Social Media

Social Media Outlook in 2023 - Trends & Platform Stats

Last Updated: October 30, 2023

What is Social Media?

At present, social media is a means for citizens of all ages around the world to receive new information, express opinions, maintain contact with family, and even meet new friends.

After Zuckerberg founded Facebook in 2004, the concept of social media, an online networking platform, gradually entered the mainstream. In less than 20 years, 60% of the world’s population of eight billion have social media accounts, which have transformed our lives in various ways.

  • In terms of politics and governance, social media can provide a more direct window for policy communication. For example, during the recent pandemic, many governments disseminated accurate information through social media to counter the spread of misinformation and disinformation. The networking between social media users further allows policy-making units to discover unsatisfied groups and reflect on and adjust policy directions. Furthermore, through the analysis of social content, government units can further understand whether related policies are being implemented, or the public’s current perception of events. Lastly, the direct participation of government units and citizens on social media can directly implement citizens’ contributions and discussions on policies.
  • In terms of corporate operation, excluding intranet social media developed for work purposes (such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, etc.), the department most related to social media is usually the marketing department. Simply put, through social media, companies can better interact with consumers, or potential consumers, whether it’s during the marketing activities of new product releases, or by providing interesting, useful, and valuable content to enhance brand awareness and favorability. This type of social media marketing expenditure has created a market worth over 150 billion USD globally, with Meta being the leading company, with ad revenues reaching 129.2 billion USD. Although YouTube and TikTok also have user totals up to several billion, their revenues are only 17.38 billion and 11.64 billion USD respectively, showing a significant gap.
  • However, in the past five years, social media has become more than just a marketing channel for businesses. In some companies, social media is even part of the entire product and service value chain. For instance, in product development, social listening (a technique for large-scale mining of social content), or product managers directly understanding consumer thoughts on related platforms, can provide development teams with ample consumer pain points and competitor perceptions. Furthermore, more and more companies have started implementing co-creation directly through social media, allowing potential consumers to participate in product design.
  • Similarly, in customer service, we have seen more and more organizations establish relevant mechanisms and systems in the past five years to handle after-sales and other customer service needs coming from social media groups, public statements, or direct contacts with the brand.

What are some major social media platforms?

In the world of social media platforms, Facebook has been the platform with the most users, the highest advertising revenue, and the most dominant position since its inception. In 2022, it had nearly 3 billion active users and 68.4 billion USD in advertising revenue. Its sister platform, Instagram, also had a total user base of nearly 1.29 billion and advertising revenue of 43.3 billion USD.

  • Although Meta’s growth in advertising revenue remains robust, the growth in total users has significantly slowed. Although high market penetration is a major reason, competition from TikTok and its popularity among younger demographics are also contributing factors.
  • In recent years, YouTube has been actively promoting the development of its community, such as the community feature launched in 2016 and the Tagging feature in 2022. Given the slow growth of ad revenue on YouTube, it has gradually started to diversify its revenue dependency on advertising through paid subscriptions and social commerce.
  • TikTok is arguably the youngest player among all major social media platforms. However, TikTok announced in mid-2021 that it had surpassed the 1 billion user mark, and eMarketer further estimated that TikTok had 1.5 billion monthly active users by the end of 2022. TikTok has been growing extremely fast worldwide, and its recent focus on developing advertising revenue has also shown noticeable progress, with revenue rising from 350 million USD in 2019 to an estimated nearly 12 billion USD in full-year 2022.
  • LinkedIn, or 领英 in Chinese, appears to be somewhat unique compared to other social media platforms. The Economist defines LinkedIn as the Instagram of the white-collar class. In recent years, it has grown at a faster-than-expected rate to 850 million users (non-active users), and a large proportion of its 13.82 billion USD revenue comes from its subscription-based members.
  • Twitter, in 2022, has been in a state of internal operational chaos due to Musk’s acquisition, causing many companies to stop placing Twitter ads. The newly introduced user pay system is also still unclear. However, Twitter, with its 490 million users and high penetration rates in markets such as the United States and Japan, holds promising prospects for development.


How are these major social media platform doing across the world? We consolidated data across 30+ data offices and our own research to answer that.

What are some critical social media trends?

With the increasing popularity of social media, its impact on political governance, markets, and interpersonal connections is becoming increasingly serious. In recent years, driven by advances in technology, policy changes, and shifts in user habits, several major trends have emerged in social media, prompting policymakers, marketers, and related institutions to update their strategic directions. Our team believes that, as of 2023, social media will be primarily dominated by six trends shaping future changes:

Regulations and supervision will further penetrate social media

Over the past few years, social media has played a critical role in a country’s political stability (or instability). At the start of the pandemic, a lot of misinformation was spreading on social media. The platforms themselves lacked mechanisms and resources to implement fact-checking, leading to large-scale pandemic protest events in many countries.
The recent more sensational Capitol Hill incident put the impact of social media on political stability under a magnifying glass for study. Even in China, which has a strict censorship system, user content on social media like TikTok, WeChat, and Kuaishou sparked a nationwide white paper movement.

In some contexts, social media is also seen as influenced by government agencies, used to infiltrate foreign citizens’ thoughts and gain access to their personal information. This is why the Moscow government banned Facebook after its invasion of Ukraine. It is also a factor in Congress’s efforts to stop TikTok’s expansion in the U.S. in recent years.

In the future, public sector institutions will participate more in the regulation of social media operations. For instance, California recently introduced a bill to implement transparency in data and management on social media platforms. The European Union also introduced a Digital Services Act at the end of 2022, implementing a series of disclosure mechanisms that social media should follow.

Building on this, content on social media will face further and more comprehensive regulation gradually being rolled out.

Direct interactions between businesses and customers will extend to social media

For businesses, social media is not just a marketing tool; it’s also a channel for direct customer interaction. The main driver behind this is that consumers’ current communication channels are increasingly shifting towards social media.
Due to the unpredictability of algorithms, many customer complaints can potentially become a company’s PR nightmare overnight.

However, for businesses, implementing interaction and service on social media is not just a means of handling criticism; it can also be a window for further serving customers.

More traditional SaaS customer service platforms, previously applied to email or phone, are also starting to integrate with Twitter, Facebook,


  • Internet & Cellular Subscription:World Bank, ITU
  • Currency Exchange: Based on IMF data in 2023/1
  • Demographics: UN Population Database
  • Social Media Behavior: GWI, Hootsuite 2022 Digital Report
  • Meta, LinkedIn Data: Napoleon Cat Stats
  • Data Calculation &
  • Analysis:OOSGA Analytics
  • Note: The data for monthly platform usage and the data for the most frequently used platforms are sourced from different research, hence there may be discrepancies in the numbers as both are estimated rather than real figure.
Author: Consumer Research

Our CR team is dedicated to keeping a pulse on the ever-evolving demographics and behavior of consumers globally. We stay informed on the latest trends and developments across major economies to ensure that we are providing the most up-to-date insights for our clients

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