More than 5 billion social media users – 62% of global population.

The latest Digital 2024 report, a collaborative effort between media intelligence provider Meltwater and creative agency We Are Social, unveils a wealth of data and insights shedding light on the current state of the digital realm.

One of the most striking revelations from Digital 2024 is the surpassing of the 5 billion mark in active social media user identities, accounting for a staggering 62.3 % of the global population. This milestone represents a significant increase of 266 million users over the past year alone, showcasing the relentless growth trajectory of social media worldwide. With users spending an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes per day on their preferred platforms, and engaging with an average of 6.7 platforms monthly, the influence and ubiquity of social media in our daily lives are undeniable.

TikTok emerges as a standout platform in terms of user engagement, with the average Android user dedicating an impressive 34 hours per month to the app, solidifying its position as a cultural phenomenon. Meanwhile, Instagram claims the title of the world’s ‘favourite’ social platform, dethroning last year’s winner, WhatsApp. This shift in preference underscores the dynamic nature of user preferences and the fierce competition among platforms for audience attention and loyalty.

The report delves deeper into the evolving landscape of social media, highlighting the robust growth of platforms such as LinkedIn, Snapchat, WeChat, and Pinterest, each catering to distinct user demographics and interests. Furthermore, a comprehensive analysis of TikTok hashtags reveals the platform’s unparalleled reach and influence, with hashtags like #fyp amassing an astounding 55½ trillion views, indicative of the platform’s cultural significance and impact.

Beyond social media, Digital 2024 offers insights into the broader digital ecosystem, including the proliferation of smart devices, gaming trends, and the burgeoning realm of social commerce. With the typical internet user spending over 6 hours and 40 minutes online each day, digital consumption continues to shape our behaviours and preferences in profound ways.

On the marketing front, digital ad spend witnessed a remarkable 10% year-on-year growth, surpassing $720 billion in 2023. Social ad spend experienced a notable uptick of 9.3%, reaching USD $207 billion, while investment in influencer activities surged by 17%. These figures underscore the pivotal role of digital marketing in reaching and engaging audiences in an increasingly crowded digital landscape.

Looking ahead to 2024, the report anticipates significant shifts in the global digital landscape, particularly driven by the expanding connected population in India. As India’s influence on global digital trends continues to grow, understanding the cultural nuances and preferences of this demographic will be essential for brands seeking to capitalise on emerging opportunities.

However, amidst the promise of digital advancement, challenges loom on the horizon. High-stakes elections and geopolitical tensions create fertile ground for misinformation, while advances in generative AI raise concerns about the proliferation of deceptive content. Yet, amidst these challenges, the report emphasises the transformative potential of digital connectivity to empower individuals, foster community, and drive positive change.

Paul Budde

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