269 responses to “Statistics Show Social Media Is Bigger Than You Think”

  1. Alberto

    As already told you, that’s a great job Erik.

    we posted an italian translation on our blog:

    1. equalman

      Perfetto. Grazie!

  2. Noah

    #31 doesn’t hold water. According to Neilsen in Q1 2009 (the latest period they offer the data for right now) only 5.8% of mobile users watch video. Most of these stats are junk.

    #10 80% of companies use LinkedIn? What is their sample set? There are over 25 million employers in the US alone. LinkedIn is a global site but if we ignore the rest of the world and we assume 25 million firms in the US we can see a problem. LinkedIn only this summer passed 45 million users, to have 80 percent of businesses that means that, 20 million of those users are employers. So only 1/2 of the users of LinkedIn are employees or job hunters? Not a chance…

  3. Hermes

    #17 is actually two stats, and the “some studies” which one would imagine would queue an obvious reference lightbulb moment, seems not to have gone off.

    1. equalman

      Good point – correcting this omission soon.

  4. Shane

    number 17 is technically 2 facts. You cite the source of the language data, but don’t cite any of the studies comparing to Britannica. I know I’ve read them, so I think it would be responsible for you to divide this point into 17a and 17b with appropriate links

    1. equalman

      Good catch – correcting now.

  5. Chris

    Very interesting list. I do have to stand up for David Ogilvy though.

    He was much more than the original Mad Man all about the sale. Granted, he is best known for his advertising, which is not social, but he was a major proponent of listening first…advocating audience research being at the core of every campaign. In fact, he came from a research background.

    1. equalman


      Thanks for standing up for David Ogilvy. If I had to do it again I would have left him out of the video (comparison to Dale Carnegie) as the quick cutting doesn’t allow to fully explain the context, which I’m able to do in my presentations and speeches. I’d also explain this better in the book. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

  6. AJ

    Great video, Erik! And, congrats at over 120,000 views on youtube set to a great song (I’ve been singing that “right here, right now for most of the day while humming the beat, lol)! I’ve already posted a link on facebook, twitter (@ki2mylife), and sent snail mail emails out to other friends & co-workers.

    Good luck on the book (just ordered on Amazon — any way I can get it autographed?)


    1. equalman

      Thanks AJ! I think glassdoor is in the book – great concept. Happy to supply an autograph – send me the address and it will be on the way. If you want the book signed we can figure that out too! Thanks again.

  7. jkottcamp

    I enjoyed the video and while I also am concerned about the accuracy of some of the data and/or the conclusions drawn from the source data, I thought it does a good job of inviting the viewer into learning more about the impact of social media. If every viewer simply fact checked all the cited sources, they would learn an awful lot about Social Media

  8. Julie @ Angry Julie Monday

    Just found this site. I love. I re-hashed your post on my blog. I’m going to be a subscriber now.

  9. Tom Sonncom

    Unfortunately there exist conflicting research results for Twitter usage. Some say mobile devices are dominant, others say online access on desktops/laptops accounts for 50%.
    But: great list of stats! There is so much going on, that whatever is available to help understand is very welcome in social media marketing and viral seeding.

    1. equalman


      I agree that there is some conflicting data out there on Twitter. The hope as we move along is that more and more of the data starts to be relatively consistent. I’m glad you like the compilation of stats!

  10. Marcello Rinaldi
    1. equalman

      ¡Gracias por la revisión! Me alegro de que haya encontrado el vídeo de la ayuda. Las fuentes de los datos que figuran en el artículo, por lo que espero que esto ayude también.

      Mi español no es bueno, pero estoy aprendiendo :)

  11. Taylor Walsh

    Hey Erik,

    Outstanding effort. And nothing like good ole crowdsourced QC is there? Here’s another nugget you can stir in:

    “Women over 40 years of age accounted for 53% of female core (social media) users.” According to

    Good luck with the book.

