Updated: Feb 6, 2024, 7:20pm
Recent announcements at Google I/O have propelled social media into an even larger share of the web spotlight. Platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are poised to become powerful marketing stages for your brand to interact with your audience.
And these major changes in search mean it’s now crucial for marketers and small businesses to understand current social media trends and evolving user behaviors on these platforms. Our carefully curated list of 2023 social media statistics provides a vital snapshot of the current social media landscape.
In 2023, an estimated 4.9 billion people use social media across the world
The number of social media users worldwide has swelled to a record 4.9 billion people globally. What’s more, this number is expected to jump to approximately 5.85 billion users by 2027.
These aren’t users tied to a single platform, either: The average user now spreads their digital footprint across a staggering six to seven platforms every month—highlighting the need for a multi-platform approach to social media marketing.
This number isn’t expected to stay stagnant, though, with forecasts predicting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.2% from 2023 to 2030. The driving force? The increasing global adoption of 5G technology. Social media platforms will need to continuously evolve to meet the demands of this blistering rate of growth, which means marketers will need to adapt and evolve their strategies to keep up.
The most used social media platform in the world is Facebook, with 2.9 million monthly active users across the world.
Facebook’s reign continues into 2023, but it doesn’t stand alone. YouTube is hot on its heels, clocking in with 2.5 million monthly active users.
These staggering numbers aren’t just statistics, either. They highlight the expansive influence and potential of social media platforms. The takeaway for marketers? To harness the increasing power of social, marketing strategies will need to leverage these platforms effectively to engage with audiences. Using social media management tools effectively is crucial to capturing this traffic.
India has the largest number of Facebook users with a staggering 448.1 million users. making it the country with the highest number of Facebook users. This represents around 31.8% of the population. In other words, over one out of every five people in India is a Facebook user.
Active Social Media Penetration in India is 33.4%
According to figures, the biggest social media platforms, at the beginning of 2023, there were 398.0 million users in India who were 18 years of age or older, or 40.2 percent of the country’s entire population.
In general, 67.5% of all internet users in India in January 2023 (regardless of age) used at least one social networking platform.
The average person spends about 145 minutes on social media every day
Time is a precious commodity. So it’s significant that the average person globally spends a significant portion of their day—about 145 minutes—on social media. Interestingly, Indians, on average, spend about 141.6 minutes on social media daily. 
To put this into perspective, if the average person maintained this usage over an average life span of 73 years, the end result is an astonishing 5.7 years spent on social media platforms. For marketers, these numbers highlight the reach and potential of an effective social media strategy.
Both brevity and authenticity are winning the day on social media, with short-form videos—typically less than a minute in length—capturing the attention of 66% of consumers. Highly shareable, these bite-sized videos are 2.5 times more engaging than longer videos, and 34% of consumers appreciate the more genuine nature of the shorter form.
It comes as no surprise that the majority of people are tapping into social media through their mobile devices, but the number itself might raise some eyebrows: 99% use a tablet or smartphone to connect to social media, while 78% do so exclusively from their phones.
At 1.32%, desktop social media users are dwarfed by their mobile-loving counterparts. It’s clear, then: mobile-focused social media strategies are key. Make sure that when you create a website for your business, you utilize a website builder that can reflexively optimize your site for both desktop and mobile experiences.
The country where people spend the most average hours on social media is Nigeria
Nigeria tops the global charts in social media use, with its citizens averaging more than four hours a day on social networks—far surpassing the global daily average of 2 hours and 27 minutes. Other emerging markets with youthful demographics such as the Philippines and India also show high engagement levels, highlighting the importance of demographic and regional considerations when planning social media campaigns.
74.70% of internet users in India will be using Instagram in 2023, making it the most popular social media network there. There are 516.92 million active Instagram users in India. Young people, particularly teens, make up a large portion of Instagram’s user base. the parent firm Meta, which acquired Instagram for $1 billion. It has become a lucrative source of revenue for producers and an excellent sales channel for companies.
With 492.70 million active internet users, Facebook is the second most popular platform in India, where 71.20% of internet users have profiles on the social network. Facebook is the most favored company in India among businesses, the political establishment, and the general populace, and it will continue to be a powerful influence for many years to come.
The most popular social network, Facebook, will continue to rule for many years to come. Many renowned brands have interacted with their fans on Facebook.
Twitter (42.90% penetration), LinkedIn (35.7% penetration), Moj (29.50% penetration), a short video community created locally, and Pinterest (29% penetration) are a few additional social networking platforms that are well-liked in India. A short video app called Moj Lite Plus (26.20% penetration) is one of the few newcomers. 
The takeaway? This evolution of social media to better mirror the demographics of the broader overall population emphasizes the importance of age-differentiated strategies when planning out social media campaigns.
The average CTR of ads across social media was 1.21% in 2022
Data from 2022 shows that the average click-through rate (CTR) across all social media platforms was 1.21%—a slight dip from the previous year’s CTR of 1.3%. Despite this minor decline, the numbers highlight the continuing need to create compelling social media ad campaigns to maximize engagement and conversion.
77% of businesses use social media to reach customers
Businesses are often among the first to leverage the power of new technology, so it makes sense that, in an increasingly digital business landscape, 77% of small businesses use social media to connect with their customers. In addition to building brand awareness (44%), a significant number of small businesses—41%—also depend on social media as a revenue driver.
