While other social media networks have arguably made the news more recently, no one can deny the popularity and power of Facebook. While numbers might be down by some accounts, there are still billions of users on the platform, and it is the most popular social media network in the world. It is regularly trying out new things (sometimes to the chagrin of critics and users), and few online companies have the infrastructure and ability to try new initiatives. It can reach people like perhaps no other company can.
For those reasons, it's essential to understand the platform better, whether you use it or not (and there are certainly arguments against using it). With that in mind, let us look at the statistics and trends you need to know about in 2022.
A Few Baseline Statistics
To start things off, what does Facebook look like these days, and what is its presence online? Everyone knows it's a big deal, but that doesn't tell us all too much or allow us to analyze anything. While we'll likely get into each topic a bit more later in the article, here are a few things to note to start us off:
- Facebook is still less than two decades old. It was started in Cambridge in 2004 as a site generally meant to connect university students. However, it multiplied from there, and the rest is a fascinating history to read involving Mark Zuckerburg and other figures. As of this writing, the site is 18 years old and looks entirely different than when it first started, although some functionality and the mission of connecting people remain the same.
- Regarding user traffic, it is usually the third most visited website in the world. It falls behind only Google and YouTube, and these rankings aren't expected to change anytime soon.
- While accessing the site via a browser was originally the main and only way to use Facebook, times have changed. Now 98.3 percent of Facebook users utilize a mobile platform. They might still use a computer to use Facebook, but their mobile device is part of using Facebook, and it is unlikely to go away.
- In some users' cases, it can't go away. Facebook is a default app that cannot be uninstalled on many mobile phones, and many sites, apps, and tools use a Facebook login to create a login for a more specific account. People now upload phone videos regularly.
- Across the world, 93 percent of respondents to a social media marketer survey use Facebook as a marketing channel. It would be almost unheard of not at least to consider it, and advertising on Facebook is as standard as any other form of marketing seen today.
- It also is the most popular social media platform to advertise on. Next up would be Instagram which 73 percent of respondents used. Coincidentally, Instagram is owned by Meta, Facebook's parent company.
- Facebook is different things to different people. About 36 percent of people who are in the United States and are adults use it as a news source. We want to emphasize that it's not just 36 percent of Facebook users but 36 percent of all U.S. adults. The validity of Facebook as a news source is constantly questioned, and there is fear about misinformation on the platform. Still, it is used, which is the reality we currently have to live with.
- Interestingly, this is more than any other social media network. The research was conducted a couple of years ago, so things could have changed since then, but the evidence points to the trend that things haven't changed much, and many people still rely on Facebook for news.
- If you want your post to get the most engagement, post it at around 9AM.
- Facebook Messenger, a messaging platform slightly outside of Facebook and still a part of it, has 1.3 billion users. WhatsApp is still more popular worldwide, with about 2 billion users. We expect WhatsApp will continue to grow, but we so no reason to expect the decline of Facebook Messenger.
- Whatsapp is also owned by Meta, the parent company of Facebook. Whichever one is in the lead, Meta is winning.
User Statistics and Demographics
Everyone uses Facebook, but not everyone uses Facebook equally. Some countries and demographics are more active than others, which significantly matters to marketers and people interested in the platform. It might show where Facebook might focus more of its efforts in the future or give a greater perspective of who is driving content on Facebook. In any event, learning about the demographics of Facebook has its uses and is interesting in its own right, so here are the basics:
- So, how many users does Facebook have? According to a report from Datareportal, as of April of 2022, there were 2,936 million people. This means that by next year (or even this year if there is a spike of users), we could reach more than 3 billion users. More than a third of people living on Earth use Facebook monthly. This is astounding for a company that is less than two decades old.
- However, looking at the overall trend going years back, the percentage of user growth is slowing down considerably, with some periods only yielding a 0.1 percent increase in users for the social media giant. This might be reasonable given the current market saturation, but it might not seem like the greatest news to some executives and investors hoping for unlimited record growth. It will be interesting to see where other trends lead us, how investor confidence looks with this, and some significant changes in what is now Meta.