    1. equalman


      Thanks for the kind words and your data point is awesome: “Women over 40 years of age accounted for 53% of female core (social media) users.” According to

  12. Ben Hebert

    @ Abby facebok’s carbon footprint! That’s a great addition as well

  13. adri munier

    loved the vid, wonder if it’s possible to get a copy online of the book? when I ask for it in The Netherlands, they’ll probably only can/will deliver the expensive hardcopy and I want either the ebook version or the paperback.

    1. equalman


      Glad you liked the Vid. I’m a big fan of The Netherlands!

      You can order the hardcover online and also the Kindle version is available now!

  14. Andy

    I find your “50 million users” timeline very confusing. Why don’t you show how long it took Facebook to get 50 million users? Is it because Facebook launched in Feb 2004 and by Feb 2007 had 18 million users and thus was slower to reach 50 million users than the internet and the iPod? This is not the implication your video gives.

  15. pfairburn

    It’s an amazing stat – 1 billion app downloads for the iphone; but it’s not the same as the others in point 4.
    Mixing users and downloads is misleading.
    Still – a billion – wow!

    1. equalman

      Agreed that the placement in the Vid was a bit tricky, but just like you the stat blew me away and I had to include! Thanks for the feedback!

  16. Sterling

    I truly enjoyed this video, I thought it was great! As the person who runs all our social media for my work – and had to convince people that a blog, twitter and facebook page were very important to have, I could have used this video earlier this year :) I did forward to a few people though just to reiterate my points. Your blog overall is really good too!

  17. Chris

    Wow — impressive rundown. Thanks for including the source material as well.

  18. Nikos

    Awesome video compilation from a creative and informational perspective!
    Keep up the good work!

  19. david

    Bugabike – I love it, where can i download the sound music ? Its verry Sabamba music :-) … Just fantastic video.

    1. equalman

      The Music you can buy for $1.29 on iTunes (FatBoy Slim “Right Here, Right Now” form 1999 – you may like some of their other stuff too!). Glad you liked the video.

  20. Abby

    If the facts enlisted are from the video only – its ok then. Otherwise this two would have been some interesting addition :

    Average number of “friends” in a Facebook network is 120

    And Facebooks carbon footprint is 1/2 of NY city :-)

    1. equalman

      Cool stats!

  21. equalman

    Miss White – thanks for the feedback – see you on Twitter.

  22. equalman

    Thanks for the comment! Credit is given and the hope is this produces tons of sales for Fatboy Slim! I believe it has from the e-mails I’ve received.

  23. Annabel Candy

    Brilliant collection of stats, the evidence seems to be compelling. Top sound track to so many thanks to you and Fat Boy Slim for an uplifting five minutes:)

    1. equalman


      Thanks – glad it brightened your day.

  24. Martin

    me again…

    “34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands”.
    Acutally it has decreased to 31.7% according to Wave 4

    1. equalman

      Thanks for the new data Martin!

  25. Martin

    Thank you for this nice collection.

    However, number 13 “80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices” is wrong. I think you meant:

    80% comes from third-party programs on smartphones or computers (and not via

  26. Akash

    Oh yeah! Social Media is definitely not a fad! Your statistics are amazing, even if we halve them; this changes the game in a big way for the brands. Social media related ads will soon chip away search ad share. Look out Google, Y! and MSFT.

    1. equalman


      I agree that the Big 3 (maybe 2 now with Microhoo) need to be on the lookout, but will they be too busy fighting amongst themselves?

  27. Gossage

    Alicia, thanks for being impressed by my analyses, but there’s nothing impressive about it. It’s just simple investigation sparked by a healthy amount of skepticism.

    Anyway, to your last question, I’m quite fond of social media, but making it something it isn’t is not a good idea.

    For all the reasons suggested. And more.

  28. Alicia [The Soft Landing]

    I found your video through @copyblogger via Twitter (well what do you know??). I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can vouch for the astounding power of social media in the small business world. It should serve as a convincing motivator for entrepreneurs wish to see their online businesses grow far beyond what traditional advertising will offer.

