Out of all the social media platforms and apps that have come about in the last two decades, none are close to touching Facebook in terms of overall reach and importance. While you might read that Facebook (now Meta if you’re referring to the company that controls Facebook among other networks) has been on the decline in recent years or could fall at any moment, there is no reason to believe this in practical terms. Investors might be getting scared that the growth is slowing down for the company in some ways, but that growth was impossible to keep going forever. In truth, Facebook is going strong, and we’ll explain why shortly.
Yet there are still many trends to study and statistics to keep in mind when talking about Facebook and related topics. Where is the platform going, and what does it look like today after nearly two decades in operation? Which facts are important, and what can we learn from them? We’ve done the groundwork research so that you don’t have to.
Here is everything interesting you need to know about Facebook in 2022:
Basic Facebook Statistics
What is the general lay of the land when it comes to Facebook in 2022? What power does Facebook hold, and is that expected to change anytime soon?
- Facebook has 2.934 billion users as of 2022, and if you look at the backlog over the years, you can see a clear growth trend. When it started, and for the first few years of its development, Facebook started as any other website or social network for its users. There was heavy growth, sure, but it was nothing like the complete juggernaut it is today.
- Perhaps just as important is the trend of active users over the past couple of years, which we will look into more deeply with the help of information from DataReportal. As mentioned, as of April 2022, there we 2.936 billion active users of Facebook. That is well more than a third of the population of the
- You’ll see that while there has been growth throughout the last few years, there are periods of much slower growth. While some worry that Facebook will stagnate or plateau for some time, it is still a growing platform, and people aren’t leaving the platform fast enough for an impact. And out of those that go the platform, many return for one reason or another.
- We can also tell from the last couple of years that while there will be growth, there might not be explosive growth like there has been in previous years. New apps such as TikTok can experience such growth as they haven’t reached a point of heavy saturation yet (though that time is soon coming). Facebook has hit that point.
- While monthly users are significant, what about those who are constantly engaged? According to Hootsuite, about 79 percent of those monthly users are active daily on the platform. This number has remained consistent over the years. These people might have forgotten their Facebook login because they’re always logged in.
- Mobile is almost everything to Facebook these days. People access the platform (and nearly all of social media) more on mobile than anything else, and Facebook has put great effort into ensuring users have the best mobile experience possible.
- Overall Android devices beat out iOS devices in accessing Facebook, with 81.8 percent of mobile users using Android and 14.8 percent using iOS. Interestingly, about 3.4 percent of mobile users used a mobile web browser instead of an app, which everyone else used.
- In July 2021, 98.5 percent of the 18+ active userbase accessed the platform on a mobile device. Out of the total userbase, 81.8 percent only used a mobile device. By contrast, 16.7 percent used a laptop or desktop to access the platform, and a tiny 1.5 percent only used a laptop or desktop to access Facebook.
- We’ll discuss this later, but focusing on mobile is clearly in Facebook’s best interests, and they know that.
- Unfortunately, while the above data is recent (2021), Facebook has stopped providing as much information on the device breakdown of users. This may be a problem for scholars and marketers alike in the future.
- And Facebook is extremely popular on the web despite not many people using the website and opting for the app. According to Semrush, in June of 2022, Facebook was the third most visited website. It got 10.6 billion visits in that month alone. The only two websites beating it out are YouTube and Google, and those sites will be hard to beat this decade (the total visits of Google beat out Facebook by a factor of four).
- Facebook is likely to stay here, though, as it more than doubled the visit count of the fourth-place website (Wikipedia).
- Facebook posts are not usually the intensely popular thing you see at the top of your feed daily. Most posts do not get the attention that you might think. Or rather, most of the attention seems to go to individual posts. How so? People don’t engage with too many Facebook posts each month. According to DataReportal, the standard adult Facebook user left a median of 5 comments, liked a median of 11 posts, reshared one post, and clicked on a median of 12 ads in a month. This can mean a few things.
- It means there are still Facebook power-users who are effectively always on the platform, as well as people who are mostly lurking and hardly ever comment on anything.
- It also means that the average user is somewhat selective or does not bother to respond to many posts, but they also click on ads pretty often. This could be partially due to the fact that Facebook has recently gotten better at tailoring ads.
- While we want to primarily focus on Facebook in this article (we can talk plenty about other platforms in a different post), the reach of Meta is far beyond Facebook. At least one of Meta’s core offerings (including Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger) is used by 3.65 billion people or 77 percent of all internet users. And much like Facebook, that group is growing, as shown below.
- The main takeaway from this is Facebook is not just Facebook anymore when it comes to its reach. Even if Facebook implodes over the next year, Meta will probably be fine.
