most common takeaways from this year's digital statshot, you should use this as a way of informing your marketing. With billions of digital users around the world, your opportunities are endless. Remember, data doesn’t lie.

Enjoyed this blog? Why not try our blog Why Sales and Marketing Should Be Friends or check out our entire blog catalogue here.

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