The 16 Most Important Social Media Trends for 2024

With social media trend cycles moving faster than ever, we’re asking ourselves: what’s worth paying attention to in 2024?

Social media trends cover image

2024 social media trends

Welcome to social media in 2024, where trends change faster than Taylor Swift fan theories. There are hot new platforms, fresh ways to shop, and countless algorithm updates. It’s enough to make even the savviest heads spin.

But no need to spiral, friends, because we’ve done the digging for you. Take this blog post as permission to stop obsessively checking every app in search of the hottest new social media trends.

Get our 2024 Social Trends report, and dig into the juicy data that’ll help you reach your goals in 2024—which is shaping up to be social’s best year yet.

16 most important social media trends for 2024

1. text-only posts are the sleeper hit of the year (and x remains on top).

While the shakeup at X seems to have stabilized in recent months, the uncertainty at the platform did give plenty of other text-based apps an opportunity to eat up some market share in 2023.

Mastodon , for example, has 1.7 million monthly active users . The Jack Dorsey-funded Bluesky Social is invite-only (exclusive!) but boasts over 1 million active users.

And then there’s Meta’s Threads app. It exploded out of the gate in July 2023, reaching more than 44 million daily active users in record time.

July 2023 share of 13 to 39 year olds who are interested in or already using the new social media app Threads

Source: Inforgram

But don’t give up on X just yet. The platform formerly known as Twitter is still the most-used text-based social media app .

X says its user base exceeded 540 million in 2023 and will grow to over 650 million users over the next five years (though Statista reports slightly lower numbers, as well as a dip in users worldwide in 2023).

X platform usage remains high, even if those users aren’t quite sure what to call it:

a poll on Hootsuite's LinkedIn account asking users what they call Twitter/X. Out of 6,009 votes: 12% said X, 74% said Twitter, 11% said "X, formerly known as Twitter" and 2% said TwiX

Source: Hootsuite on LinkedIn

But the popularity of these new competitors has made one thing clear: the people are hungry for text, and not just on text-based platforms.

Over on Facebook, old-school text posts are still doing big numbers. Auntie Anne’s has been repurposing top-performing Tweets as Facebook posts for years now, and the engagement those posts earn is eye-popping.

Plus, we all know text-only posts on LinkedIn can take off:

The success of these posts, especially among marketers, makes a ton of sense. They require less time to create (especially if you use a tool like OwlyWriter AI ) and are way less likely to get stuck in your approval process .

What are we getting at? No matter what happens at X, text-based social apps aren’t going anywhere. And text-only posts, even on platforms that aren’t considered text-forward, are far from over.

To-do list:

  • Secure your usernames on Mastodon, Bluesky and Threads, even if you don’t have time to invest in them yet.
  • Look for opportunities to repurpose your text-only content on other platforms (i.e., reposting your Tweets on Instagram).
  • Don’t delete your X account yet or reduce the number of times you tweet each week (if you’re feeling fatigued, you can speed up Tweet writing with AI ).
  • Polish your X marketing strategy and keep a close eye on whether your audience continues to engage on the platform with Hootsuite Analytics .

2. Social platforms will become the hottest new search engines

If you want real insights from real people, Google search results don’t always do the trick.

But you know where you can reliably find a wealth of advice from actual humans?

That’s right: social media. In 2024 and beyond, social media channels represent the biggest threat to traditional search engines .

Statistic: Share of adults who regularly get news from TikTok in the United States from 2020 to 2022, by age group | Statista

TikTok is now integrating Google search results into its in-app results, and the platform has added robust search tools like Keyword Insights to its Creative Center.

Plus, recent surveys suggest that social media platforms are the second most popular way for Gen Z to research their shopping decisions. It looks like Google is right to worry about TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram encroaching on its territory.

Statistic: Leading sources of information among Generation Z consumers researching products they intend to buy worldwide in 2023 | Statista

We talked about social SEO as an important trend in 2022 — and tested our theories in our own experiments — but it’s an even bigger deal now.

Last year, the social SEO tactics we suggested focused mainly on keyword optimization in captions and profiles. Now, social strategies are evolving to address search intent while still producing content that entertains as it educates (edutainment, if you will).

As long as it’s still relevant, evergreen content can show up in social search basically forever. And the more engagement those posts have, the more likely they are to rise to the top of social search results pages.

Here’s an example of an SEO-optimized post created by the Hootsuite social team.

@hootsuite Ranking the captions our new AI instagram caption generator wrote to announce its own launch #copywriting #aiwritingassistant #instagramcaption #aiinstagramcaption ♬ I Think I Like When It Rains – WILLIS

Social search is still new, but as the platforms continue to improve and expand their search functions, we can see this particular social media trend continuing far into the future.

  • Continue to use social SEO and keyword research to build out your content calendars. We’ve got tips for Instagram , TikTok , Facebook , YouTube , and X .
  • Start creating content that answers common questions in your niche. Educational content is far more likely to show in search results, even months after posting.
  • Incorporate social SEO as a component of your strategy, but don’t make it your primary focus.
  • If you haven’t tried social SEO yet, watch the video below to get started.

3. Longer videos will make a big comeback

Since we’re still recovering from the whiplash of the short-form video takeover, it feels crazy to say this, but here goes: longer videos are about to be hot again .

When we say longer videos, we don’t mean long videos. Unless you’re in a long-form niche (YouTube video essays, for example), we’re talking a length of two to five minutes per video instead of less than a minute.

There are a few reasons why we expect the algos to reward meatier videos this year.

First, the big platforms keep increasing their max video lengths . Instagram Reels can now be as long as 15 minutes, and TikTok is reportedly testing that length as well. Plus, X (Twitter) rolled out its premium subscription, which allows paid users to upload videos of up to two hours long.

  Post by @mattnavarra View on Threads

Second, user behavior is changing. As we mentioned in trend #2, users now frequently turn to social networks to answer questions they might normally pose to Google or other web search engines . Content creators on social need to be able to answer questions in-depth in their videos, which takes more time.

Finally, people are heading to social media to kill time and be entertained more than ever before . (We’re guessing that’s why Paramount recently uploaded the entirety of Mean Girls to TikTok).

In short, social media is poised to earn an even bigger chunk of the Free Time Pie this year, if you can imagine that. And our brains love getting sucked into stuff, so bank on it: long(er) is the new short.

  • Experiment with posting two- to three-minute Instagram Reels and TikToks (and download them without watermarks so you can easily cross-post them).
  • Lean into your evergreen video strategy (more timeless, in-depth videos that feature original audio and answer your audience’s questions).
  • Keep videos to one part unless absolutely necessary (i.e., don’t divide them into Part 1, Part 2, etc.).
  • When posting longer videos, include timestamps in your captions or the video description so viewers can easily navigate through the content.
  • Don’t post long videos just for the sake of it. Make sure they’re entertaining and valuable to your followers.

4. Engagement will move from feeds to DMs

These days, social media feeds are busy with news, memes, creator content, ads, organic marketing from brands — and arguments about whether the dress is black and blue or white and gold (Just kidding! 2015 called and asked if you were paying attention!).

The one thing you don’t see much of on social feeds anymore is organic, uncurated posts from friends and family.

There are many reasons for this shift. But the fact that personal updates don’t live in plain sight doesn’t mean they’ve completely disappeared from the social media landscape.

In August 2023, Business Insider interviewed a handful of Gen Z Instagram users for an article ominously titled “ Social media is dead .” 22-year-old content creator Tati Bruening said:

“There’s this very weird, unspoken social standard of what’s allowed on Instagram. I know that for my age group, it’s like you give up on it entirely, and then you just post only to your Close Friends or alternate accounts. There’s this sublayer of Instagram that’s much more true to what the app once was, but it is just not viewable to the general public.”

But Close Friends stories and finstas aren’t the only private places Instagram users share personal updates with friends. Even more engagement happens in DMs.

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri said in a recent episode of the 20VC podcast : “Most of Instagram’s growth has been in stories and DMs.” He also admitted Meta was aware of messaging app Telegram growing into a potentially significant competitor, even though Instagram is “not a messaging app.”

Maybe this is why the team at Instagram has developed many new DM-centered features recently, including:

  • Notes , the text-only status updates that live and can be answered in DMs
  • Broadcast channels , a one-to-many messaging system inspired by Telegram
  • Improved guardrails against unsolicited messages

So, what does this mean for social marketers?

First, tracking brand-related engagement is more difficult when it happens in the privacy of DMs — off-limits territory for social listening tools and traditional analytics. But that doesn’t mean it can’t yield significant business results (see our tips for tracking this type of dark social below).

Second, brands and organizations need to get comfortable with the fact that DMs are the preferred communication method for most social media users . This goes for B2C conversations too, which means that social media will become even more of a customer service channel in coming years.

  • Encourage your audience to DM you with questions and feedback.
  • Get your social team ready to handle customer service inquiries. Give them tools (like Hootsuite Inbox ) that will help them keep track of and easily answer social messages from all your accounts across networks.
  • Set up automated responses for simple, frequently asked questions and the times of day when your team is offline.
  • Use UTMs to track (at least some of) the traffic you get from DM shares.
  • If your organization uses social media to share timely content, news, or important PSAs, consider starting an Instagram Broadcast Channel . ( Note : At the moment, the feature is only available to users with Creator accounts. Keep an eye on Adam Mosseri’s own Broadcast Channel for updates.)

research social media trends

Manage all your messages stress-free with easy routing, saved replies, and friendly chatbots. Try Hootsuite’s Inbox today.

5. Shares will matter more than likes, comments, or followers

Every social marketer wants to expand their reach, but if you’ve ever tried to buy followers or likes, you know the results can be… disappointing . Especially when your boss asks you to prove how those investments have paid off.

Comments, likes, and followers can all be faked. Views and impressions are easily inflated. But there’s one engagement signal that’s much harder to game: shares .

Unlike comments, likes, followers, or views, shares represent actual value. When someone shares your content in Stories, DMs, or off-platform, you know they’re willing to vouch for you to their own audience.

Don’t get us wrong: comments and likes are still valuable engagement signals. But if you design your content to be shared, the likes and comments will still follow. The reverse isn’t always true.

Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and X have either made share counts public or are testing doing just that — and if that’s not a nod to their importance, we don’t know what is.

Looks like @instagram has begun rolling out share/comment counts. UX wise, it looks sharp. Although, it does seems a little counterintuitive following the removal of like counts all those years ago. pic.twitter.com/fANF1rBCpV — Nick Alessi (@nckalessi) August 10, 2023

If you want to make sure your content gets shared more in 2024, start by looking at what’s already working. (Hint: Hootsuite Analytics makes this part pretty easy.) What has your audience responded well to in the past, and how can you make more of that?

find top-performing social posts using Hootsuite Analytics

Start free 30-day trial

Then, when you’re creating new content, try running it through social media consultant Rachel Karten’s shareability test before you hit Post.

