There are now 4.62 billion social media users around the world – equivalent to more than 58% of the world’s total population – representing growth of more than 10% or 424 million new users since this time last year, according to a new report released by global leader in social media management, Hootsuite and creative agency, We Are Social.

The Digital 2022 report highlights the most notable global findings on digital trends and social media.

As the number of social media users continue to grow, it’s clear that social will continue to be where organisations build communities and engage directly across all demographics, according to Hootsuite chief marketing officer, Maggie Lower.

“I am excited to see how brands evolve with social trends as they leverage their platforms to be advocates and community builders. Through the data we glean from our Digital 2022 report, we will help guide our customers to the right social media platform for each audience,” she said.

As social media user growth increases, people say they are spending more time on social media each day than they did the previous year, at 2 hours and 27 minutes. Facebook remains the world’s most used social platform, followed by YouTube and WhatsApp. 

Social commerce continues to manifest its importance in Meta’s advertising data with more than 560 million Facebook users now seeing ads in Marketplace each month, and 187 million Instagram users seeing ads in Instagram’s Shop tab.

“The pandemic has brought to light how social media is intrinsically intertwined with how we live, work, operate, and shop. In a time when social distance regulations and non-essential business closures impact businesses everywhere, social commerce is often one of the only ways for brands to stay open and connected with consumers. If brands and organisations want to remain relevant, they will need to digitise and implement a social commerce strategy,” Lower added.

WhatsApp tops the rankings of the world’s favourite social media platforms, with 15.7% of working-age internet users choosing the messenger app as their favourite social platform. Instagram has overtaken Facebook to claim second place in the worldwide rankings with 14.8% of global internet users identifying Instagram as their favourite platform, compared to 14.5% for Facebook.

Meanwhile, TikTok’s ad audience also continues to grow at a rapid pace. Digital 2022 indicates that the platform’s reach increased by 7.3 percent (60 million users) in just the past 90 days, taking TikTok’s worldwide ad reach amongst audiences aged 18 and above to roughly 885 million. 

“We are seeing rapid changes in culture, the economy and society more broadly. The huge shifts in behaviour witnessed over the last 12 months are now permanent, and are set to accelerate even faster,” We Are Social co-founder and group CEO,Nathan McDonald said.

“More people than ever are spending time online: beyond social connections, information and entertainment, the growth of social commerce, gaming and spending on cryptocurrencies and digital goods is evidence of real cultural change. It’s never been more important for marketers to have a deep understanding of online communities, cultures and subcultures.”