Social Networks See Boosts in Engagement Among US Users

Social Networks See Boosts in Engagement Among US Users

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More time spent at home during the pandemic means more time being spent on social media. But not all social platforms are benefitting in the same way.

In its latest forecast on time spent with media in the US, eMarketer expect adult social network users to log an average of 1 hour, 22 minutes per day in 2020, up nearly 7 minutes over last year. They have estimated that total social network time spent among adult users, which includes breakouts for adult users of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Compared with previous forecast in 4Q19, eMarketer has increased projections for overall social network usage in 2020, plus increased estimates for the three platforms. Previous forecast had time spent by social network users growing by only 6 seconds, but the new forecast now shows an unexpected bump in engagement for 2020. This will be the first year of positive growth in time spent among US social users since 2017.

Instagram will see the biggest percentage increase in time spent by users this year, compared with Facebook and Snapchat. Daily time among adult Instagram users will jump 13.8% this year to nearly 30 minutes per day. That’s an increase of almost 4 minutes over last year. eMarketer previously estimated daily time among users to increase by just 24 seconds this year.

Snapchat is a close second when it comes to increased engagement among users. While it’s partly due to COVID-19, Snapchat was already seeing increased time spent with AR lenses, as well as original shows and other content on the Discover page. This year, daily time spent among adult Snapchat users will grow 12.0% to 29.5 minutes per day, a jump of 3 minutes over 2019. Previous estimates had Snapchat adding just 30 seconds per day this year among adult users.

Facebook (excluding Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp) will benefit the least from the 2020 bump, adding 1.4 minutes per day among adult users, bringing average daily usage to just over 34 minutes per day. Previous estimates had Facebook losing 42 seconds among adult users in 2020.

As stay-at-home orders slowly lift, eMarketer expects total social time among users to drop slightly going into 2021, but it will remain above 2019 levels. Some of the increased time on social networks will stick around, driven by TikTok, Instagram Live, Snap Originals and other Discover content.

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