But whatever you do, don’t buy shares (or likes, comments, or followers). At best, you’ll hear crickets. At worst, you’ll earn a platform suspension or a permanent ban.

  • Get really clear on who you’re making content for and what they care about.
  • Investigate your top-shared posts using a tool like Hootsuite Analytics. What made them so successful? How can you repeat those wins?
  • Before you post new content, run it through a shareability test like Karten’s. If your target audience isn’t likely to share your post, what can you adjust to hook them?
  • Start paying attention to shares in your regular marketing reports.

6. Telegram might become the next super app

You already know the group chat is the new Facebook status (see trend #4), which is why messaging apps like Telegram are in such a sweet position to skyrocket this year. The privacy-focused chat platform has over 800 million monthly active users and gets around 2.5 million new sign-ups per day. (Seeing the dollar signs yet?)

Although Telegram has been around since 2013, it didn’t become the full-fledged social media network it is today until much more recently. That’s thanks in part to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has consistently used the app to communicate during the war with Russia.

What was once an app for sending secure messages to friends now has many enticing social features. And the platform continues to add more, which is why we think it’s in a strong position to become one of the next super apps .

Some current Telegram features include:

  • Group chats (up to 1,000 users), secret chats, and video chats
  • Support for media, links, files, music, and voice in chats
  • Stories that let you share photos and videos for a limited duration
  • Broadcast channels for sending out messages to large audiences
  • Payment bots to send money between buyers and sellers
  • Telegram Passport for secure personal identification verification
  • Sponsored messaging via the Telegram Ad Platform

The app added an advertising platform in 2021, which allows brands to send sponsored messages to channels with 1,000+ subscribers. Marketers might want to consider integrating Telegram into their paid strategies and striking while the iron is hot on this platform.

  • Government agencies, in particular, might consider following Zelensky’s lead and creating broadcast channels on the app to keep citizens informed with less risk.
  • Cross-promote your broadcast channel (with links) to your audience on your other social media networks.
  • Sign up for the Telegram Ad Platform and experiment with sponsored messaging.

7. The fediverse is the future of social media (but it’s not here yet)

Mastodon. Hive. Bluesky. Threads. What do these social networks have in common?

Sure, each has been touted as Twitter/X’s heir apparent. But they’re also either current or future examples of decentralized social media networks, and they may be a sign of things to come.

But before we get too far into it, a refresher on “decentralized platforms” (because this stuff can get confusing).

Unlike traditional social networks, decentralized platforms use blockchain or peer-to-peer networks to distribute information across many servers.

That means your data isn’t confined to a single server, and no one entity controls it. If enough of these networks are connected, you can communicate seamlessly across them.

That’s exactly what the fediverse , or “federated universe,” is all about. Users on one network in the fediverse can follow, interact, and share content with users on another. The fediverse is big on privacy, independence, community and connection.

That said, the fediverse may not be our social reality just yet .

The team behind Threads certainly seems excited to move towards the decentralized model, but so far, Threads still operates a lot like other traditional social networks.

And while the shakeup at X this year had some social marketers questioning the concept of traditional, centralized networks, the platform formerly known as Twitter has managed to retain most of its users.

Plus, most existing decentralized networks are still too technically complex (see the many “How does Mastodon/Bluesky even work??” posts on X) for most regular users.

  • If you haven’t already, secure accounts and start exploring platforms like Mastodon and Bluesky. There’s no harm in preparing for the future.
  • Start building out your community-oriented social strategy. It’ll be a big part of the decentralized future, but it’s just as relevant for the traditional networks.

8. Every grid post will be a photo dump

We first talked about photo dumps back in 2022, but at the time, they seemed like a passing fad.

Apologies: our crystal ball must have been malfunctioning that day.

Photo dumps, formerly known as carousels, are now the only way to post on Instagram — and since TikTok introduced photo mode , they’ve taken off on that platform too.

(And seriously, no one’s calling them carousels anymore.)

you could have said photo dump i was struggling for 10 minutes to try to figure out what a carousel is

Source: Jess Val on TikTok

You’ve probably noticed that your friends are posting on Instagram less frequently these days. But do us a favor and check out their last few posts — they’re photo dumps, aren’t they?

Those friends aren’t alone, either. There are now more than 3.6M Instagram posts using the #photodump hashtag .

And while the name may imply a lack of curation or strategy, that’s definitely not the case.

The multi-photo format allows creators and brands to tell longer stories, participate in photo-specific trends, and connect with their audience in a way that feels authentic and unfiltered.

TikTok video showcasing person with Ryanair tattoo

Source: TikTok

They’re also a great way to deliver a lot of information without investing in a costly, production-heavy video. On Instagram, you can share up to 10 photos or videos in a single post, and on TikTok, you’ve got up to 35 slides.

Plus, carousels, sorry, photo dumps, are still the top-performing format on Instagram , earning more reach and engagement than Reels or solo posts.

Better storytelling, more reach, and higher engagement for less money? Yeah, we’d call that a format worth investing in.

  • Plan your photo dumps carefully — that first photo is key! Grab your audience with a hook that’ll have them scrolling all the way through.
  • Watch for photo-specific trends, especially on TikTok. If you can come up with a take that makes sense for your brand, high engagement is almost guaranteed.
  • If your first photo dump doesn’t take off, keep testing. Play around with different styles and lengths of carousels.
  • Don’t try to get too sales-y. Photo dumps are the perfect fit for your educational or trending content.

9. LinkedIn will deprioritize personal content (and win more love from Gen Z)

We watched closely as COVID-19 turned LinkedIn from a place for professional updates, career advice, and work brags to a feed filled with personal anecdotes and weekend selfies.

But just as we were warming up to the professional platform getting personal, LinkedIn started giving some signals that it would be returning to its roots.

In fact, LinkedIn has already rolled out some algorithm changes that prioritize professionalism , including one that focuses on “knowledge and advice,” especially among subject matter experts and people within a user’s network.

That’s because, LinkedIn says, its users find content the most valuable when it’s rooted in knowledge, especially if it was posted by someone they know.

Subtext: if you want your posts to go viral on LinkedIn in 2024, you’ve got to work even harder on building out your personal network and followers.

Another indicator that things are skewing more professional is LinkedIn’s new Top Voice badge feature. The platform grants these badges to creators who “share valuable expertise through content that demonstrates their unique, original contributions to a topic.”

Kaylee Edmonson Top Digital Marketing Voice on LinkedIn

Source: Kaylee Edmondson on LinkedIn

The platform clearly wants to reward users who share content based on their professional expertise.

One more important trend to note for LinkedIn in 2024: Gen Z will gain a greater share of the platform’s user base. They’re its fastest-growing demographic, and they’re already outpacing their elders when it comes to adding connections on the platform.

And that’s not just because millions of Gen Z’ers age into the job market each year. It’s also because, as critics posit , younger internet users are seeking a place of earnest celebration (and one free of the overly curated, aspirational, and FOMO-inducing content on Instagram and TikTok).

  • Scale back the personal posts in favor of professional content and posts that spotlight your expertise.
  • But prioritize growing your personal network and follower base (on LinkedIn, users respond best to content posted by people they know in real life or are familiar with online).
  • Reinforce yourself or your brand as a subject matter expert.
  • Tidy up your LinkedIn strategy and stay active.
  • Don’t ignore an emerging Gen Z audience on the platform (you can always use our LinkedIn post generator if you don’t speak Gen Z).

10. TikTok Shop will spark a re-emphasis on authenticity

We’ve been predicting the big TikTok ecommerce boom for a while, but it was still surprising to see just how fast the ForYouPage morphed into a shopping app with the release of TikTok Shop in the U.S. in September 2023.

Just a few months later, TikTok is at the center of the social shopping trend . The app’s in-house storefront and fulfillment service is fast becoming an influencer favorite. And if you’ve spent much time scrolling lately, you already know the algorithm seems to be rewarding users who promote it.

With TikTok handling the shipping and fulfillment, too, there’s less incentive for money-makers to take their sales and affiliate rewards outside of the app.

But it’s not all roses and dollar signs. TikTok users are already reporting scams and knock-offs and questioning creators’ sincerity . There has also been a steep rise in “deinfluencing” content, or content that helps users with overspending and impulse shopping .

@overcoming_overspending here for another ✨deinfluencing✨ moment #deinfluencing #deinfluencer #deinfluence #overspending #overspendingmoney #consciousconsumer #moneytok #moneycoachforwomen #savemoneytips #spendless #shoppingaddict #compulsiveshopping #compulsiveshopper #creditcarddebt #debtfree #impulsebuying #impulseshopping ♬ original sound – Paige-Overcoming Overspending

So, what does this mean for sellers? Besides the obvious — they need to get their products up on TikTok, like, yesterday — we predict that creators who promote their goods in a more authentic way will have the most success on TikTok Shop.

You may see influencers lean more heavily into product placement and detach from overt advertising tactics offered by TikTok Shop.

  • If you’re eligible, put your products up on TikTok Shop.
  • Promote your products in a way that still feels authentic and not sales-y (that’s what made TikTok so special to begin with).
  • Keep a close eye on your TikTok analytics as you start to sell on TikTok. Note whether your promotional videos are doing better than the rest.
  • Try sitcom-style product placement (casually including products in videos without calling them out explicitly).

11. You won’t need a BeReal strategy

Hands up, who else placed their bets on BeReal in 2023?

The real-time selfie app captured our hearts, minds, and marketing strategies last year, and why not? An endless feed of unfiltered, spontaneous updates felt like the perfect antidote to highly curated Instagram feeds.

But the app’s popularity came and went like the disappearing selfies that made it so enticing. Although BeReal amassed over 73 million active users at the height of its popularity, recent stats show that only a third of those users are still active on the platform.

Is BeReal Still Relevant graph of downloads by app store and Google Play

Source: Appfigures.com

Sadly, we don’t have high hopes for BeReal’s resurgence — at least for brands , and here’s why: the app’s swift rise and fall shone a light on a broader, more salient social media trend. These days, users are quick to adopt shiny new trends, but they’re even quicker to abandon them.

The steady decline in BeReal’s monthly users proved that, once the novelty wears off, users — especially Gen Z users — are quick to uninstall.

