2016 Social Media Stats in 5 Charts

Take a look at some of the key takeaways of social media stats from 2016.

Hey! We just released our 2017 Social Media Stats article. Be sure to go check it out!

Who doesn’t like a good social media stats graphic?

I don’t think these charts filled with 2016 social media stats will disappoint. They’re not only fun to look at and easy to share, but they’re also insightful as to what this year already looks like in terms of social media users, most effective social media platforms for B2B and B2C companies, and social media use across the world.

Most importantly, we’ll chat about what these stats mean for your social media strategy.

Number of Social Media Users

According to data gathered by Digital Sapiens, the number of social media users per platform are as follows:

  • Facebook: 1.6 billion
  • YouTube: 1 billion
  • Google+: 440 million
  • Instagram: 430 million
  • LinkedIn: 429 million
  • Twitter: 325 million
  • Tumblr: 230 million
  • Pinterest: 110 million
social media stats users

These social media stats from Digital Sapiens don’t mean a ton without comparing them to last year. Which social media platforms have tanked? Which have blown up?

We made a graphic that compares Digital Sapiens’ 2016 stats against Derek DeVries‘ and Statista‘s 2015 social media stats. Between 2015 and 2016, growth on the different social media platforms was as follows:

  • Tumblr: 0% growth
  • YouTube: 0% growth
  • Twitter: 114% growth
  • Facebook: 115% growth
  • Google+: 128% growth
  • Instagram: 143% growth
  • Pinterest: 207% growth
  • LinkedIn: 229% growth
social media stats growth

Wow! It looks like the huge trend here is that even in 2016, social media use is on the rise. Incredible!

Why do you think YouTube and Tumblr were at 0% growth? Here are my thoughts…


Live video has taken hold, namely Periscope and Facebook Live. Does this mean YouTube doesn’t have a place in the market? Absolutely not! I don’t know about you, but it’s the first place I go when I’m looking for a quick tutorial for myself or an educational cartoon for my kids.

Social media stats youtube
YouTube’s new streaming feature, YouTube Live

We have to think about what YouTube ‘users’ means. These are the people who are creating accounts, not those who are viewing videos without an account. Perhaps those who have been on the platform for a while are still posting and those who are now looking for ways to promote their own videos are actually finding their first home on other social platforms. This would explain a 0% increase.

Will it stay this way? I’m not sure! YouTube has a Live component. We might find more folks latch onto this, knowing that their videos will have a long-time home on the platform (contrasted with Periscope’s 24 hour period and Facebook’s here now, gone later News Feed).

I’m excited to see what the numbers will be like next year for YouTube!


With the ease of creating your own website on your own territory (a.k.a. your own domain via a platform like WordPress), I’m not positive we’ll continue to see growth from Tumblr. If you’re a Tumblr user, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Why do you love it?

Key Takeaway: Numbers help give a gauge on where to spend your time, but they aren’t everything. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter how many folks are on a platform. What matters is how many people on those platforms care about your product or service and how many of those users engage with your content (most importantly, including clicking to your site). Choose your platforms based on research and then do your own experiments and track the strength of your community engagement on each platform.

How Effective is Each Platform?

The Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs surveyed B2B and B2C business owners (a total of 3,714) to create two charts reflecting which social media platforms business owners feel are most effective to their social media strategy.

Note that ‘effectiveness’ was not measured in a quantitative way. These particular social media stats reflect the satisfaction that B2C business owners have with each of these platforms and their perception that each is beneficial to their marketing strategy.

Do you agree with their choices?


When it comes to B2B content marketing, the use of social media platforms is as follows:

  • LinkedIn: 94%
  • Twitter: 87%
  • Facebook: 84%
  • YouTube: 74%
  • Google+: 62%
  • SlideShare: 37%
  • Instagram: 29%
  • Pinterest: 25%
social media stats B2B
Original graph from Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs

It shouldn’t be too shocking that the #1 B2B platform is LinkedIn. What it really indicates is that LinkedIn is doing their marketing and executing their purpose right. That’s fantastic for the platform!

The fact that Twitter is above Facebook in this chart is telling us that the B2B tribe is growing up. Instead of landing in the place they might feel most comfortable as consumers, they are using the platform that has a bit higher B2B edge than others. Twitter is known as a place for customer service, and it buzzes around the clock for both business and personal purposes. The fact that they fell in second place isn’t a surprise.

