Social media advertising spend is projected to reach nearly $36B globally by 2017 with U.S. and Canada spending the most and eclipsing $12.5B in 2016 (eMarketer). In 2015, time spent on mobile apps (not necessarily social media mobile apps, but including) exceeded time spent watching TV for U.S. consumers (TechCrunch). Growth on many of the top social media platforms continues to rise as each network rolls out new features and functionalities to better compete for users’ daily time and engagement (e.g. Facebook Video & Live, Snapchat Spectacles, Instagram Stories, etc.).
As such, the amount of people using social is not only increasing, but is accompanied by how much time people are spending each day on social media. Just on Facebook’s suite of owned apps along (Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger; excludes WhatsApp), its users are spending an average of 50 minutes each day. In order to see how much the average person will ultimately spend on social media, we calculated the time spent across today’s most popular social media platforms and projected this figure across an entire lifetime.
Social media time spent and growth is rapidly changing. To see how we formulated our calculations and sources used, please see our methodology below the infographic:
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Across today’s most popular social media platforms, people are spending the following daily averages:
Across a lifetime, this amounts to the following breakdown across popular social media platforms and apps:
Cumulatively, this adds up for a total of 5 years and 4 months spent on social media across a lifetime.
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Next to time spent watching TV, time spent on social media exceeds many common daily activities. While TV may still be ahead of social media time spent, 2016 marked the first year where digital ad spend overtook TV’s. With the exclusion of social media, the below common daily activities were sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To calculate the average daily time spent on each social platform, we referenced both comScore’s 2016 data and the social media companies themselves. For the purpose of this infographic (actual time spent on social and other activities presented here may actually be higher or lower depending on each person’s exposure to certain activities), we utilized these figures and calculated the total lifetime time spent by extrapolating out to a span of 66 years (13 y/o to 79 y/o). We did the same for other daily activities, like watching TV and socializing. For others, like eating & drinking, we calculated based on the full 79 years.