  • Don’t divest entirely from BeReal. Keep your username and keep an eye on trends. Some apps don’t appeal to mass audiences but still thrive among certain niches and demographics
  • Note that BeReal will delete your account if it’s inactive for two years, so pop in from time to time and post a selfie or two
  • Remember that platforms themselves can be micro-trends. Strike while the iron is hot, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket or expect them to deliver long-term

12. TikTok will continue to be the birthplace of video trends

You know those TikTok jokes about Reels being the place where trends go to die? No? Here’s an example:

@kassypoo27 no explanation needed ♬ What on earth is going on in the house of commons – zkrm

The idea is that social media trends start making rounds on Reels after they surface — and sometimes even get old — on TikTok.

But let’s be clear: Even if Reels are a bit behind on shiny new trends, they’re still a very relevant (and continuously growing) format, and your brand should definitely be making them.

That said, the TikTok to Reels trend pipeline is real.

TikTok’s demographic skews younger than Instagram’s, and the platform is always a couple of steps ahead of its Meta-owned rival in terms of editing features, filters, and audio clips. It’s also, by nature, more creative and “unhinged” (more on that in the next section) than Instagram.

All this means that, for now, TikTok is likely to remain the mothership of short video trends — and keeping an eye on it will help you stay ahead of your Instagram-focused competitors.

  • Scroll! Your For You page is full of content trends waiting to be discovered.
  • Take note of how brands are participating in trends and how their audiences are reacting to it.
  • Fold the ideas that seem the most relevant to your business and social goals into your content calendar — and start testing!
  • If you are in a highly regulated industry (or are not ready to start filming and posting quite yet), keep a burner account to stay informed, but don’t worry about posting.

13. The unhinged social media manager will calm down a little

You’ve probably noticed brands becoming more fun and daring with their online personas in the last few years. This social media trend not so coincidentally overlapped with TikTok’s rise to popularity as a B2C-friendly network. It’s an entertainment platform , after all, and businesses that can’t, well, entertain their TikTok audiences may be better off looking for success elsewhere.

That’s more or less how the unhinged social media manager persona was born. Social media managers fully embraced the language of the internet (niche memes, edgy humor, obscure Gen Z lingo, trending sounds, etc.) to create relatable, often chaotic, sometimes a bit shocking — and ultimately, engaging — content.

@scrubdaddy STANK!! 🤢. #scrubdaddy #smile #cleantok #cleaningtiktok #americasfavoritesponge ♬ ITS DA DOOO DOOO TRUCKL – Theyluv_MikeMike🩵🦅

Getting spicy and subverting expectations paid off for a few trailblazers (hi Duolingo , hello Scrub Daddy ), helping them go viral and inspiring others to follow suit. Before long, a pizza chain was posting about stuffed crustussy (?!?), a travel bag producer was telling their audience of “idiots” who didn’t know how to adjust straps to “shut up,” and every other brand account was complaining about their boss in the first person.

And then… it started getting old. The more brands leaned into the chaos, the less authentic the SMM-turned-comedian voice felt. With such widespread adoption, it lost the shock value and a lot of its original appeal. And let’s not forget the poor souls who accidentally took things a bit too far and ended up in hot water.

So, is there a happy medium? Does being funny and relatable outweigh the risk of reputational damage? Is the unhinged social media manager trope slowly dying?

The answer is: it’s complicated.

The unhinged SMM is the polar opposite of the social marketer limited by inflexible brand guidelines, complicated approval processes, and leaders who don’t understand social media. And most organizations would benefit from building a relatable online personality, learning to speak their audience’s language, and giving social media managers more creative freedom.

Those who decide to go a bit unhinged need to make sure that it’s part of a smart strategy (thorough audience research and clear goals) rather than just posting the team’s only chronically online Gen Z person’s jokes without approval.

  • Build trust in your social media team within your organization. SMMs know social better than senior leaders — their judgment should always be taken seriously.
  • Get everyone on the same page about what’s off-limits. Include non-negotiables in your social media policy (e.g., offensive language, explicit jokes). Be specific.
  • Revise your social media approval workflows . Make sure that your process never gets in the way of creative and timely ideas.
  • Take note of how people within your niche communicate. How casual are they? What jokes do they use? Consider how this style of communication aligns with your goals on social media. Then, rework your style guide to reflect your findings.
  • If you operate in a highly regulated industry or your audience demographics skew older, don’t force it. Chaotic humor might not be for you — and that’s ok.

14. Social isn’t moving into the metaverse quite yet

2021 and 2022 were full of news about Mark Zuckerberg’s then-new project, the metaverse.

Since Meta is best known as a social media company (home of Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, and, as of 2023, Threads), social media managers everywhere rightfully wondered how the metaverse would change social — and their jobs.

But, in late 2023, we’re not hearing as much buzz about the metaverse  — at least not in the context of social media.

Since Zuckerberg dubbed 2023 “ the year of efficiency ,” engaging in several belt-tightening tactics, the expensive metaverse project has moved out of the spotlight — but it hasn’t been completely deprioritized. Meta continues to invest in it, but more for gaming than anything else. This aligns with independent predictions on how the metaverse will make money in the coming years:

Infographic: How the Metaverse is Making Money | Statista

So, what does the future hold for Meta’s metaverse? Time will tell. But for all we know, social media isn’t moving into virtual reality quite yet.

  • Keep an eye on industry news to follow new developments.
  • If you have a friend with a VR set, go play some mini golf with them — it’s fun!

15. Social media managers will become best friends with AI

Is ChatGPT coming for your job? Do you need to rebrand yourself as a prompt engineer ? Is AI-written content good enough, kind of ok, or absolute hot garbage?

The jury of LinkedIn thought leaders is still out, but we’ve got some answers.

The TL;DR of our take is: Generative AI is a super valuable tool for savvy marketers. It won’t take your job (unless you’re really bad at it — and we know that’s not true!). It will make it easier, and it will help you get better results faster.

And we have proof. Our team at Hootsuite ran an experiment where we tested a human writer against ChatGPT on X (formerly Twitter). The results were interesting — ChatGPT generated more engagement, but the human-written captions got more impressions. You probably see where we’re going with this: Humans and AI work great as a team.

AI can help you get words on the page faster, brainstorm ideas, and create many variants of a specific message for testing. But social media managers are still the brains behind it all.

Tools like ChatGPT will allow you to spend more time thinking about your goals, interacting with your social audience, testing new tactics, measuring your results, and so on.

Simply put, AI will help you become a more strategic social marketer .

  • Spend some time playing with a free AI tool like ChatGPT . A small time investment now will save you tons of time in the future.
  • Write new social media captions from scratch in a specific tone of voice
  • Write posts based on a link (e.g., a blog post or a product page)
  • Generate post ideas based on a keyword or topic (and then write posts expanding on the idea you like best)
  • Identify and repurpose your top-performing posts
  • Create relevant captions for upcoming holidays
  • … and then easily schedule those posts to go live at the optimal times, across all your social profiles.

research social media trends

OwlyWriter AI instantly generates captions and content ideas for every social media network. It’s seriously easy.

Bonus: Here’s a bunch of free tools that will help you get started with AI.

16. You won’t ignore YouTube Shorts anymore

Remember when YouTube Shorts first launched in 2021? Many dismissed it as another “TikTok clone” and went back to creating content for the networks they were familiar with.

If we could, we’d go back to those not-too-distant days and give ourselves a good shake. Because YouTube Shorts is more than just a flash in the pan .

According to Google Trends, American interest in YouTube Shorts (generally a reliable indicator of business interest in the platform) has increased by more than 500% since 2021.

research social media trends

Source: Google Trends

This isn’t just a stateside phenomenon, either. In 2022, there were 1.5 billion monthly active users on YouTube Shorts. In 2023, that number rose another half billion.

Statistic: YouTube Shorts global monthly active usage in 2022 and 2023 (in billions) | Statista

Users who’ve stuck with the platform are seeing big gains. But if you’re not using Shorts yet, there’s still time to get on board.

On our own Hootsuite Labs channel, we only started posting Shorts regularly back in April 2023. We now earn thousands of views, hundreds of likes, and a respectable stream of new channel subscribers each week.

If you already have a YouTube channel, Shorts could be a huge opportunity to connect with a new audience. (And if you’re already making TikToks or Instagram Reels, you’ve got a library of short-form video content just waiting to be repurposed.)

Say hello to content links! 🩳 Edit any Short in Studio Desktop 🔗 Add a link to any related video, long, Short, or Live, public or private 🤳 Get a one-click, Remix-style button right on the Short 🤔 Use it to bridge Shorts to long-form, link multi-part Shorts, drive to live,… pic.twitter.com/tjmYqEWEdZ — YouTube Liaison (@YouTubeLiaison) August 10, 2023

You can even link your Shorts to any related YouTube video: long, Short, public or private. It’s a great tactic to drive up subscribers on the platform that’s already considered one of the most creator-friendly around .

In Short (sorry), if you’ve been waiting for a push to get on YouTube Shorts, consider this your official friendly shove.

  • If you don’t already have one, secure your YouTube channel.
  • Start watching YouTube Shorts so you can get a sense of what’s popular on the platform.
  • Sketch out the basics of your Shorts marketing strategy.
  • Repurpose your existing short-form videos (TikToks, Reels) that have performed well on other platforms.
  • Use Hootsuite to schedule your Shorts in advance and analyze their performance.

We’ve compiled research from several different sources to bring you the most data-backed predictions:

  • Social Trends in Government
  • Social Trends in Healthcare
  • Social Trends in Higher Education
  • Social Trends in Financial Services
  • Social Trends for Nonprofits
  • Pew Research
  • Google Trends

Save time managing your social media presence with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can publish and schedule posts, find relevant conversions, engage the audience, measure results, and more. Try it free today.

Get Started

Do it better with Hootsuite , the all-in-one social media tool. Stay on top of things, grow, and beat the competition.

Become a better social marketer.

Get expert social media advice delivered straight to your inbox.

Britny Kutuchief is the Senior SEO Copywriter at Hootsuite. She has a master's degree in creative writing. Before joining Hootsuite, she spent a decade working for digital marketing agencies as an SEO content writer. See more of her credentials on LinkedIn.

Based in Akron, Ohio, Britny spends her non-writing hours pursuing local infamy on Instagram and hiking with her Golden Retriever, Darwin.

Liz Stanton is an Inbound Marketing Strategist and associate editor of the Hootsuite blog. After years of freelance writing, she transitioned to a full-time marketing career in 2018. Before joining Hootsuite in 2022, Liz worked as a brand strategist, content editor, and digital campaign manager. She specialized in helping digital marketing agencies, B2C businesses, and SaaS startups build their brands and improve conversions through content marketing and social media.

Karolina Mikolajczyk is a Senior Inbound Marketing Strategist and associate editor of the Hootsuite blog. After completing her Master’s degree in English, Karolina launched her marketing career in 2014. Before joining Hootsuite in 2021, she worked with digital marketing agencies, SaaS startups, and international corporations, helping businesses and social media content creators grow their online presence and improve conversions through SEO and content marketing strategies.