    And to Gossage – you keep showing up with quite impressive analyses of all missteps in the video. My question to you is whether you’ve experienced the wonders of social media, or are you just interested in analyzing?

    1. equalman

      Alicia -

      I’m glad that you enjoyed the video and I’m also excited that you are seeing the benefits of social media from a small business perspective. I have long touted that often the best place for Fortune 500 companies to look for social media best practices is in the small business arena. Small businesses often lead in innovation when it comes to social media. Thanks!

  29. Gossage

    I’m glad that you’re glad that many have pointed out that your video argument, which is completely built on statistics, is in my places, wrong, and in many more places, misleading.

    That is not a good way to “wake everyone up to the fact that Social Media is only going to become bigger with time”.

    It’s irresponsible. And unethical.

    And it’s damaging to furthering any argument about and/or for the place social media has in our society.

    It would be much more valuable to to create a video that uses facts that are accurate.

    My assumption is that you can’t do this. Or it’s too much trouble to be truthful.

  30. maryannhalford

    I found your video via Kyle Lacy’s blog this morning and watched with great interest.

    I work with a number of businesses trying to figure out how to use social media to their advantage. They are having a hard time figuring it out as it is a huge cultural shift. I will definitely use your video in working with clients and will be sure to credit you! I will also be pre-ordering your book.

    Thanks for your great work. I also have very much enjoyed the comments here as well as your thoughtful responses.

    1. equalman


      Thanks for the positive feedback – I hope the video and book help you achieve your goals!

  31. Marta Kagan

    I’m surprised and disappointed to find no reference/credit given to the What the F**k is Social Media presentation ( that I published over a year ago, given that almost half of the video cites the slides in my deck verbatim. Was that an accidental oversight perhaps?

    1. equalman


      This presentation is awesome/amazing! I have updated the post with a special callout to make certain everyone checks it out – it’s well worth everyone’s time.

      Also, if you haven’t seen Marta Kagan’s “What The F**K is Social Media” prsentation, it’s amazing! Many of the same eye-popping facts are contained in it – as well as many more. Plus, it does a much better job of providing insight than my video which is designed to grab attention. Kagan’s presentation informs, check it out!

      Let me know if you are in Boston anytime soon as I’d love to grab coffee!

  32. Samuel

    Social media is really very powerful, that each of us has been moved by it. We can’t deny that we have at least one account on every social media sites. Hence, those who have an online business used social media to scatter his/her business.

  33. robb

    yet another statistical data about the net and stuff.

  34. Josh Bernoff

    This video and blog post are a fascinating example of a social phenomenon — how statistics, shorn of context and eventually of sources, can spread like a meme.

    Let’s just take as one example, statistic #2, that social media has overtaken porn as the top activity on the Web.

    Your source is Huffington Post, but when you click on the Huffington Post link you find the actual article is on Reuters. Going there you find out that the actual research was done by Hitwise ( and that the actual fact is that social networks have overtaken porn in *Web Searches*, which is not the same as activity. And even Reuters doesn’t tell us what region this is in — is the US, or worldwide?

    It’s not that I don’t believe it, it’s that in the absence of context these statistics lose much of their meaning.

    Another example that caught my eye is your statement that 35% of book sales at Amazon are on Kindle, since I knew that in fact it’s 35% of UNIT sales of books where books are available in both formats. Since many books are not available on Kindle, and since the Kindle versions usually cost $9.99, less than the print versions, this overstates the case. In your list of stats you say “when available” which isn’t in the video, and doesn’t quite cover it anyway.

    And what are we to make of the statistics for which you couldn’t find the source?

    The video is getting a lot of views and congratulations, it’s very sexy. And people remove context from statistics all the time. Adding the sources and details to the video would have made it very cluttered and not very interesting. My question is, is this what you want to be known for?

