Over two-thirds of online adults today are active users on social media.  Of these, 40% are connecting through mobile devices and 20% via tablet.  As a result, social engagement on PC’s and laptops is on the decline, as users switch from multi-device usage to mobile-first.

The average internet user spends 1.72 hours per day on social networks – an increase from 1.61 in 2012.  This time is spread across 5.54 platforms, as a user seldom abandons one platform for another.  With online networks now coexisting in a competitive landscape -each comprising a smaller share of attention- who is really in the lead?  To answer this question, we compiled a few insights from GWI’s 2014 Trend report.

  • Outside of China, Facebook still boasts the highest share of membership.  81% of adults hold an account, and 41% consider themselves active users.
  • YouTube has the highest rate of visitation- nearly 10% more than Facebook.
  • Pinterest is now the fastest-growing social network.
  • Snapchat was the fastest growing social app in 2014.  It is also most popular amongst teens, who are 3 times more likely to be on Snapchat than the average user.
  • Tumblr reaches the youngest audience, and follows closely behind Pinterest for the fastest growing social network.

According to forecasts, 2015 will see modest growth for Facebook, coming primarily from emerging markets, where internet populations are expanding.  Whatsapp and competitors will have to battle for market share in 2015, as messaging services and mobile usage are on the rise.  Across all platforms, the number of paid ads will increase considerably, as advertisers multiply their social media budgets.  Perhaps the most growth in 2015 will come from Snapchat, having just launched a new content service this week.  During its formative years, the company focused on expanding its user base rather than monetizing the platform.  Today, approximately 700 million photos and videos are exchanged through the free ephermeral messaging app daily.  Capitalizing on the value of an engaged network of mobile users fishing for quick and entertaining content, Snapchat seems to be moving on from just messaging, and advertisers are more than interested.

What does this mean for marketers?  This year, paid advertising will inevitably become more expensive.  Social media spend is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for marketers, and this drives up demand and costs for ad space.  With that said, 2015 will be an important year for advertisers to smartly invest in these platforms.  With Pinterest and Snapchat venturing into paid ad packages, and media outlets experimenting with native advertising, the distinction between ads and organic content is shrinking.  This will give marketers new and innovative ways to get up close and personal, and bring engaging, relevant content to the right places.

Jerome Maisch
Marketing Manager @digimindci. Passionate about big data & social marketing. Photography, music and hiking lover


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