Related Articles

cover image

Instagram Marketing Strategy Guide: Tips for 2024

Instagram marketing is competitive, but not impossible. Follow this guide and try our top strategies to succeed in 2024 and beyond.

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy in 9 Easy Steps (Free Template) | Hootsuite

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy in 9 Easy Steps [Free Template]

Creating your social media marketing strategy doesn’t need to be painful. Create an effective plan for your business in 9 simple steps.

cover image

30 Free Social Media Templates to Save You Hours of Work

These 30 social media templates will save you a ton of time and effort, from creating content, to publishing posts and measuring results.

cover image

How to Create a Social Media Calendar and Stay Organized

Social media content calendars are the best way to plan and organize your content. Build one in 4 easy steps or use our free templates.

Hootsuite Offer

You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Digital Doughnut

Islam Gouda

The Future of Social Media: Key Trends and Predictions for 2023

In this article, we explore the key trends expected to shape the world of social media in 2023 and beyond. From the continued growth of visual content to the rise of micro-influencers, we examine the trends set to transform how we use social media and interact with brands.

research social media trends

Whether you're a seasoned social media marketer or just getting started, this article offers valuable insights and predictions for the future of social media – and the steps you can take to stay ahead of the curve and succeed in the ever-changing world of online marketing. So if you're ready to learn more about the future of social media, read on!

shutterstock_785222245.jpg

As we look toward the future, it's clear that social media will continue to play a pivotal role in our daily lives and in the world of marketing. In 2023, we can expect to see several exciting trends emerge, including a few key trends in social media that marketers should be aware of:

1. Continued Growth of Visual Content

With the proliferation of platforms like Instagram and TikTok, visual content is more popular than ever. In 2023, we can expect more emphasis on visually appealing content, including photos, videos, and graphics. Marketers must prioritize creating visually appealing content that resonates with their target audience to stand out on social media.

2. Rise of Micro-Influencers

While traditional celebrities have long been famous on social media, in recent years, there has been a shift towards "micro-influencers" – everyday people with smaller but highly engaged followings.

In 2023, we can expect more brands to partner with micro-influencers as they offer a more authentic and relatable form of social media marketing.

3. Increased Focus on Ecommerce

Social media platforms are increasingly used for consumers to discover and purchase products.

In 2023, we can expect to see more emphasis on ecommerce on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, with the development of new features and tools to facilitate online shopping. Marketers will need to consider leveraging social media to drive ecommerce sales.

4. Greater use of Chatbots

Chatbots – automated software programs that can communicate with users in real-time – are expected to become even more prevalent on social media in 2023.

These tools can help brands provide quick and efficient customer service, answer frequently asked questions, and even make recommendations to users. Marketers must consider incorporating chatbots into their social media strategy to improve customer experience and drive engagement.

5. Rise of Ephemeral Content

Social media platforms increasingly embrace brief content, which disappears after a certain period. Examples include Stories on Instagram and Snapchat and Fleets on Twitter. In 2023, we can expect more brands to experiment with ephemeral content to create a sense of urgency and build anticipation around their products and services.

Overall, the future of social media in 2023 looks bright, with new opportunities for visual content, micro-influencers, e-commerce, chatbots, ephemeral content, and AI. By staying up-to-date on the latest trends and adapting their strategy accordingly, marketers will be well-positioned to succeed on social media in the year ahead.

Author Profile

Islam Gouda

Dr. Islam Gouda is a young professional with a passion for marketing. Dr. Gouda has an honorary doctorate from the University of California in Strategic Marketing as a result of the many articles, research studies and publications in that field. He also has a masters degree from the University of Wollongong in Strategic Marketing, and an organizational leadership training from Lehigh in USA, and an American University of Sharjah graduate in Marketing and Management. Dr. Gouda is a marketing focused business experience with a strong analytical ability of using available market data for strategic marketing, business development, product development purposes along with the identification of new business opportunities and measurement of ROI. Dr. Gouda's specialties include, leadership and communications skills with the ability to adapt to a wide variety of cultures and to manage and work part of cross-functional teams. Dr. Gouda has a strong track of success on the definition and execution of the whole marketing mix for both consumer and enterprise segments: market intelligence, product management, demand generation, press, advertising, alliances - with a proven channel expertise, campaigns setup, channel enablement programs, execution, tracking, reporting.

B2B and B2C Marketing, marketing research, branding, online marketing, business development, product development and marketing events management.

Previous Experience

This user has not entered their Previous Experience

Education & Qualifications

This user has not entered their Education & Qualifications

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

How to Review a Website — A Guide for Beginners

How to Review a Website — A Guide for Beginners

A company website is crucial for any business's digital marketing strategy. To keep up with the changing trends and customer buying behaviors, it's important to review and make necessary changes regularly...

Digital Doughnut Contributor

The Impact of New Technology on Marketing

Technology has impacted every part of our lives. From household chores to business disciplines and etiquette, there's a gadget or app for it. Marketing has changed dramatically over the years, but what is the...

Alex Lysak

The Future of Digital Marketing: Emerging Trends to Watch in 2024

In the rapidly evolving realm of digital marketing, adaptability is not just an advantage—it's a necessity. As we stand on the precipice of a new era, the future of digital marketing unfolds before us, shaped by...

Atman Rathod

Mature Partnerships: The Revenue Stream You Need to Get to Know

Discover how high-maturity partnership programmes are driving growth, with a Forrester survey showing companies with mature partnerships see up to 28% revenue increase. Insights reveal the importance of investing in...

Florian Gramshammer

7 Reasons Why Social Media Marketing is Important For Your Business

In the past two decades social media has become a crucial tool for marketers, enabling businesses to connect with potential customers. If your business has yet to embrace social media and you want to know why it is...

Sharron Nelson

Sign in

The ultimate social media trends report

"> "> Global social media trends worth sharing in 2024

Go behind the screens with our flagship social media report. It’s packed with all the social media statistics you need to supercharge your strategy in 2023 so you can understand:

  • How to win consumers’ attention
  • The impact of AI
  • Which platforms are really worth your time 

young lady

Already using GWI? Get the report  here .

The HubSpot Blog's 2024 Social Media Marketing Report: Data from 1400+ Global Marketers

Discover what we learned from surveying 1400+ global social media marketers about their 2024 goals, challenges, and more.

social_trends_report_2023-cover-mock

THE 2023 SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS REPORT

The opportunities, challenges, and helpful new data to optimize your social content.

A smartphone show social media apps.

Updated: 03/12/24

Published: 03/12/24

As the resident social media and content creation expert for the HubSpot blog, I know a thing or two about social media marketing. And one of those things is that the social media marketing landscape is constantly evolving.

Fortunately, I can lend my expertise — and that of the 1,460 marketing professionals HubSpot recently surveyed — to help you stay informed on the latest happenings in social media marketing.

Yes, we asked 1,400+ global social media marketers about their biggest trends, goals, challenges, and strategies going into 2024. And we're passing our knowledge to you.

Download Now: The 2024 State of Social Media Trends [Free Report]

Not much time on your hands? Click the section you’d like to jump to here:

  • Social Media Trends

Top Social Media Platforms

Top social media marketing goals.

  • The Top Social Media Challenges
  • Top Social Media Marketing Metrics

The Best Times to Post on Social Media

  • Social Media Marketer Predictions

The Top 5 Social Media Trends of 2024

  • Social media e-commerce will continue to grow.
  • Consumers slide into brands’ DMs for customer service.
  • AI-generated Social Media Posts
  • Brands continue to swap out celebrities for micro-influencers.
  • Content remains king in 2024.

1. Social media e-commerce will continue to grow.

I can't scroll for more than five seconds on almost any social media app without seeing a chance to purchase something online.

Whether it's TikTok Shop, Instagram Shopping, or sponsored content from influencers — opportunities to make purchases directly from social media are almost endless and will only grow in 2024.

Our survey shows that a quarter of marketers are currently leveraging the strategy of selling products directly via social media apps, and 50% of marketers plan to increase their investment in social selling in 2024.

Copy of Facebook Shared Link - 1200x628 - Percentage + Copy - Light (600 x 300 px) (1)

Over the last few years, social media apps have evolved into e-commerce platforms that connect users with products they can buy without leaving the app.

While some, like Instagram, are further along in this transformation, many apps are working hard to implement new features and tools that enable social shopping.

TikTok, for example, launched TikTok Shop in the U.S. in 2023, and while 33% of TikTok users say they have not shopped on the platform, 30% have used it, according to Statista .

Furthermore, consumers are discovering new products on social media more than anywhere else. In fact, about 1 in 3 consumers use social media to discover new items and brands, according to Porch Group Media .

And I'm definitely a part of that 1 in 3. A few months ago, I discovered a brand called Midnight Hour on Instagram that sells goth-inspired clothing and accessories. After perusing its Instagram, I bought two blouses and a skirt directly from its Instagram storefront.

Our own research shows I'm not the only millennial influenced by social media shopping.

In our previous social media marketing survey, we found social media especially takes the lead for product discovery among Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X, beating out internet searches.

Social media is also the channel consumers 18-54 most prefer to discover new products on.

And social selling is yielding results for marketers. The majority of marketing professionals in our survey (16%) say social media shopping tools resulted in the biggest ROI in 2023.

So, it makes sense that 87% of marketers plan to maintain or increase their investment in such tools in 2024.

HubSpot uses the information you provide to us to contact you about our relevant content, products, and services. HubSpot will share the information you provide to us with the following partners, who will use your information for similar purposes: Mention. You can unsubscribe from communications from HubSpot at any time. For more information, check out HubSpot's Privacy Policy . To unsubscribe from Mention's communications, see Mention's Privacy Policy .

research social media trends

The State of Social Media in 2024

Explore the top trends in social media for brands to know and optimize your social strategy.

  • AI Content Creation
  • Community Building
  • Social Media Shopping
  • Social Vs. Search Engine

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

2. Consumers slide into brands’ DMs for customer service.

Since social media is all about shopping, it makes sense that customer service is moving into the DMs.

In 2023, we found that around one in five Gen Z, Millennial, and Gen X social media users had contacted a brand through DMs for customer service, and 76% of social media marketers reported their company already offers customer service on social.

Fast forward to 2024, and 87% of marketers say they will maintain or increase their investment in using social media DMs for customer service.

With so many consumers sliding into business' DMs for customer support, customer service professionals could become overwhelmed. This will likely prompt many businesses to turn to AI to lighten their load.

Almost a quarter of marketers in our most recent survey (24%) say AI tools like chatbots would help customer service professionals respond to tickets and inquiries.