    P.S. Thanks to either you or your publisher for sending me a copy of your book.

    1. equalman


      Thank you for taking the time to comment and I’m glad that you found the video of interest! I’m a huge fan of Groundswell and wanted to make sure my publisher (Wiley) sent you a copy of Socialnomics as soon as possible.

      You are correct in your comments, particularly on the Amazon note. It would have been a challenge visually to embed: 35% of sales are for the Kindle when it is offered both in Kindle and book format. Even more impressive to me is the photo of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos with the large chart showing this % was just 13% a few months ago and that the Kindle 2 adoption helped dramatically increase it to 35%. I was having a conversation with Amazon the other day and requested if they could pull stats of tech vs. non-tech books. Tech books probably index above 35% for Kindle and conversely below 35% for non-tech titles.

      The purpose of the video was to wake everyone up to the fact that Social Media is only going to become bigger with time. The purpose of the book Socialnomics is to educate individuals and businesses on what this means for them and how to thrive in this new world.

      I’d love to grab coffee to catch-up whenever we are both in Boston or the Bay Area. Cheers!

  35. ento entotto

    I hope you don’t mind, but I subtitled the video in Japanese with dotSUB. Please let me know if you prefer a different CC license.

  36. FadiPick

    That is interesting! Those two can mobilize people that account for 3 nations! It was no surprise that thoughtpick blog got 20,000 visitor in 3 hours when Ashton Kutcher retweet one of our posts

    1. equalman

      The more Kutcher retweets you can get the better! Congrats btw,

  37. gareth wong


    Cool video for sure. thanks for that, wonder how long it took to produce and put that together, any chance of enlightening me?
    Research is all based on the target audience.

    Seems to me it was focusing on Generation Y, then all the above ‘might’ be applicable.

    I would agree that it is not a fad, but much more work needs to be done on MANY Aspects of the social media, at the moment, it is early adopter phase, and everyone ‘try it and see’, which means that loyalty is limited, unlike the traditional world.

    Future is with the ‘fully integrated’ world, where social media becomes ‘social business world’, where personal ID/Security/payments etc. are fully integrated and protected.

    just my initial thoughts.


  38. Michele

    Great post! This is so helpful. I have sent your video to all my friends and family.

    Again great job!

    Take Care

    1. equalman

      Thanks Michele!

  39. Anand

    Nice collection..I was trying to see if my site was among the list of references. :S

    1. equalman

      I love Techcrunchies – definitely will use this as a resource down the line more and more. Thanks for the comment!

  40. Ilya

    thought you might appreciate this

  41. Brian Solis

    You’ve done a great job with this and I will share your hard work. Congrats. Will also pre-order your book…

    As you may or may not know, I’m a big believer inand also student of the “social” aspects of social media, spending much of my time studying the sociology behind the technology (well and the tech too of course). It’s bigger than we think…these numbers only trend towards not only a fueling a fundamental shift in how we communicate, but also a fundamental shift in how we behave. We are empowering a new genre of digital extroverts who carry what I refer to as “the verizon network” with them as they traverse online and offline.

    In 2008 I discussed many of these elements in “The Social Revolution is our Industrial Revolution” and “The State of Social Media” and it’s even more compelling to see the momentum documented in a video like this.

    The marvel of social media is the people who take technology and make it do things we never envisioned…

    1. equalman

      Thanks for the kind words Brian! I look forward to reading your posts – they sound great. Love your line: The marvel of social media is the people who take technology and make it do things we never envisioned…

  42. tonyfelice

    @colinfast – good point. that study appears to have been performed online, and as a result would skew heavily toward internet-savvy respondents.

    Any thoughts, Erick?

    1. equalman

      Thanks for the feedback! Definitely not a zero sum game when it comes to online learning and I didn’t mean to convey that. Interpersonal teaching will still play a major roll now and in the future. It will be augmented by online tools. One great one for learning languages is this social learning network: Thanks for the feedback and have a great weekend!

