Back to our blog

19.01.16 / How many users do social networks have?

So, you want to know how many users Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or other social networks have? The bad news: It’s a lot of hassle researching the latest numbers. The good news: We’ve done the hard work for you.

What are we doing?

Latest social network user numbers, on a Google Doc, which we will be updating whenever the numbers change. We have doubtless missed some – so if you spot any which are out of date, let us know. Or if you see publicly citable UK figures, likewise.

Why are we doing it?

We want to share tools and insights which help people build what comes next. We need these numbers, so we know they have value for others. We could keep them to ourselves, but you’d then spend time searching for them, not working on changing things.

Why aren’t these all available already?

Well, there are a few reasons:

  • Many social networks are private (often VC backed) companies. They don’t have to share them, if they don’t want to.
  • The really big, publicly listed businesses release these numbers as part of quarterly earnings reports. These aren’t always the most accessible, nor do these businesses want to provide a running commentary – it could make the share price jumpy
  • In some cases they aren’t provided because, simply put, they wouldn’t tell a very pretty story. In a world in which tens of millions of users are small change, it can be tough to admit you don’t have a huge user base, or that your numbers are going backwards
  • There is a broad shift happening whereby Monthly Active Users (MAUs) are no longer regarded as the best single yardstick with which to measure usage of a service. That means some businesses are reluctant to share these numbers because it’s not the best measure of how their service is used (for a video business, time spent viewing might be a better indication than MAUs, e.g. Facebook track Daily Active Users (DAUs)). There isn’t, however, any commonly agreed alternative

Why do these user numbers matter?

Solid user numbers give a basic indication of the scale of adoption – but do bear in mind that because Snapchat has a lot of users (as one example) doesn’t mean it would be relevant for grandparents – demographics of users matter, as well as raw numbers.

You’ve missed my favourite network!

Sorry – let us know, and we’ll do our best to add it.

I’ve found different numbers…

Send us a link to the source. If it’s more recent, or more reliable, we’ll swap it. We’ll get better numbers, together.

Can I use these numbers for my document/homework/blog?

Sure. It’d be lovely to get a shoutout if you do, but absolutely – please do.

Blog / Archive