So, naturally, 88% of marketers plan to boost or maintain their investment in AI, including tools such as chatbots.

3. AI-generated Social Media Posts

The use of AI isn't going to stop at just customer service in 2024 — marketers will leverage AI to help them create engaging social media content, according to our survey.

51% of marketers say generative AI is most helpful in creating social media posts, and 58% say that's what they use generative AI for. And just a few scrolls online prove their statements.

I was shocked and pretty impressed with how big of a role AI played in huge marketing campaigns like Nicki Minaj‘s rollout for her most recent album, Pink Friday 2.

Fans gathered from all over the internet to use generative AI to create Gag City , a fictional utopia made in the rapper’s honor to show fans excitement about the project.

Pretty soon, Nicki Minaj began using her own AI-generated images to promote singles and events for the album.

          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Barbie (@nickiminaj)

And Nicki Minaj isn‘t the only one. If you go on apps like TikTok, you’ll see tons of users using AI to generate viral content. Some users narrate their videos with AI-generated voices or use AI images to ask questions.

TikTok is placing itself at the forefront of the trend by making tools like its Creative Assistant available to users.

So in 2024, consider leveraging AI for social media posts — because your competition likely will. Just make sure to do so ethically and responsibly .

4. Brands continue to swap out celebrities for micro-influencers.

Influencers are becoming the new celebrity endorsements in 2024 as brands and businesses continue to tap into social media personalities to promote their products and services.

Our survey shows that almost a quarter (23%) of marketers currently leverage influencer marketing, and 87% of those marketers plan to maintain or boost their influencer marketing investments.

If you‘re a marketer or an influencer, you may think influencers with massive following are who brands are flocking to for promotions. However, our survey shows that isn’t the case.

64% of marketers have worked with micro-influencers (10,000 to 99,999 followers) in the last year, and 47% say they yielded the most success with micro-influencers—making them the most popular influencers among marketers.

Our survey shows macro-influencers with 100,000 to 999,999 followers are the second most popular.

44% of marketers say they've worked with macro-influencers in the last year. Even nano-influencers (less than 10,000 followers) are leveraged by 22% of marketers.

Only 17% of marketers leveraged celebrity or mega-influencers with more than 1 million followers last year.

Copy of Copy of Linkedin - 1104x736 - Horizontal Bar Graph - Dark

Compared to celebrities, working with small influencers is less expensive, makes it easier to establish long-term partnerships, and offers access to tight-knit, engaged, and loyal communities.

Regardless of how big or small the influencer is, influencer marketing is a highly effective marketing channel that drives consumer purchase decisions.

Our most recent consumer trends survey shows that 31% of social media users prefer to discover new products on social media through an influencer they follow over any other social format or channel.

This shoots up to 43% for Gen Z, making influencer marketing their preferred product discovery channel.

On top of that, 21% of social media users ages 18-54 have made a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation in the past 3 months. This also rises to 32% among Gen Z.

5. Content remains king in 2024.

Of course, with influencer marketing continuing to rise, it makes sense content marketing would continue to be a popular go-to for marketers. After all, while all influencers are content creators, not all creators are influencers.

But that's a distinction for another blog post .

Anyway, almost a third of marketers in our survey (29%) are leveraging content marketing, and a whopping 90% plan to maintain or boost their investment in the strategy in 2024.

However, content marketing comes with its hurdles. Most marketers in our survey say the biggest challenges they face in content marketing are creating highly engaging content and coming up with fresh ideas.

To combat that, some marketers will likely turn to AI to generate ideas, outlines, or copy. 46% said AI would help their business on that front. However, that doesn't mean the robots are taking over.

For many marketers, boosting their investments in content marketing means hiring people for specific roles.

According to our survey, three roles expected to be a top priority to recruit in 2024 are content creator, content strategist, and content marketing manager.

1. Brands will flock to Instagram for ROI and audience growth.

Instagram is leveraged by 55% of brands in our survey, coming in just behind Facebook at 57%.

The good news for Instagram marketers is the platform ties with Facebook in the top spot for ROI, with 29% of marketers listing both as yielding the highest ROI in the past year.

Furthermore, 43% plan to increase their investment in the platform in 2024, while another 46% will keep it the same.

If I were a betting person, I'd gamble that Instagram will likely continue seeing growth from marketers due to the growing trend of social media shopping.

The app placed itself at the forefront of the trend by enabling brands to set up Instagram storefronts and shops within the app.

Before moving on to trend #7, let's take a look at a few more social media platforms and see how they stack up against each other.

2. Facebook will keep growing, but TikTok is closing in.

Facebook might be the platform used by most social media marketers at 37%, but TikTok is slowly creeping up as 24% of marketers say the latter app yields the most ROI.

Facebook will also see significant growth in 2024, with 23% of social media marketers planning to invest more in it than any other platform, and 43% plan to increase their investment in Facebook, while 41% will continue investing the same amount.

3. More marketers are looking to TikTok.

44% of marketers say their companies leverage TikTok, placing it third behind Instagram and Facebook. This number also goes up from 36% last year.

Furthermore, almost a quarter of marketers (24%) say the platform yields the highest ROI, placing it right behind YouTube (26%).

TikTok‘s growing appeal to marketers concerns the platform’s relationship with Gen Z, the most prominent generation on the app.

Not only does Gen Z flock to the app, but they also make purchases from the platform (remember what I said about e-commerce?).

According to TikTok, 1 in 3 of its Gen Z users are interested in buying from TikTok Live, and 74% of Gen Z weekly TikTok users would seek more information about an advertised product after seeing the ad on TikTok.

4. YouTube Comes in 3rd for Usage & ROI but Will Continue Growing in 2024

As short-form videos continue to dominate (more on that later), marketers shouldn't count YouTube out. More than a quarter of the marketers in our survey say the platform yields the highest ROI.

Moreover, 88% of marketers say they will increase or maintain their investment in the platform in 2024.

Top Content Type Social Media Marketers Are Leaning Into in 2024

Short-form video continues its takeover.

Short-form video has the highest ROI compared to other marketing trends, according to our survey.

Short-form video will see the most growth in 2024 by far, with 67% of social media marketers planning to invest more in it than any other format.

53% of those using it also plan to increase their investment in 2024, while 38% will keep investing the same amount.

Social Media Challenges

1. creating engaging content..

One of the top challenges social media marketers face each year involves creating engaging content. So, it's no surprise that 18% of those we polled said it was their top hurdle.

And it makes sense. In social media, content drives engagement, traffic, and conversions that boost your business. However, social media, its trends, and what people want to see on each platform change daily. It's pretty tough to keep up.

2. Gaining and Keeping Followers.

18% of marketers also said gaining and keeping followers is another top social media marketing challenge they‘re facing. That’s not surprising, considering how much content consumers are flooded with on a daily basis.

So much content can make it hard for brands to stand out above the noise.

3. Turning engagements into leads.

Like all marketers, social media pros are always asking themselves, “How can my work benefit the bigger business?” And, one measurable way to justify business impact is by driving leads or conversions.

Yet, that‘s still pretty hard. After all, most social media scrollers don’t just want to leave their feed to become a lead or a customer and come right back.

To win them over, you‘ll have to create content that energizes them beyond the point of simply commenting or clicking a reaction emoji.

That’s why we absolutely aren't shocked that 18% of social media marketers list lead generation as one of their top challenges.

It's all about the money in 2024. According to our survey, the top goal for most marketers (23%) is increasing revenue and sales. Other goals include:

  • Improving the customer experience (19%))
  • Increasing brand awareness and reaching new audiences (19%)
  • Increasing engagement (18%)
  • Improving sales/marketing alignment (16%)
  • Integrating AI with their marketing strategy

The Top Social Media Marketing Metrics

How are social media marketers tracking success? Let’s see what metrics they’re looking at when posting organic and paid content.

  • 41% of marketers say sales is the most important metric to track
  • 32% say web traffic
  • 29% say social engagement
  • 27% say lead generation
  • 23% say on-site engagement

As a social media marketer, you likely want to be posting at the best times for peak engagement.

So, while we had our social media survey participants, we got their thoughts on the best times to post across social media platforms in the U.S. specifically.

  • Facebook: 9 AM to 12 AM
  • YouTube: 3 PM to 6 PM
  • Instagram: 12 PM to 6 PM
  • TikTok: 3 PM to 9 PM
  • X: 9 AM to 3 PM
  • LinkedIn: 9 AM to 3 PM

For tips on what other times to post or what to post during the times above, check out this social scheduling guide .

Social Media Predictions for 2024

Based on our findings (and being the Marketing Blog‘s social media expert), I predict more and more consumers will make purchases directly from their favorite brands’ social media platforms, like Instagram and TikTok.

I also predict it will continue to be the norm for consumers to message brands via social media with concerns and inquiries.

None of these predictions may seem surprising, but I do have one that could shock you. While I predict short-form videos will continue to dominate marketing, I do see more creators opting to make longer videos. Why?

Because TikTok is rolling out programs meant to prioritize videos longer than 60 seconds . While I don't see a resurgence in hours-long video essays, 2-3 minute videos could start springing up on the platform as creators seek revenue from TikTok's Creativity Program .

What’s Next for Social Media Marketing?

Ultimately, it’s up to you and your company to determine and plan your future success strategies! But our data and insights are always here to help.

To start building, refining, or researching more opportunities for your social media strategy:

  • Take our free social media certification course.
  • Visit our State of Social Media Hub page, where you'll find more data, videos, and exclusive expert insights.
  • Download the free report below for a saveable PDF with key data and insights.

Don't forget to share this post!

Related articles.

Why Social Shopping Could be the Future of E-Commerce [Top Trends & Data from 500+ Social Commerce Pros]

Why Social Shopping Could be the Future of E-Commerce [Top Trends & Data from 500+ Social Commerce Pros]

Consumers Spend 3+ Hours on Social Media Daily: What They're Doing on Each Platform [Data]

Consumers Spend 3+ Hours on Social Media Daily: What They're Doing on Each Platform [Data]

Why Consumers Still Hesitate to Shop on Social Media Platforms [New Data]

Why Consumers Still Hesitate to Shop on Social Media Platforms [New Data]

The Fastest Growing Social Media Platforms of 2023 [New Data]

The Fastest Growing Social Media Platforms of 2023 [New Data]

How to Generate Leads on Social Media

How to Generate Leads on Social Media

How to Make an Instagram Business Account

How to Make an Instagram Business Account

8 Data-Backed Recommendations for Social Media Marketers in 2023 [Insights from 1,000+ Professionals]

8 Data-Backed Recommendations for Social Media Marketers in 2023 [Insights from 1,000+ Professionals]

HubSpot's Social Media Team Gives 5 Tips for Bringing Your Brand on TikTok

HubSpot's Social Media Team Gives 5 Tips for Bringing Your Brand on TikTok

What is Twitter Spaces? [+Why Marketers Should Care]

What is Twitter Spaces? [+Why Marketers Should Care]

7 Dos and Don'ts of Attending or Hosting Twitter Spaces

7 Dos and Don'ts of Attending or Hosting Twitter Spaces

Explore the top trends in social media, along with opportunities, challenges, and new data to optimize social content.

