Social Media State of the Union: Trends Shaping This Year and Beyond

11.10.2022 Sara Brasfield2 min

Whether you’re a national chain or a local mom and pop shop, social media has proven to be an indispensable and affordable tool to help your business build its brand awareness while growing a digital following and engaging with your customers.

But your time and your advertising dollars are precious. With so many social networks on the market—and so many different content formats developed on those platforms—it pays to understand where your customers are spending their time online, and how those social preferences might be changing over time.

Although some of the most dominant platforms, such as Facebook and YouTube, continue to capture a lot of market share in terms of active user base and daily screen time, the popularity of other social networks may be in flux, while new social experiences and priorities may be shifting the balance of where your target audience wants to spend its time.

As you look ahead to holiday ad campaigns and your 2023 social media strategy, here are some of the biggest social media trends to bear in mind.

Where Social Media Users Spend the Most Time

According to the latest estimates, today’s social media users spend an average of two hours, 30 minutes on social platforms every day.

But in a saturated social media market, that attention is fragmented across the many social platforms that have reached a mainstream audience. In a typical day, the average social media user’s time is divided in the following ways:

  • YouTube: 44 minutes
  • Facebook: 35 minutes
  • Instagram: 33 minutes
  • TikTok: 32 minutes
  • Twitter: 10 minutes

This average breakdown also doesn’t account for the time spent on the second tier of social platforms, which includes niche products like LinkedIn (for professionals), Pinterest, Snap, and international social platforms like Weibo.

It’s important to note that your company’s target audience may not use social media according to this breakdown. This is why it’s helpful to develop a persona for your target consumer(s), helping you better understand and plan around their specific social media tendencies.

Balancing Social Media Time With Other Screen Activities

There’s no question that consumers are spending a lot of time on social media. But social media is only one of many digital distractions and experiences vying for their attentions, and social media only accounts for a percentage of this active screen time.

According to consumer surveys from GWI, only 24 percent of the average person’s time is spent on social media platforms. While this is a larger percentage than any other activity, it still means that three-fourths of the average consumer’s screen time is spent elsewhere—which underscores the importance of building a diverse digital ad strategy.

TikTok Turns Mainstream, While Twitter Teeters

TikTok has enjoyed a rapid rise from fringe mobile app to social media sensation. More recently, its turn toward the mainstream has drawn in new accounts from U.S. adults, expanding from its core base of younger audiences.

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of U.S. adults who now rely on TikTok as a source of news has more than tripled since 2020, reaching 10 percent in 2022. This trend is significant because it has emerged at a time when other social platforms are experiencing a decline in U.S. adults using those social platforms to source news and information.

While TikTok is becoming more integrated into the daily lives of U.S. adults—including older generations—Twitter is experiencing trends headed in the opposite direction. According to internal company documents, the social platform has seen a dramatic decline in the activity of its heaviest users: among the 10 percent of Twitter accounts that account for nearly 90 percent of the website’s content creation, many accounts have scaled back their activity or stopped posting altogether.

As those heavy users disengage, Twitter’s platform may become less engaging to other users, which could accelerate a decline in daily active users. Between these recent struggles and TikTok’s emergence, some businesses may want to consider which social platforms they’re prioritizing when planning out their ad campaigns.

Don’t let your social media strategy fall behind the current trends. At Cox Media, we pay close attention to the social media landscape to make sure your ad strategy is always adapting to new opportunities to reach a social audience and maximize your campaign ROI.

We’ll make sure your brand’s social presence is aligned with the latest best practices and your business advertising goals. Ready to get started? Contact us today.

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About the Author

Sara Brasfield

Sara is the Content Marketing Manager for Cox Media’s corporate team in Atlanta, with a passion for writing and delivering relevant insights for advertisers. With more than seven years of experience in B2B marketing, Sara aims to help Cox Media’s current and future clients connect with their customers find new and unique ways to grow their business. Outside of the (now virtual!) office, Sara loves spending time running, reading and supporting her favorite teams (Go Braves & Gamecocks!).

View All of Sara Brasfield's Blog Posts

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