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insight / 2 years ago

UK Social media stats | 2013 vs 2016.

How have social media platforms changed over the last three years? We did the research so you don't have to...


Shannon May

[Digital Marketing Assistant]


18/07/2016 @ 08:52am


/ / / / /

The UK’s population is over 65 million, with a massive 92.6% of us having access to the Internet. Social media usage is through the roof, with over 38 million active social media users in 2016, which is 63% of the entire population!

But surely the social media landscape hasn’t changed since 2013? We take a look back at 2013 UK social media stats compared to today to see what a difference 3 years had made…

>>Get 2017 statistics here<<

how much time per day?

How many hours did we spend, on average, using social media every day? According to data from We Are Social released in Jan 2016, we spent an average of 1 hr 29 minutes using social media across all devices – with the overall time spent online at around 2 hrs 51 minutes per day.


In 2013 there were 30 million Facebook users – that’s still very impressive because in 2001 there were less than 20 million people with actual Internet (hard to believe now!).

The age split in Facebook users hasn’t changed as much as everyone assumes. In 2013 the 15 – 24 year olds were the biggest proportion of Facebook users by age at 25%, with the 25 – 34 year olds following close behind at 24%. This year it seems all the age ranges are levelling out with regards to age ranges – the gaps are much closer. In 2013 the gap between Facebook users aged 55+ and 15 – 24 years old was 10%, but in 2016 it’s just 4%! This could mean as the population ages, so does the distribution of Facebook users as the younger generations join newer social networks – ah, a sign of the times!

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 15.24.38

We also noticed that the biggest increase in users in a single age-group was the over 55s with an increase of 6% which dwarves the others in comparison. This could be due to the older generation becoming more tech-savvy as they want to keep in touch with friends and relatives. Silversurfers CEO Martin Lock even claimed that some of the over 55s may also be using Facebook to ‘alleviate loneliness in later years.’

But Facebook is still the top dog in terms of top active social platforms, despite slowing down in membership growth. Facebook experienced 6.3% UK user growth in 2013 but in 2016 it’s only reached 2.8% so far (and last year it was only 3.4%).

Discover Facebook advertising.


Instagram has exploded in the last few years, with a few people becoming ‘Instagram famous’ in their own right. But in 2013 it had only been a year since Facebook purchased the app for around $750 million. Of the total internet users in the UK, 37% of 18 to 29 year olds used Instagram regularly.  In 2016 Instagram reported it had 14 million monthly active users in the UK – that’s about the total population of Wales, London and Manchester combined! It was reported that 39% of UK users are aged 16 – 24 years old.

Out with the old, in with the...sunset hue?

Out with the old, in with the…sunset hue?

Discover Instagram advertising.


At the end of 2013 Twitter had 15 million active UK users – but recently the social media platform has gone very quiet when it comes to official figures. The latest numbers we could find were from We Are Social at 12.4 million active users. This significant drop could be related to the rise of social media giants such as Snapchat and Instagram.

Of the active Twitter users in 2013, 31% were aged between 15 and 24, 26% were aged 25 – 34, 25% were aged 35 – 44 and 19% were aged 45+. Interestingly enough, come the start of 2016, 28% of over 45s were using Twitter which is the biggest jump of any of the age groups. This could be because older business owners are ditching more traditional methods of marketing and are starting to see the benefits of Twitter for advertising, reaching out to customers and earning direct sales.

Discover twitter advertising.


In July 2011 Snapchat had 127 users (and it was called Picaboo – which explains the lil’ ghost logo), by 2013 the world is sending 150 million snaps per day and the company introduced Snapchat Stories. In September 2015 they brought out Selfie Lenses including the face swapping function, the rainbow puker and many many many more. At first, users had to pay for some of the features at the Lens Store, but just a couple of months later Snapchat changed its mind and now gives all filters away for free so it can focus on advertising instead. The company is offering other companies to sponsor some of the filters for an advertising fee – smart thinking! That’s why Snapchat remains one of the biggest social platforms with everyone using it from universities to individuals.

Discover snapchat advertising.

Want more stats? Check out our 2017 content marketing statistics or find out more about email with our 2016 email marketing statistics.




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