Marketing software that helps you drive revenue, save time and resources, and measure and optimize your investments — all on one easy-to-use platform

Send us an email

8 ways to use social media for market research

Written by by Annette Chacko

Published on  May 30, 2023

Reading time  9 minutes

As marketers, it’s our job to know our target audience’s needs and preferences. It’s why we conduct market research every year to better understand what our customers want and uncover new business opportunities. But traditional market research is no longer enough now that consumer preferences and market dynamics can change overnight.

While focus groups and annual surveys are still useful touchpoints, they reveal little about current events or trending topics among consumers. Social media is overflowing with these in-the-moment insights—it’s market research on steroids. That’s why 93% of business leaders say social media data and insights will be their company’s primary source of business intelligence.

But this dynamic and rich data source hasn’t been fully harnessed. You need to use social media market research to uncover critical customer, competitor and industry insights to maintain an accurate pulse on your market while keeping costs low.

What is social media market research and why is it valuable?

Social media market research is the practice of gathering historical and real-time data from social media channels to improve your business. It gives you critical insights from qualitative data (comments and posts) and quantitative metrics (likes and shares).

While it can be done natively, intelligent tools driven by artificial intelligence, like Sprout, make the process of gathering social intelligence:

  • Cost-effective: It’s more affordable than traditional methods like surveys and focus groups that can cost thousands of dollars depending on the size and complexity of the research project.
  • Quick: Where traditional market research takes time, social media updates in real-time for immediate results, anytime you want.
  • Comprehensive: With over 4.76 billion social media users in 2023 , gather vast and diverse social listening data to analyze conversations and extract more accurate insights about your brand and the entire industry.

Sprout enables you to research different social platforms at the same time and analyze the information in one centralized platform to inform data-driven marketing strategies across the organization.

Screenshot of the Sprout Listening platform featuring an example of the competitor view

The benefits of using social media for market research

According to The Harris Poll data in The 2023 State of Social Media report, 90% of business leaders agree that their company’s success will depend on how effectively it can use social media data and insights to inform business strategy.

Social media market research is the tool that will enable you to harness the data that will transform every part of your business , including:

Becoming more customer-centric

Our report also revealed that 91% of business leaders said social insights had an impact on gaining a better understanding of their customers. The granular insight social media marketing research provides into your consumer base helps you develop customer-centric strategies that build stronger relationships, increase retention and improve your growth rate.

Managing brand reputation

Social media research gives you data-driven insights into how your target audience perceives your brand. That’s why 94% of business leaders look at social media insights to build and manage brand reputation.

Keeping ahead of competitors

Ninety-two percent of business leaders say social media insights help improve their brand’s competitive positioning. Social data taps into deep competitor insights , such as what people like about competing brands and how customers respond to them. All of which guide how you can differentiate yourself from the pack.

Predicting future trends and filling market gaps

Market research through social listening helps you know where consumers are going next, per 89% of business leaders, who said that social insights impacted how they predict future trends. Social media market research gives you a holistic view of the market so you can identify emerging trends and plan long-term and short-term growth campaigns. And so, enabling you to take advantage of market gap opportunities and expand your market share in a focused way.

Optimizing your business with less spend

Seventy-six percent of business leaders say that social media insights have positively impacted moving their businesses forward with reduced budgets. With close to five billion people on social media, it provides a cost-effective way to magnify your brand, engage with customers and reach out to new audiences. It helps brands personalize campaigns and customer care more precisely and at scale.

8 insights you can glean from social media market research

Social listening data is a valuable source of market intelligence. But with all that raw data at your disposal, it can be challenging to sift through the noise to capture what is truly important and can make a real impact on your business strategy.

Here are eight actionable insights you should pull from your social media market research and how to find them.

Graphic that lists the eight insights that can be extracted from social listening data covered in the article.

1. Audience intent to know what customers want

Social media market research gives you valuable insights into customer intent when they mention you or your competitors. Deep dive into social listening data to get to know your audience on a personal level, from how they feel about certain topics to what influences their purchase decisions.

How to find it: Build out your community management strategy using social networks. Also, leverage platforms like Reddit to know what your audience is talking about and respond to threads directly. Capabilities like Sprout’s social media engagement tool help you capture customer sentiment from social listening across networks and seamlessly adjust your social strategy accordingly, in one place.

Screenshot of the Sprout Listening platform featuring an example of the performance engagement measurement

2. How customers use your products and services

Social media chatter gives you an insider’s look into how your customers are using your product and services and what new opportunities are out there for you.

By researching their brand and products through social listening, Lodge Cast Iron learned how customers actually use their cookware. They discovered a new segment of customers, vegans, which led them to create more vegan recipes to better engage with them and their interests.

How to find: Search for your brand and the name of your product on social platforms like Twitter or Instagram to learn how customers actually use your goods and services. Sites like Reddit are also great to tap into customer feedback, including conversations and communities relevant to your brand or products. With a tool like Sprout Social, you can easily monitor all this data including branded keywords and phrases to stay up to date with what customers have to say.

3. What existing customers like and dislike about your brand

Social media listening tools help you understand what people like and dislike about your product and services. In fact, business leaders surveyed by The Harris Poll said that 42% of their company’s product development is influenced by social media data insights.

Customer comments are often not as simple as “I like [brand]” or “I don’t like [brand]”. Some are indirect, don’t tag your handle or misspell your brand name. Analyze all comments through sentiment analysis with a smart social media intelligence platform like Sprout to get a clear idea of what customers expect from you and distinct insights on how to address them.

Screenshot of the Sprout Listening platform featuring an example of the customer sentiment summary on an example topic

How to find: There are several ways you can find feedback about your brand. Search for branded keywords and phrases organically on social, or peruse the reviews section on platforms like Facebook, TripAdvisor and Google. Beyond these searches, your inbox is a great space to find customer feedback. It’s also a good idea to reach out to sales or customer service teams who hear directly from customers about their likes and dislikes.

4. Competitor intelligence to know where you stand

Insights from social media market research guide your competitor strategy for both short-term and long-term campaigns. In fact, 92% of marketers in The 2023 State of Social Media report say that social insights play a role in improving their brand’s competitive positioning.

Understand your competitors’ content and ad strategy, track how the market responds to them and know where you are in terms of audience segmentation.

How to find: Identify your competitors and monitor their social presence across their different social channels. With Sprout Social, you can set up a competitive analysis report across various social networks including review websites, like Google My Business, to track competitor benchmarks and understand your customers’ attitudes toward the competition.

Screenshot of Sprout's Listening tool, featuring the competitive analysis view

5. What customers expect from you in the future

Consumers frequently take to social to share what they want from brands in the future. A brand may receive a request for a future store location or a coffee company might see comments asking for a specific roast or drink to come back on the menu. At Sprout, we often field Tweets from customers with new feature requests that we pass along to our product team for consideration down the road.

Screenshot of a customer expressing what they want from Sprout on Twitter

Another way to solicit feedback about what customers want from your brand is to simply ask. You’d be surprised how many people respond with their thoughts and ideas to a question published on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

How to find: One place to find this information is right in your inbox. With Sprout’s tagging capabilities , you can label and sort messages by type as they come through, making it easy to pass along product requests to the appropriate teams.

6. Trends your audience is interested in

Be attentive to market drivers and use them to catapult your brand strategy. Take how Netflix used the nostalgia marketing trend for their popular TV show, Stranger Things. The show capitalized on people’s fond memories of days past while using children as the main protagonists to cover a wide age segment.

To harness trends successfully, it’s important to map out your business objectives, data analysis plans and baseline metrics before you start scrolling for inspiration.

How to find: Explore social media networks and other tools like Google Trends to keep a pulse on what’s hot. Also, use Sprout’s listening tool to identify trends and topics in your industry and among customers through keywords. Uncover keywords and terms most used by your target audience and discover related topics frequently mentioned with any terms you’re currently tracking.

7. What content resonates with your audience

With millions of posts published on social daily, you need to be strategic to capture your audience’s attention. Take stock of your existing content to see what themes or content formats fuel your performance goals.

If in-feed video gets you more impressions than text posts, consider investing more in video production. If your goal is to drive conversations, refer to posts with high engagement (likes, comments or shares). And don’t be afraid to ask your audience directly what topics or social content they want to see from you.

How to find: Sprout’s Post Performance Report helps you break down the types of content you’ve published and identify which performed the best. For more granular insights, sort the data by impressions, engagement and clicks to determine what formats and themes are most effective on specific networks.

Screenshot of Sprout's cross channel analytics

8. Find who to partner with

Social media market research helps you find the right influencers or content creators to collaborate with. Insights can tell you if they match your brand values, have similar audience types and create content that consistently engages. Your co-creators can also play a key role in product development to expand your reach.

For example, Target offered influencer Tabitha Brown a first-of-its-kind deal following her first year working with the retailer. Their exclusive Tabitha Brown collections include clothing, swimwear, accessories, home and office products, food and kitchenware.

Screenshot of a TikTok video showing Tabitha Brown's vegan products in Target

How to find: Monitor collaborations to see how their content is performing and get insights to make tweaks to remain aligned with goals. Also, track your lead conversions and see if you are getting enough return on investment (ROI).

How to share social media market research findings org-wide

Social insights provide rich insights that benefit the whole org including product teams, customer care, sales and support.

To share your findings with these various teams, your data needs to present a holistic narrative and connect your data to company goals to highlight its true impact, without being complicated. This type of strategic data storytelling requires effective visualization elements like charts, graphs and word clouds that synthesize the data alongside other business intelligence. This enables all stakeholders to understand the larger picture, with insights from every key business channel.

Sprout creates presentation-ready charts and graphs that break down customer, competitor and industry insights from across social networks. Also, combine these insights with your Tableau data for a more comprehensive omnichannel view.

Screenshot of Sprout’s Reporting feature showing a comparative graph of competitor performance on Facebook

With these combined insights you can:

  • Track social KPIs org-wide and measure against benchmarks.
  • Share crucial product experience insights with the product development teams.
  • Inform marketing teams of any negative brand buzz.
  • Collaborate with the broader marketing teams to refine messaging and content marketing strategies.