- While we’ll go into a bit more detail about Facebook’s revenue in a bit, know that Facebook as a brand is incredibly valuable, being the seventh most valuable brand in the world with a valuation of 101.2 billion dollars. Note that this is the brand's value, not the value of the company’s assets or anything else.
While other platforms aren’t the focus, Facebook and Facebook Messenger are so intertwined that most people would only consider them separate on a technicality. Therefore, here is some important information on Facebook Messenger:
- Interestingly, Facebook Messenger’s main competition in terms of a messaging app is WhatsApp, another app owned by Meta. WhatsApp is used across the world, often for its privacy features. And while there are more private apps, there are hardly any that are so widespread in their use.
- If we consider Facebook Messenger its own social media network, it would be the seventh most popular in the world, with about one billion users. That is about 16.1 percent of all people over 13 and 20.1 percent if we exclude China (where it is banned).
- While it has a large user base, the app isn’t many people’s favorite. Only 2.6 percent of internet users aged 16 to 64 say it’s their favorite social media platform. Facebook proper is much more popular, with 14.5 percent saying it is their favorite.
- As of 2021, Facebook Messenger had a total of 5.4 billion cumulative downloads.
- Worldwide, the Facebook Messenger gender split looks pretty close to that of Facebook, with a slightly greater number of male users than female users. There is reason to believe this gap will also close over time.
- In the United States, women make up 55.7 percent of the userbase, brushing off the worldwide trend.
- The gender breakdown is somewhat similar to Facebook, though it should be pointed out that very few of Facebook Messenger’s users are between the ages of 13 and 17 (about 5.6 percent total). This group prefers to use different apps.
- Interestingly, Facebook Messenger does not seem to be the most popular messaging tool in the United States, and instead, the following countries use it the most, according to DataReportal:
- You should know that if you live in the United States and think everyone uses Facebook Messenger instead of something else, you aren’t wrong. About 82 percent of United States adults say it’s their most used messaging app. Perhaps it simply has too centralized a userbase on the platform for people to quit totally, even if they wanted to.
User Statistics and Demographics
With billions of people using Facebook, many of them every single day, what does the audience, in general, look like? It has to be a diverse array of people and demographics. Here is what we could find about how the users of the platform:
- While Facebook might be most well-known for influencing in the United States, that might be because it is based there. The United States also doesn’t even have the most Facebook users. That distinction would go to India. Based on potential advertising reach, DataReportal put together the information on the countries with the most Facebook users, as shown below:
- We may see some more growth as people in some countries gain more access to the internet and technology, and also perhaps as the hype dies down in countries where Facebook is more recent of a phenomenon.
- If you look worldwide, you’ll find that the userbase of Facebook skews male. About 56.8 percent of the userbase are male, and 43.2 percent are female. Note that this is worldwide, and regionally you could find a more even split or reversal of the trend. DataReportal hypothesizes that this results from men having more internet access in the developing world. We agree with them, especially considering that the African userbase is only 40 percent and the userbase in Southern Asia are only 24.7 percent female. This is all likely to change and even out over time.
- After gender, most people might look at age as the next demographic. Fortunately, DataReportal has good data here as well:
- As you can see, the narrative that Facebook isn’t for young people anymore doesn’t hold much weight. While younger people might also use other apps such as Instagram and TikTok, they aren’t just using those apps. Many of them are using Facebook as well.
- As time goes on and the population ages, so will the general population of people that use Facebook. After all, people don’t just suddenly quit using Facebook once they turn 40. With time, we’ll see the overall spread more reflective of the total population.
- Though while people might not quit Facebook as they grow older, it is quite possible their relationship with the platform will change, and what they post will be quite different than it was in years past. Unfortunately, we do not have nearly as much information on this yet.
- Looking at political differences in the United States, you usually will see a heavy lean towards one party or another given a particular app’s userbase. But with Facebook, it’s a nearly even split. According to Pew Research, out of United States adults, 72 percent of Democrats or those who lean Democrat use Facebook. Compare this with 69 percent of Republicans. Note that this is about a percentage of those groups that use the platform, and there can still be a greater amount of one or the other based on political party sizes.
Facebook, Advertising, and Marketing
Facebook isn’t necessarily a free service. It is free to use, but access to users is the product Facebook sells. Data and Facebook Advertising are where Facebook gets its money for the most part (there might be a few paid services for users, but they are few and far between and primarily experimental for however long they last). With that in mind, here are a few things relating to marketing and advertising on the platform:
- Over 93 percent of businesses are active on Facebook, and 200 million businesses are using the free tools provided by Facebook. For many enterprises, it can seem as though not being on the platform can feel like not existing at all.
- Regarding Facebook Ads, some consumers are worth more than others. Some regions command a higher price for showing ads to users. Data from DataReportal, the ARPU of a Facebook user, is $48.29. That is much more than someone in Europe and most people in Asia.