When speaking about ads, Facebook can be very powerful for B2B. Without ads, I think most business owners find that the profitability from Facebook B2B efforts is fairly low. If the Content Marketing Institute told these business owners not to take into account any help from ads, I think we’d see an even lower number for Facebook effectiveness. 

Going back to the first social media stats chart we visited, note that this graph and the next don’t show Tumblr as one of the platforms that business owners find beneficial. Perhaps this is because most business owners see the benefit of owning their website and brand by having a professional website represent their business.

Key Takeaway: If you’re a B2B owner, these social media stats are your cheat sheet to knowing where to spend your time. If business owners are spending most of their time on these sites because these platforms are where they’re finding the most success, marketing alongside them can also turn into marketing to them.


In 2016, B2C social media platform usage was as follows:

  • Facebook: 94%
  • Twitter: 82%
  • YouTube: 77%
  • LinkedIn: 76%
  • Google+: 72%
  • Instagram: 62%
  • Pinterest: 61%
social media stats B2C
Original graph from Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs

The theB2C business owners social media stats rating effectiveness also shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Facebook is a really popular platform for… everyone! Therefore, if you’re serving customers, this is likely a site you need to have a presence on.

It’s also important to recognize that Facebook has a very strong, veteran ad platform. For those who have seen the most success on Facebook, my thought is that most of these are Facebook ads users. Facebook ads can be pretty powerful if used well.

The stat that first jarred me was the low effectiveness percentage of Pinterest. LinkedIn– traditionally a B2B platform– is even higher than Pinterest in terms of perceived effectiveness.

B2C companies found Pinterest to have low social marketing effectiveness. Surprising? Click To Tweet

Pinterest is quite a different social media platform. It’s used like a search engine, especially for DIY and Crafts, Food and Drink, Home Decor, and Holidays and Events. Because of this, it’s likely super powerful for business owners within those industries, but not as effective for most of those whose industries are further away.

One more thought that I can’t ignore is that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have all been around for several years. Is it possible that these business owners are interpreting number of followers as platform effectiveness, or are these users considering lead generation and sales as their mark? It’s possible that each person surveyed might have had a different standard for what they considered ‘effective’.

Key Takeaway: B2C business owners are either really seeing success or have the perception they are seeing success on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. If you are B2C, consider assessing your analytics on these social platforms for several months to a year before deciding whether or not they are beneficial to your business.

Which Countries are on Social Media?

There are a couple ways to use the social media stats indicating social media use by country. Let’s talk about who this chart might best serve:

  • Companies selling a digital product or service
    • Where should I focus my efforts?
    • Which populations might resonate best with my product or service?
  • Companies serving several different distinct areas of the world – perhaps you have a physical presence in several countries or maybe your product / service is geared towards specific countries
    • Which of the countries I serve have the highest social media presence? This might affect ad targeting.
    • If a country I serve has a very low social media usage, what other ways can I market to that population?
  • Companies eager to expand their reach or increase their number of locations
    • If my marketing is primarily social media-based, which countries have the highest percentage of social media usage, and do I think that country would be a good area to expand into?

Now, to the chart:

social media stats by country

Wowee! Who else is surprised that the United States isn’t first on the list?

The % of social media users in the U.S. is smaller than 5 other countries, including S. Korea. Click To Tweet

Beyond what was mentioned in the points above this graphic, these particular social media stats are also super beneficial when planning for ad and post targeting. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t target countries like Nigeria, India, or South Africa. Instead, take note that when targeting those areas, you might not have the reach you might be aiming for in that ad campaign. If that’s the case, widen your ad targeting to include more interests or more countries.

On the flip-side, targeting a country as a whole might bring in too wide an audience. If that’s the case, narrow down your reach by pinpointing more specifics, like age, employment, or certain interests.

Lastly, posting time! It matters when you post. Think about the countries you’re hoping to reach and when they might be active online during their day. Schedule your posts via a tool like Buffer or SproutSocial to hit the right times for each market you’re focused on.

Key Takeaway: If you’re focusing on social media organic or ad-based marketing as your #1 strategy, it matters which countries are most active online. It’s possible that you might find the need to expand your marketing efforts via other methods.

What do you think?

Which platforms bring you the most customers?

Share with us, and let’s collaborate in our journey to reach our target market online.

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