Better research starts with social

When brands demonstrate they understand their customers’ wants and needs, they stand to strengthen their bottom line and develop customers for life. Thanks to social media market research, brands have access to fast and reliable insights that deepen their understanding of what their customers want and expect. From identifying new opportunities to improving customer relationships, data from social empowers you to make smarter decisions that contribute to your business goals.

Ready to turn your social data into valuable insights about your industry and customers? Download this worksheet to learn how to conduct quick and valuable market research in under 90 minutes.

  • Social Media Analytics

The social media metrics to track in 2024 (and why)

The journey of a data point: Turning numbers into social media intelligence

How to use LinkedIn hashtag analytics to boost content reach

  • Social Media Engagement

Reach vs. impressions: What’s the difference in terms?

  • Now on slide

Build and grow stronger relationships on social

Sprout Social helps you understand and reach your audience, engage your community and measure performance with the only all-in-one social media management platform built for connection.

Social Media Trends Report + Expert Panel

Social-trends-mock

Brands that move quickly and seize opportunities are seeing big payoffs.

Whether it’s using AI tools to create better content, jumping on trends that are a good brand-fit, or optimizing brand channels for social commerce, social marketers are more agile than ever in their efforts to increase ROI.  Dive into the top trends social media marketers are seeing in 2024 as they work to maximize social engagement, brand loyalty, and sales.

Today’s consumers want to support brands who get them, their passions, and who they can connect with and believe in.

Bryna Corcoran

Director of Global Brand Social Media

HubSpot-logo-color

AI Content Creation

AI-powered content performs better

AI tools have quickly become integral to the marketers’ toolbelt, helping them work smarter and find more time for creativity. Marketers who say their social media strategy was effective in 2023 are 185% more likely to use generative AI tools to create social media content.

of social media marketers use AI tools.

of marketers using GenAI to create content said it performed better than content made without AI.

of social media marketers say using AI tools will be crucial to a successful social media strategy in 2024.

Building an online community isn’t the same as just posting on social media. The expectation for social media marketers in 2024 is to become much more involved, meaning less posting just to appear ‘active on socials,’ and more meaningful, reciprocal, community-focused interactions.

mention-logo-png-transparent-Jun-22-2022-12-45-03-71-PM

Community Building

Communities are a must-have

Top benefits of building a social media community.

Insights from Industry Leaders

On-Demand Social Trends Webinar

HubSpot sat down with five social media and digital marketing experts to get their take on the top social trends for 2024. See what they had to say in this expert panel.

Chi Thukral

Social Media at HubSpot, Forbes 30 Under 30

Chris Savage

CEO and co-founder of Wistia

Jon Youshaei

YouTuber and former YouTube and Instagram employee

Ross Simmonds

Founder of Foundation Marketing, specializing in B2B content marketing

Scott D. Clary

Founder of The Social Club and Host of Success Story Podcast

Relatable doesn't always mean that you have to have a vanilla point of view. So I think you can be provocative. I think you can have a spiky opinion. You don't have to play it safe all the time.

Founder & CEO of The Social Club

Panel Participant

Social Media Shopping

Social is the new home of e-commerce

of social media marketers use social media to sell products directly within social media apps.

of social media users bought a product directly within social media apps in the past three months.

of social media marketers say they have an employee responsible for managing social commerce.

The brand research and product discovery process is now closely linked to influencer reviews, brand videos, and which product is the most searchable and easiest to buy.

Social Vs. Search Engines

Social beats traditional search for consumers

of social media marketers say social search is important to their overall social media marketing strategy.

of consumers use AI chatbots to search for answers online.

of consumers prefer to use social media to find answers to what they’re looking for.

2024 Social Media Trends Report

Gain insights into the top social trends of the year, gathered from over 1,500 global marketers.

globalsocialtrendscover

About Our Partner

mention-logo-png-transparent-Jun-22-2022-12-45-03-71-PM

HubSpot uses the information you provide to us to contact you about our relevant content, products, and services. HubSpot will share the information you provide to us with the following partners, who will use your information for similar purposes: Litmus, Rock Content, Search Engine Journal. You can unsubscribe from communications from HubSpot at any time. For more information, check out HubSpot's Privacy Policy . To unsubscribe from Litmus's communications, see Litmus's Privacy Policy . To unsubscribe from Rock Content's communications, see Rock Content's Privacy Policy . To unsubscribe from Search Engine Journal's communications, see Search Engine Journal's Privacy Policy .

Download Now

All fields are required.

Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Read our research on:

Full Topic List

Regions & Countries

  • Publications
  • Our Methods
  • Short Reads
  • Tools & Resources

Read Our Research On:

Americans’ Views of Technology Companies

Most think social media companies have too much influence in politics and censor political viewpoints they object to – both sentiments are growing among democrats, table of contents.

  • Social media’s impact on politics and the country
  • Political censorship and bias in Big Tech
  • Government regulation of technology companies
  • Acknowledgments
  • Methodology

Pew Research Center conducted this study to understand Americans’ attitudes toward technology companies. For this analysis, we surveyed 10,133 U.S. adults from Feb. 7 to 11, 2024.

Everyone who took part in the survey is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way, nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology .

Here are the questions used for this report , along with responses, and the survey methodology .

Most Americans are wary of social media’s role in politics and its overall impact on the country, and these concerns are ticking up among Democrats, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults. Still, Republicans stand out on several measures, with majorities believing major technology companies are biased toward liberals.

Our survey asked Americans about three key areas: Social media’s impact on politics and the country | Political censorship and bias in Big Tech | Government regulation of technology companies

A line chart showing that Democrats increasingly say social media companies have too much power and influence in today’s politics

Since 2020, more Americans – particularly Democrats – believe social media companies wield too much political power. Roughly eight-in-ten Americans (78%) say these companies have too much power and influence in politics today, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 10,133 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 7-11, 2024. This is up from 72% in 2020.

Another 16% say these sites have the right amount of political influence, while only 4% think they don’t have enough power.

Views by party

Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party (84%) are more likely than Democrats and Democratic leaners (74%) to think these companies have too much political power. And while Republicans’ opinions have changed little since 2020, this view has grown more common among Democrats over the past four years: 74% of Democrats believe social media companies have too much power and influence in politics, up from 63% in 2020.

What impact does social media have on the country?

A line chart showing that Democrats’ views of social media’s impact on the U.S. have grown more negative since 2020, but negative views are still more widespread among the GOP

Americans are far more likely to say social media has a negative rather than positive impact on the country. Roughly two-thirds (64%) think social media has a mostly negative effect on the way things are going in the country today.

Only 10% describe social media as having a mostly positive impact on the country. And about a quarter say these sites have neither a positive nor a negative effect.

These overall figures are nearly identical to what the Center found in 2020 . For instance, the share of Americans who see social media’s impact on the country as mostly negative has remained at 64%.

Majorities in both political parties see social media’s impact on the country negatively, though Republicans remain more wary than Democrats (71% vs. 59%). That said, a growing number of Democrats believe these platforms have a mostly bad impact on the country, rising to 59% in our current survey, up from 53% in 2020.

By comparison, the share of Republicans who say social media negatively affects the way things are going in the country has dropped from 78% in 2020 to 71% today.

As social media has become a key way people share news and information, some lawmakers and commentators – especially conservatives – have expressed concerns that these companies are politically biased and limit free speech .

Our survey finds that most Americans think social media sites actively censor political viewpoints they disagree with. Roughly eight-in-ten U.S. adults (83%) say it’s very or somewhat likely that these platforms intentionally censor political viewpoints they find objectionable, up from 77% in 2022. Just 17% in the current survey think this is not likely the case.

Bar charts showing that Republicans widely believe social media sites are likely censoring political views that they object to, but growing shares of Democrats also think this

Majorities in both parties believe political censorship is likely occurring on social media, but more Republicans hold this view. Fully 93% of Republicans say it’s likely that social media sites intentionally censor political viewpoints that they find objectionable, including 66% who say that this is very likely happening.

By comparison, 74% of Democrats think this is likely occurring, with 25% saying there’s a strong possibility this is occurring.

Republicans’ views have held steady since 2022. But the share of Democrats who think it’s likely that social media sites intentionally censor political viewpoints they object to is rising – 74% say this today, up from 66% two years ago.

Do major technology companies have liberal or conservative biases?

Overall, Americans are more likely to think Big Tech companies support the views of liberals over conservatives than the other way around. More than four-in-ten U.S. adults (44%) think major technology companies support the views of liberals over conservatives. Far fewer – 15% – say these companies support conservative views over liberal ones. Still, a notable share (37%) thinks this industry equally values conservative and liberal viewpoints.

Line charts showing that Most Republicans think major tech companies support the views of liberals over conservatives

Republicans widely believe that major tech companies have a pro-liberal bias. Fully 71% of Republicans say major technology companies support the views of liberals over conservatives. Much smaller shares believe these companies support the views of liberals and conservatives equally (22%) or favor conservative beliefs over liberal ones (6%).

By contrast, the most commonly held view among Democrats is that technology companies support the views of conservatives and liberals equally, with 50% saying this. Roughly a quarter of Democrats either say that these companies favor the views of conservatives over liberals (25%) or liberals over conservatives (22%).

While there’s been little change in views since 2022, there are some differences when comparing today’s views to those in 2018, when we first started asking these questions.

Over the past six years, a rising share of Republicans say major tech companies favor liberal over conservative views (71% today vs. 64% in 2018), while more Democrats today than in the past think these companies support conservative views more than liberal ones (25% today vs. 16% in 2018).

Amid concerns over free speech, social media’s impact on youth and AI’s impending foothold , lawmakers and advocates on both sides of the political aisle have pushed for more government oversight of the tech industry.

But there’s a long-running debate about what role the government should play in regulating Big Tech. We wanted to know where Americans stand, how views have changed over time, and whether opinions vary by party.

A line chart showing that About half of Americans support more government regulation of major tech companies

Americans favor more rather than less regulation of Big Tech companies. When asked whether the government should regulate major technology companies more, less or at its current level, 51% believe these companies should be regulated more than they are now. Far fewer – 16% – feel they should be regulated less than they are now.

Still, 31% say their current level of regulation should stay the same.

Support for more government regulation of technology companies is identical to what it was in 2018. Support for more regulation has risen and fallen somewhat over the past six years, ranging from 44% in 2022 to 56% in 2021. The share of Americans who think these companies should be regulated more than they are now is identical to what the Center found in 2018, when we first asked the question. At the same time, the share who say there should be less regulation has increased from 9% in 2018 to 16% today.

A line chart showing that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say major tech companies should be regulated more

Democrats are more supportive of increased government oversight of tech companies than are Republicans. Six-in-ten Democrats say the government should regulate major technology companies more than it is now, compared with 45% of Republicans.