- On top of the platform's advertising, marketing, and video marketing, there is the smaller scale selling between users in the form of Facebook Marketplace. Businesses also list items on the platform, ranging from appliances to cars. And there are boosted listings (a potential profit stream for Facebook) that can reach 562 million people.
- While Facebook Marketplace was only about six years ago, it has more than one billion users. It has completely taken over similar sites and marketplaces and has become the number one place to go if you want to buy or sell something used in your community.
- There are 33,000 bots on Facebook Messenger, and the number is growing. Most are there to help answer questions for potential customers, with perhaps a few being not so kind.
- While Facebook has a great deal of dominance in many advertising and marketing spaces, there are still companies that beat it out. Most online reviews are hosted on Google. People still use Google and Amazon for shopping for new products more often than not. People don’t go on Facebook to buy a new wardrobe. And while Facebook might be ambitious in its plans, it’s not what the brand is known for now.
Facebook Today and in the Future
What are some of the clear trends we can see today, and how might they impact the future?
- Perhaps the most significant announcement or project out of Facebook recently has been the Metaverse and Mark Zuckerberg’s seeming obsession with it. However, most people aren’t exactly sure what the Metaverse is yet, companies are trying to figure out what the deal with it is, and it is still years and years away from becoming commonplace. As far as we can tell, it is heavily related to VR, but most people do not have a VR headset and perhaps not the equipment to truly utilize a platform as was envisioned.
- Growth for Facebook in the coming years might be a bit different than it was in years past. There are not that many new markets or people to appeal to, and everyone already connected to the internet has likely made up their mind on Facebook one way or another.
- We may see more integration between the platforms Meta is in control of. Facebook and Instagram are already somewhat well-linked, but there is more than can be done, and Meta can always acquire and develop new technologies to integrate into its platforms. Facebook, if it wants to continue trying to be the social media network for everything, will need to catch up to compete with other social media networks in their areas of expertise.
- The expansion of existing features is also possible. What holds in store for the future of Facebook Dating and Facebook marketplace, successful as both are to some extent? Are there apps or technologies in development that will bring new life to nearly forgotten features? Will we see when it comes to Facebook Video?
- And as much as we focus on Facebook, it’s just as important to look at Instagram and WhatsApp. Both are wildly popular worldwide, have the potential to obtain vast amounts of data and revenue for the company, and are potentially massive sources of revenue beyond what they already are.
- Facebook live might also start taking cues from its competitors, hoping to become a more prominent player in live streaming.
- Every major technology company operating today is interested in AI and better algorithms to some degree, and Meta is no exception. They’ve been studying and working on it for at least a decade and are trying to make some headway into the field (with some success, at least when it comes to general technology ramifications). People complain about the bots and automation on the platform now, but we’ll have to see whether that remains the case in a few years with improvements.
- Though as has been predicted, there might be a backlash against AI development given some of its justified fears. Yet as technology becomes more complex and AI is used in other fields and parts of our daily lives, we might not have much choice but to work with it, including on Facebook and other Meta platforms.
- And we might not even notice it when AI is implemented. While we might notice the effects of the current algorithm at work in our recommendations and feed, we don’t see the algorithm at work. We doubt there will be a day soon when you log in and a voice says, “Hi, I’m Cindy, and I’m Facebook’s developed AI. Do you want to chat?” That could be what Meta is aiming for over the next decade for its userbase, particularly when it comes to the still-mostly-unknown Metaverse.
- We will see major news stories on it, however, and alongside the trends as major developments occur. The details will be in more specialist publications, but we encourage you to keep an eye on those if you’re interested in developing AI and social media.
- More monetization is inevitable, and it might be necessary for Meta to thrive in the future. It can certainly bring in more investment given the projects it is working on, and ultimately we think that Facebook is still as much of a prospect for the future as something established. Yet eventually, investors will wonder where the profit is coming in, and they don’t want the Facebook boom to deflate in any way. It could be increased ads or an inflated ad price, charging for extra features, portions of the service, or something else.
- And finally, in increasingly interesting times, we will see more debates about regulation, moderation, and censorship on platforms such as Facebook. There might not be easy answers to these questions, especially as Facebook is a worldwide company. What we can expect is that Facebook will act in Facebook’s best interests on the matter. Look out for more news stories and proposed regulations on social media, if not Facebook specifically.
Facebook isn’t shrinking or going away anytime soon, so it only serves you well to learn as much about it as possible. Whether you are a marketer, another professional that needs to use it, or an average user, you can better prepare for the future by learning the trends. We hope that this article helped you get a better understanding of Facebook and its ecosystem. We invite you to return to this page as needed and encourage you to seek even more information if you are curious.