- Yet what about overall growth over the last two decades? To demonstrate just how quickly Facebook took off, consider the following graphic:
- Yet there are a few more notes on total population usage. For one, there are many people too young to use Facebook. Facebook is meant for people aged 13 and older. There are many people younger than that living on the planet. Additionally, many people live in areas with little to no internet access or in countries that restrict or outright ban Facebook. These factors lessen the potential reach of the network significantly for now.
- The male/female split of Facebook users is relatively even. It isn't skewed much like Pinterest is, and while there is a slight male majority (56 percent of users versus 44), marketers will likely treat the platform as gender neutral. Additionally, the stats for specific countries or regions can be more evenly spread. There is little reason to believe that this will change and little reason to think that there will be a
- In addition to gender, what about age? Fortunately, the information is clear and up to date, and we can learn a lot.
- While the usage of Facebook between genders is overall relatively even, among age groups, it is anything but. With older age groups, women use the platform more, but men use it when they're younger.
- We also see that the makeup of Facebook users still skews relatively young compared to the presumptions one sees online that Facebook is just for older generations. It seems to be anything but, though there is heavy competition from other platforms such as TikTok.
- Please note that while many users have adopted other platforms, they didn't necessarily abandon other platforms. As you well know, social networks aren't mutually exclusive.
- Facebook is the most popular social network for people aged 35-44.
- Information on demographics relating to religion and race is harder to come by. Many people do not input information on those topics, and collecting that information would be intrusive and challenging. However, it is easy to say that all faiths and racial backgrounds utilize Facebook.
- Interestingly, while it might seem one way or another based on your circles, Facebook has an active political base on both sides of the aisle in the U.S. About 69 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Democrats use Facebook. It's a pretty even split, all things considered, and far closer than one would find with other social media networks (generally, there are more Democrats than Republicans on those).
Facebook is more prevalent in some countries than others. While the United States might be where Facebook is most known and influential in terms of daily activity, it is a vital pillar of online life worldwide. Given the nearly 3 billion people on the platform, U.S. adults don't even make up five percent of users. So if that's the case, then where is everybody?
You probably think the United States dominates because it is popular there, the population of the United States is pretty large, and it was invented in the United States. However, while the United States leads much of the pack, you have to consider the populations of other regions. There are another 117 million users in Central America alone.
From the data, it should be noted that the reach of Facebook is significant in both Southern Asia and Southeast Asia. While China is notable in that other social networks are used instead of Facebook, it is extremely popular outside of that. The largest group of people using the platform are Indians.
In terms of potential advertising reach (the best data on the subject that we currently have available), the countries that have the most users are:
And on top of all those countries, there are many more with millions or tens of millions of users. It's easy to see how it all adds up to several million people all over the globe using just one platform.
We will also likely see growth in some areas as internet infrastructure improves. Some areas of Asia and Africa have tens of millions of people that could use a better connection to use Facebook. In many cases, even a wireless data plan would be enough to connect them for average usage. Facebook can be efficient when it needs to be, and matters will improve once people get connected.
Activity and Engagement
A social network can exist with millions upon millions of users, but it's no good if no one uses it (see Myspace). So anyone interested in Facebook will want to know how active users are and how much engagement posts might get on average. We can't go into every detail, but here are the basics:
- Some social networks truly thrive on engagement with posts. However, people using Facebook are likelier to check things than post or interact. People only share a post a month; on average, 5 comments are made each month per user (interestingly, women make 7 comments on average while men make 4).
- Yet considering this, there is a massive difference between the top engagers and those who mostly look and lurk. Similarly, some countries are much more active than others. Those hoping to use this information or look more into it will want to do so on a more localized, specific level.
- For Facebook pages and followers, engagement is pretty low. The engagement rates can vary quite a bit depending on the post type, but on average, a page with 50,000 followers can expect 90 organic instances of engagement on a post. This isn't very high, though many more people will still get the post's gist and the information.