90% of users follow at least one brand on social media
Social media’s reach is everywhere these days, as evidenced by the 90% of social media users who are following at least one brand. It’s a powerful illustration of the shift in consumer behavior towards more direct and engaged relationships with brands—and a strong indication of the importance of brands’ strong social media presence to establish and maintain brand loyalty.
76% of social media users have purchased something they saw on social media
While the purchase pathway varies—with 11% buying immediately, 44% deferring online purchases for later and 21% opting to buy in-store—the 76% of users who have bought a product based on a brand’s social media post reflects how social media has changed the face of retail.
Half of millennials trust influencers’ product recommendations
In a twist of trust worthy of prime-time consideration, 50% of Millennials place their faith in social media influencers’ product recommendations, surpassing their trust in their favorite celebrities, which stands at 38%. The key driver behind this trust? Authenticity: An impressive 88% of Millennials say they value authenticity in the influencers they follow—laying out a clear framework, rooted in relatability and sincerity, for marketers to follow.
3.8 million posts on Instagram had the hashtag “ad” in 2021
Instagram saw an impressive uptick in ad content in 2021, with 3.8 million posts worldwide donning the #ad hashtag—a significant 27% hike from the 3 million reported by the social media platform in the previous year and a clear sign of its evolution as a key player in the digital advertising world.
Influencer spending hit $4.14 billion in 2022
Influencer marketing took a quantum leap in 2022, as expenditure in this realm skyrocketed to $4.14 billion. It’s an impressive number, marking an increase of around a billion dollars from the previous year’s numbers. With this kind of trajectory, the future looks bright for influencer marketing.
The minimum average cost of a sponsored YouTube video with 1 million views is $2,500
On the YouTube sponsorship landscape, 2022 saw an average minimum price tag of $2,500 for videos garnering over a million views. Videos that racked up between 500,000 to a million views came in at a more modest $1,105—and a more hefty average maximum price of $16,234.
The minimum average cost of an Instagram post with 1 million followers is $1,200
Influencers on Instagram with over a million followers saw their star power translate into posts that fetched an average minimum price of $1,200 in 2021. Macro-influencers (with followers ranging from 100,000 to a million), meanwhile, settled for a lower average minimum cost of $185 per post, with potential to escalate to an average maximum cost of $2,500.
The minimum average cost of a Tik Tok post with 1 million followers is $1,034
TikTok mega-influencers, with a fan base of over a million followers, commanded an average minimum price of $1,034 per video. Macro-influencers on the platform, with followings of between 100,000 to a million, saw a lower average minimum of $151 per post, with the possibility of netting an average maximum of $793.
Research shows that there is a correlation between social media use and depression for adolescents
Amid the buzz of likes, shares, and retweets and reposts, research points to a troubling link between adolescent depression and social media use. There is, however, a silver lining: Researchers have also found that social media can foster diverse friendships and provide easily accessible support.
There’s even the potential for social media to serve as a crucial tool in the early detection of depressive signs. Overall, there’s a definite need for a nuanced understanding of the complex relationship between social media and adolescent mental health and the development of targeted interventions.
67% of adolescents report feeling worse about their own lives as a result of their social media use
Social media is a complex web for today’s teens: While 67% feel a dip in self-esteem as they compare their lives with the filtered “realities” they see on social media, 73% report finding solace and support on these platforms during tough times. It’s a delicate balance that reflects the multifaceted impact of social media on young lives.
Adolescents who spend more than three hours a day on social have an increased risk of mental health struggles
For many teens, social media can be a slippery slope leading to mental health issues. Research has found that teens who spend over three hours daily on social media platforms are more likely to internalize problems—suggesting that excessive social media use could be silently contributing to adolescent mental health struggles.
Potential solutions? Limiting social media time, increasing media literacy and redesigning platforms might be keys to healthier digital interactions to counter this troubling trend.
As of 2023, the fastest-growing social media platform is Instagram
In India, Instagram is the most used social media platform in 2023 with 74.70% of the internet users enrolled. There are 516.92 million active Instagram users in India. Young people, particularly teens, make up a large portion of Instagram’s user base. the parent firm Meta, which acquired Instagram for $1 billion. It has grown into a source of income for creators and a great sales channel for businesses. 
Growth of social media commerce in India
A study predicts that social commerce in India will witness a compound annual growth rate of 55-60% between FY 2020-2025, expanding the current market size from $1.5-2 billion to $16-20 billion. 
The social media advertising market is expected to reach $1.28 billion in 2023 in India
Ad spending in the Social Media Advertising market is projected to reach US$1.28bn in 2023. Ad spending is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2023-2027) of 3.76%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$1.49bn by 2027.
Social media is about more than just apps and platforms: It’s a digital environment that’s clearly reshaping the world of marketing. Platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are the arenas where your brand can truly connect, engage and grow with your audience. With our 2023 social media statistics as a road map, embrace the evolution of social media and watch your brand story unfold in captivating ways.
Aashika is the India Editor for Forbes Advisor. Her 15-year business and finance journalism stint has led her to report, write, edit and lead teams covering public investing, private investing and personal investing both in India and overseas. She has previously worked at CNBC-TV18, Thomson Reuters, The Economic Times and Entrepreneur.
Updated: Feb 6, 2024, 7:20pm