Social Media Status Report 2014

Source: We Are Social

As has been the case the last 2 years or so, social media remains the number one activity on the web. Significantly, over 40% of Internet users estimate their daily time spent on social networking to be more than an hour. This is illustrative of how prevalent these social platforms have become. To narrow down the numbers, Global Web Index released a new report offering a comprehensive overview of the latest global social media trends. Below are the headlines:

Facebook lost users but still remains dominant

Now that parents, teachers and grannies are finding a new home at Zuckerberg’s, the number of teens on the network took a dip in 2013. They have become more watchers. And it’s not just the teens, young adults are seemingly ashamed to be associated with Facebook. In Kenya, it has nicknames such as Mukuru kwa Zuckerberg, MKZ, presumably because the platform is too crowded and is associated with backdated and out-of-style people. The GWI report highlights that it’s the 25-34s who form the greatest share of active users.

While that may sound worrying, Facebook remains the most popular social platform and still commands the most active users. As it turned 10, the platform boasts of more than 757 million monthly active users and half of all Facebook users have more than 200 friends.

Instagram is growing the fastest of all

Pictures tell a thousand words and attract Internet users in droves! 2013 saw a dramatic 23% rise in the Facebook-owned mobile application. The platform allows users to upload and share pictures and short videos (up to 15 seconds) with their audience. In December 2013, Instagram added an update, Instagram Direct, that allows users to send photos only to a specific user. This was seen as a response to the nascent photo messaging app, Snapchat.

Instagram, with its 150 million monthly active users, is also looking to commercialize by September 2014. In early November, Instagram ran its pilot Ads and the results were promising. Brands that advertised saw awareness going up by 10% across four campaigns, with Levi’s reaching 7.4 million US 18-34 year olds in 9 days while Ben & Jerry’s reached 9.8 million US 18-35-year-olds in 8 days.

Apps are increasingly becoming popular

Twitter’s short video sharing platform, Vine, shot up by 105% despite Instagram introducing a similar video sharing feature. There were much more dramatic rises in estimated user numbers for WhatsApp (+35%), Snapchat (+54%) and, most significantly, WeChat (+379%). Tellingly, 16-24s are heavy users across all of these platforms. This is not a surprise as growth in handheld devices has been just as spectacular.

In sum, everything is going mobile. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are all working round the clock to make sure the mobile experience is opium. Global mobile penetration stands at 93% and 66% of the users accessed the social platforms on mobile compared to 64% on PC. This upward trend will continue into 2014 and in the foreseeable future.

Fred Kithinzi

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