- Engagement rates also vary by country, demographics, and other factors.
- How does Facebook engagement compare to other platforms? There are different engagement mechanisms, so some things might be like comparing apples and oranges. However, the average Facebook user spends 33 minutes on the platform. Compare this to 29 minutes on Instagram, 31 minutes on Twitter, 32 minutes on TikTok, and less than one minute on LinkedIn.
- There are differences between countries in the amount of "likes" the average user gives out. A few countries, such as Spain and Vietnam, will only give out seven likes per user on average. Greece's users will give out 16. Overall, the average user worldwide will give out 11 likes.
Engagement can be tricky to measure over time. If more ways to engage with a post are added, how does one compare engagement rates? How does one compare engagement rates when the algorithm changes regularly, perhaps changes how often a follower will see a given piece of content or a post. Still, experts will look at engagement metrics, even in the short term, to determine a post's success and provide insights on what to do in the future.
Business and Marketing Statistics
Facebook is not just a place where people connect online; it is also a massive platform for business networking, marketing, and advertising. Facebook Ads are how Facebook makes most of its money, and the users are, in many ways, the product. So what can we say about the business and marketing side of Facebook?
- Many businesses have a Facebook page for business purposes if only to prevent someone else from stealing the brand or impersonating them on the platform. More than 200 million businesses use Facebook in some form.
- Do businesses find new customers online from their Facebook marketing efforts? Certainly. Depending on the marketer's demographic and intention, there might be more efficient options than random Facebook efforts. Video marketing is rising, though videos are becoming more popular on Facebook.
- Obviously, such a popular platform would be used by marketers. About 86 percent of marketers in the United States are using Facebook for marketing. Practically every marketer has at least looked into the possibilities.
- Yet outside of polls, it can be challenging to get exact numbers regarding conversions of Facebook post views to the patronage of an in-person business. People might want to look at available hours, which is perfectly fine. Yet much of it also comes down to the platform's usage, the networks used, and the existing audience.
- While you might not think that people listen to ads or stories on Facebook all that much, about half of consumers want to find something new through the Stories format.
- The average person also operates on Facebook to do business as well. More than a billion people use Facebook marketplace, and it is effectively one of the main hubs to buy or sell something used in your community.
The Growth of Facebook
We need to think about Facebook itself as a company (now known as Meta). It's much more extensive than just regular Facebook; some people might not even know about services and options. There have been more services and tools Facebook has retired and never mentioned again than most tech companies ever invent. There are some features that people who have been using the platform since 2010 don't even know about.
One could look at the final growth of Facebook or the number of users over the years as we already have, but you also may want to look into some of the design changes and new features when you get a chance. One exciting thing that has occurred occasionally over Facebook's lifetime is people getting up in arms about a change Facebook has made to the platform.
So, what is there to be said from this? It means that some people are resistant to change as they always have been, but it also means that Facebook has to carefully consider changes it makes in the future, lest they alienate some of its base in a time of competition.
All the trends and statistics point to one main thing: Facebook and Meta are more extensive than any of us could have imagined when they began. It is far beyond the scope of an online community or growing platform, and our measurement methods might need to eventually change for us to comprehend it and truly make predictions.
Facebook can be a tricky platform to work on or learn more about, given its complexity and many facets. Nothing prevents it from changing dramatically in the future or people from changing how they want to use it. There is inertia, but otherwise, it is a social platform made at once by a giant corporation with plans for the future and a userbase of nearly three billion people (and growing) that will be with us for years to come. You might find it challenging to look through everything about it (not even experts can do that easily. However, go through and understand what you can, and return to this page and others as you feel the need.
We hope these statistics give you a better idea of what Facebook looks like now, what will happen in the next couple of years, and that your curiosity has been piqued. There is so much more to learn about the platform, and whatever your reasons, you can only benefit by learning more.