  43. Gossage

    Some of the “facts” here seem more like interpretations you’ve made that are favorable to your POV rather than facts.

    For instance, if you read the abstract on the difference in outcomes between face to face vs. online learning, it turns out that kids do better with a BLENDED experience (ie, both face to face learning AND online learning conditions used together) and that such an experience includes extra time and lessons over just face to face learning.

    The conclusion to draw is, arguably, that online learning can help boost outcomes when integrated into more traditional learning methods… NOT that online learning conditions are superior to face to face learning.

    But here’s the abstract, verbatim:

    The difference between student outcomes for online and face-to-face classes—measured as the difference between treatment and control means, divided by the pooled standard deviation—was larger in those studies contrasting conditions that blended elements of online and face-to-face instruction with conditions taught entirely face-to-face. Analysts noted that these blended conditions often included additional learning time and instructional elements not received by students in control conditions. This finding suggests that the positive effects associated with blended learning should not be attributed to the media, per se. An unexpected finding was the small number of rigorous published studies contrasting online and face-to-face learning conditions for K–12 students. In light of this small corpus, caution is required in generalizing to the K–12 population because the results are derived for the most part from studies in other settings (e.g., medical training, higher education).

  44. Beckie

    wonderful post I will share!

    1. equalman

      Thanks Beckie!

  45. Doug Caldwell

    Thanks for putting together a compelling story told in a few minutes. I will share your video with lots of folks who need to get up to speed with digital world.

    1. equalman

      Doug – Glad this will help! Thanks.

  46. James

    While this video is impressive, I do question a few of the figures. Also, I would expect that a columnist covering social media would provide some “sharing” options for their blog. Nice work though.

    1. equalman

      James: Thanks for liking the video. Good call on the missing “chiclets” not sure how that happened, but they have been added back in so share away! Have a great weekend.

  47. Howard Weaver

    You’ve misstated your data.

    I checked the very first fact the video cites — 96% of Gen Y use social media.

    The data you reference actually says 96% of Gen Y *who are already online* have tried social media at least once. And they include email as social media.

    That’s a far cry from what you claimed. It makes me wonder if the rest of your “research” is equally sloppy and misleading.

    1. equalman

      Howard – thanks for the interest. Keep the feedback/comments/challenges coming as it will only make version 2 that much stronger. Thanks again for the interest/help! Have a great weekend.

  48. drwheeler

    Erik my bad on the above comment — Oops you are Erick Qualman… I was trying to protect you from yourself when I thought I was protecting you from theft of your work… I got the link for your post from Twitter and loved it and saw it again posted without your by line, etc… anyways, glad its you and yours. Add me on Twitter if you’d please and let’s share a good laugh. Best!

    1. equalman

      Thanks for the look out! I appreciate it. Yes, we are one in the same I write for the social media column for Search Engine Watch 2x per month.

  49. drwheeler

    You took this content from a an article written by Erick Qualman of Search Engine Watch on August 10th, 2009. You didn’t even credit him for his work. How much of the other content on your site is acquired the same way?

    1. equalman

      Thannks for the lookout – you are correct and the same person. I write a social media column for SEW 2x per month. Cheers!

  50. Colin Fast

    Cool video, but I have an extremely difficult time believing this stat:

    80% of companies are using LinkedIn as their primary tool to find employees.

    How can that possibly be true? I’d guess that 80% of companies have never even heard of LinkedIn.

    1. equalman

      Colin: Thanks for the post. This should read 80% use LinkedIn as “a” primary tool not as “their” primary tool. I’m traveling right now, but I also believe they updated the study recently so that it’s higher than 80%, but I’ll have to fact check that when I get out of this “tin box.” However I believe I list the source in below the article. Thanks for the feedback!

    2. IT Rush

      Hmm, agree.. Maybe it’s time for me to browse a little with my LinkdIn account and have some stats over..

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