New Report Looks at Social Media Usage Trends Over the Past Decade, and Where Things are Now Headed

If you need to perceive the newest social media platform updates, and maximize your personal efforts in social media advertising, it is value taking a broader view of consumption tendencies, and contemplating how individuals are wanting to make use of social apps to attach, in varied methods, over time.
By understanding such tendencies, you may get a clearer thought of what individuals need to see out of your model – which is the place app analytics platform App Annie’s newest report is available in.
App Annie’s ‘Evolution of Social Apps’ report seems at how social media utilization tendencies have advanced over the final decade, highlighting the rise of live-streaming, the rising deal with social commerce, the development of TikTok and Snapchat, and extra.

The report is vital studying for these trying to preserve a deal with on key shifts, and what’s driving the newest platform updates. You can obtain the full report right here, however on this submit, we’ll have a look at a few of the key notes of curiosity.
Probably the largest spotlight of the report is the rise in shopper spending inside social apps, with cumulative spend already at $3.2 billion in the first half of 2021 – up 50% year-over-year.

As you may see on this chart, the broader adoption of social media apps in Asian markets – notably India – has pushed in-app spending to new heights, with App Annie projecting that, for the full yr, in-app spend will hit $6.78b this yr.
That’s anticipated to proceed to rise at an annual development price of round 29% transferring ahead, which App Annie tasks will see social app spending attain a large $78 billion by 2025.
If you have been questioning why each app is trying to transfer into in-stream commerce, that is it. The knowledge factors to vital alternative for these platforms that may develop consumer engagement into direct spending and purchasing behaviors, facilitating new income potential for the platforms, and new alternatives for manufacturers.
If you’ve not thought of plugging your product catalog into Facebook or Instagram Shops, otherwise you’re not monitoring TikTok’s evolving eCommerce plans, it might be time to concentrate (you may signal as much as our e-newsletter proper right here).
The report additionally seems at how, precisely, customers are trying to spend in social apps, with live-stream creators main the means in lots of respects.

As per the report:
“Total time spent in the prime 5 social apps with an emphasis on reside streaming are set to surpass half a trillion hours on Android telephones alone, exterior of China in 2021, a 3-year compound annual development price of 25% in comparison with 15% for chat and photograph & video apps”
Which is an attention-grabbing shift – between 2014 and 2018, the focus moved away from social media platforms, and public broadcasting of your ideas and opinions, and in direction of messaging and non-public teams as an alternative, with Facebook, particularly, making a giant push on teams as a way to maximise its in-app engagement.

Now, it appears that evidently live-streaming is gaining traction as soon as once more. Which, after all, has been amplified by the pandemic, with live-streaming usually offering the greatest substitute social outlet for these in lockdown. But even with that being the case, it does certainly appear that live-streaming is having a second. And when you think about the extension of that being VR connection and socializing in digital worlds (i.e. the Metaverse), it appears doubtless that this pattern will maintain, whilst we transfer into the post-COVID setting.
But it’s not simply viewing live-streams, it’s spending in broadcasts as effectively:
“Social apps that provide live-streaming as a distinguished function account for $3 of each $4 spent in prime 25 social apps in H1 2021.”
A big component of this development has been digital “gifting”, with content material creators in Asia, particularly, producing massive {dollars} from in-stream digital items, which basically act as donations to the creators, subsidizing their output.
Facebook, YouTube and TikTok have all created their very own variations of the similar, and whereas the pattern doesn’t appear to have caught on in western areas with the similar veracity as their Asian counterparts, the knowledge once more factors to vital alternative, with live-streams offering a way of rapid connection, serving to to construct group and facilitate direct transactions in-stream.
Indeed, Facebook is now trialing purchasing live-streams in its important app, and on Instagram as effectively, whereas TikTok has additionally hosted a variety of live-stream purchasing collaborations with massive manufacturers and platform stars.

Whether that turns into a much bigger pattern in western markets stays to be seen, however the alternative is there, and as famous, it does additionally align with broader utilization shifts.
The report additionally seems at the development of TikTok, which, in line with App Annie’s knowledge, has now surpassed YouTube in each the US and the UK by way of common month-to-month time spent in-app, per consumer.

TikTok’s development has been superb to witness, and it’s now arduous to see it not changing that recognition right into a sustainable enterprise, each for TikTok itself and for its prime stars. The important danger for TikTok stays efficient monetization, with short-form video providing much less potential for advertisements, and thus, decrease earnings potential for creators. In this sense, YouTube and Facebook can supply higher income alternatives, however TikTok is working to ascertain extra direct linkage between manufacturers and creators, whereas it’s additionally experimenting with longer kind movies to facilitate extra advert alternatives.
There can also be the ever-present danger that the US Government, and probably others, may transfer to ban TikTok attributable to its Chinese Government hyperlinks. That component has gone quiet of late, but it surely’s a lingering concern amongst safety analysts, and may nonetheless turn into a serious obstacle for the app, if it have been to dropped at a head as soon as once more.
For this motive, it additionally appears doubtless that prime creators can be trying to maintain their choices open, reasonably than counting on the app – which, in itself is also an obstacle to TikTok maximizing its development potential.
Either means, from a common utilization standpoint, TikTok is clearly a giant winner, and it continues to realize traction in the social area.
Which can also be mirrored on this chart, wanting at app obtain rankings over the previous decade.

Facebook’s dominance is completely clear, but it surely’s additionally attention-grabbing to notice the different tendencies, like the rise of TikTok, the fall of Twitter and the resurgence of Snapchat.
Which is one other component highlighted in the report – in line with App Annie’s knowledge, Snapchat’s abroad downloads have grown by 45% in the final 12 months, compared to the 2 years prior.

That can largely be attributed to India, the place Snapchat has seen enormous take-up since launching its up to date Android model again in 2019. Earlier this yr, Snapchat reported that it’s seen 150% development in energetic customers in the area.

Which is actually the place most social apps are now wanting – with Indian smartphone adoption rising, the alternative exists to attach with billions extra customers, and the apps that may achieve the most traction in India stand to see enormous profit, particularly in regard to in-app purchases and income potential.
So in lots of respects, the newest options and updates you’re seeing aren’t even centered on you. Live-stream commerce, in-app purchasing and different additions are actually aimed at the Asian market, the place there’s a lot bigger development potential for social apps than in western areas, the place adoption is already excessive, and spending isn’t rising at the similar charges.
So even should you don’t assume that these new parts will work out, possibly they are going to in different areas, and in the event that they see adoption in the US and Europe as effectively, that’s only a bonus.
As such, should you actually need to gauge the place issues are headed in the social media panorama, and what the platforms can be trying to deal with in future, it might be value trying to Asian adoption tendencies as an alternative, or contemplating what’s gaining traction in China, inside its personal net bubble.
And what’s gaining traction in China proper now? Live-stream commerce and Douyin, the native model of TikTok.
It’s not arduous to see both of those parts changing into a lot larger concerns in western markets as effectively.
You can obtain App Annie’s ‘Evolution of Social Media’ report right here.

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About the Author: Amanda