The partisan gap between Democrats and Republicans is similar to that in 2022. But these differences have not always been large. For instance, similar shares of Republicans (48%) and Democrats (46%) favored more regulation of technology companies back in 2020.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Fresh data delivery Saturday mornings

Sign up for The Briefing

Weekly updates on the world of news & information

  • Free Speech & Press
  • Tech Companies
  • Technology Policy Issues

From Businesses and Banks to Colleges and Churches: Americans’ Views of U.S. Institutions

How americans view data privacy, anti-corporate sentiment in u.s. is now widespread in both parties, key facts about parler, the role of alternative social media in the news and information environment, most popular, report materials.

1615 L St. NW, Suite 800 Washington, DC 20036 USA (+1) 202-419-4300 | Main (+1) 202-857-8562 | Fax (+1) 202-419-4372 |  Media Inquiries

Research Topics

  • Age & Generations
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Economy & Work
  • Family & Relationships
  • Gender & LGBTQ
  • Immigration & Migration
  • International Affairs
  • Internet & Technology
  • Methodological Research
  • News Habits & Media
  • Non-U.S. Governments
  • Other Topics
  • Politics & Policy
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Email Newsletters

ABOUT PEW RESEARCH CENTER  Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of  The Pew Charitable Trusts .

Copyright 2024 Pew Research Center

Terms & Conditions

Privacy Policy

Cookie Settings

Reprints, Permissions & Use Policy

  • Retail Enhance customer engagement
  • Consumer Packaged Goods Connect directly with consumers
  • Media & Entertainment Create interactive experiences
  • Tech Software & Hardware Improve product education
  • Hospitality Streamline guest services
  • Healthcare Simplify patient communication
  • Insurance Enhance claims management
  • Developers API documentation and resources
  • Apps and Integrations Connect Bitly with existing tools and discover new ones
  • Blog Tips, best practices and more
  • Resource Library Ebooks and webinars
  • Support FAQs and help articles
  • Trust Center Policies, resources and tools to keep you safe
  • Sign up Free
  • Get a Quote
  • Digital Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Latest Articles

Apr. 28, 2024

What Are the Latest Social Media Trends to Follow in 2024?

Illustrated graph chart for social media growth

Social media platforms are an invaluable tool for marketers, helping them build brand awareness and connect directly with customers. 

But the dynamic nature of social media means that trends are constantly changing and evolving. From new social media holidays to current consumer preferences, marketers need to stay on the pulse of social media and technology to create successful campaigns. 

Here’s a look at the hottest social media trends and innovations to keep an eye on this year.

In this article:

– Emerging social platforms to know – How tech is impacting social media platforms – Dominant content trends in social media to know – Updates in user behavior, expectations, and social e-commerce – How Bitly can boost your marketing strategies in 2024

Emerging social platforms to know

Social media platforms ebb and flow in popularity as consumer preferences change. Staying up-to-date with the latest emerging platforms is a must if you want to stay ahead of your competition.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen TikTok explode in popularity, and short-form video certainly isn’t going away anytime soon. However, TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, have been exploring new social media platforms that focus on still photos.

In 2023, ByteDance launched Lemon8 in Western markets. Like Instagram and Pinterest, the Lemon8 app allows users to share and edit photos. However, this app hasn’t generated much traction yet.

More recently, TikTok launched a companion app called TikTok Notes, which is also designed as a competitor to Instagram. Notes will focus entirely on still photo and text posts, with no video features. Right now, TikTok Notes is only available in Australia and Canada, but it will likely expand into other countries if initial tests are successful.

Additionally, many brands are working to develop an alternative to Twitter. Elon Musk purchased Twitter in late 2022, rebranding it as X and removing many popular features from the original platform.

So far, Bluesky has been the most successful Twitter alternative to hit the market. As of April 2024, the app has over 5.5 million users and is on a steady growth trajectory. 

Instagram also launched Threads as a Twitter alternative. Since Threads is part of the Meta ecosystem, it already has a large user base, but it hasn’t received as much buzz as Bluesky so far.

While not a social media site in the traditional sense, Substack is another social platform that should be on your radar. Substack lets users create paid email newsletters, post long-form written and video content, and even develop their own podcasts. 

Substack’s user base has exploded recently, going from 1 million users in 2021 to more than 3 million in early 2024 .

Boost your marketing game with Bitly!

Get started with custom short links, QR Codes, and Bitly Link-in-bios.

How tech is impacting social media platforms

New technological innovations can also have a big impact on the social media landscape. Right now, the rise of accessible generative AI tools has completely changed the way people create social media posts.

Generative AI can help with the more tedious aspects of writing captions and making graphics, allowing brands to generate content more quickly. However, most AI-generated posts still need a human touch before they go live, as they tend to be very generic on their own.

Virtual reality and augmented reality are also technologies to watch in years to come. As headsets like the Meta Quest and Apple Vision Pro become more mainstream, social media users could theoretically create highly immersive VR and AR content.

Dominant content trends in social media to know

It’s an exciting time for social media, with so many innovative trends taking shape. Here are some of the top social media marketing trends to keep an eye on this year.

The ongoing surge of short-form video

Short-form video has been the biggest social media trend of the past few years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. TikTok popularized this format, but Instagram and YouTube have jumped on the bandwagon with Reels and YouTube Shorts.

The popularity of short-form videos has changed the way that brands build social strategies. Rather than focusing on static posts for Instagram or Facebook, many brands are shifting their strategies and budgets and investing in sophisticated short-form videos.

The most successful short-form videos grab the viewer’s attention immediately with an engaging hook. You don’t need to be a professional videographer to make good short-form video content—all you need is a smartphone, some editing savvy, and an exciting concept.

Interactive and engaging content

Another social and content marketing trend to watch is the shift toward interactive content. This type of content encourages followers to participate in the conversation, rather than just reading passively.

Quizzes and polls are popular forms of interactive content. Social media marketers often use these strategies on Instagram Stories to generate responses. 

Live streams are another trending social media strategy for interactive content. Through a live stream, you can answer your followers’ questions in real time and show off exciting new products. 

There are many free social media management tools you can use to plan your interactive posts ahead of time.

Personalization through AI

Many social media platforms have launched AI-driven algorithms to provide more personalized content to users. These algorithms take user behavioral data and use it to create an individualized feed of content based on the user’s interests. AI-powered algorithms also show users relevant ads based on their interests.

Personalized content creates a better, more engaging experience for social media users. It also increases engagement levels across the entire platform, as everyone sees content that is relevant to their interests. This also means that brands will need to clearly define their target audience to succeed with this algorithm.

Authenticity and user-generated content

Authentic, relatable content is key to success on social media, particularly if you want to appeal to a younger audience. Gen Z and millennials tend to prefer authenticity over sales-y content when browsing social media. 

In fact, in one survey, 92% of Gen Z respondents indicated that authenticity was extremely or very important to them , making it one of the most crucial values for this generation.

One way that brands can create more authentic content is by working with influencers to create branded user-generated content (UGC). These partnerships expand your brand’s reach on social media in a natural, authentic way. 

Since many people trust content from other users more than content from brands, UGC influencer marketing campaigns can be very impactful.

Visual and immersive experiences

Since social media platforms are highly visual, it’s important to provide visually rich and immersive experiences for your followers. Fortunately, you no longer need pro equipment to shoot high-quality photos and videos—you can get excellent shots just by using your smartphone.

When it comes to creating an immersive experience, it’s all in the details. For example, a high-quality soundtrack, stylized graphics, and a well-written caption can all contribute to an immersive video post. 

If you want to take it a step further, AR and VR can help you create an unparalleled immersive experience. You can start small by adding interactive elements to your photos and videos, like animations and special effects. In fact, Meta’s social media platforms offer built-in AR features that you can add to your posts.

Updates in user behavior, expectations, and social e-commerce

As social media evolves, user expectations change to match it. Social marketers will need to understand these expectations and behaviors to create social media posts that resonate. Here are some of the ways that user behaviors are shifting.

Shifts in user engagement patterns

When Facebook first came on the scene, users primarily engaged with social media on their computers. As technology has evolved, many people have shifted away from desktop and laptop computers, choosing to rely on their mobile devices for internet access instead. In fact, 15% of American adults now use the internet only on their smartphones .

Social media channels have adjusted to this change by prioritizing mobile apps rather than desktop sites. So, to make an impact, social media content needs to be entirely mobile-friendly.

Rising expectations for brand interactions

Social media users also hold brands to very high standards when it comes to interactions. They expect brands to respond quickly to messages and comments, especially when they have a problem that needs to be addressed. 

Additionally, many users expect fully personalized responses when interacting with a brand, rather than a generic message that the company sends out to everyone.

The growth of social commerce

An increasing number of social media users rely on these platforms to shop and find new products. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok have launched new features that allow social media users to browse products and make purchases directly in the app.

Whatnot is also a popular social commerce platform that’s gaining traction. Whatnot combines the concept of online auctions with live streaming, allowing users to buy products from their favorite influencers. The rise of social commerce allows brands to turn social engagement into online sales.

The influence of augmented reality in shopping

Many social media platforms are implementing AR features, which you can use to create interactive experiences with your products. 

For example, makeup companies could use AR to create a virtual try-on experience. Furniture companies could also use this technology, allowing followers to visualize pieces in their own space.

How Bitly can boost your marketing strategies in 2024

With branded short links, custom QR Codes, and detailed analytics, Bitly has the tools you need to enhance your social media marketing strategy this year— and here’s how.

Providing data-driven insights for personalized marketing and influencer strategy

Bitly Analytics gives you a better understanding of your audience’s behavior. Bitly links don’t simply track the source site—they show which campaigns, keywords, and messages resonate with your customer segments. 

For example, when you’re launching an influencer marketing campaign, you can give each influencer their own branded short link. Then, you can track the performance of each affiliate link to determine which content creators generated the best results.

Enhancing content engagement across formats

Bitly can help you optimize all your content formats, whether you’re making short videos or telling an interactive story. 

When you integrate short, branded Bitly links into your content, you make it easy for users to navigate from your social media content to your website. These branded short links increase brand awareness and recognition, which can help generate more engagement across your entire digital marketing campaign.

Bridging the digital and physical worlds through QR Codes

QR Codes serve as a portal between your physical marketing strategies and your online content. Your customers can scan Bitly QR Codes to go straight to your website or social media profiles. 

They’re easy to place anywhere your brand has an offline presence, from posters to print ads to signs in brick-and-mortar stores. Bitly QR Codes are also fully customizable, so you can choose colors and design options that match your existing branding.

Streamlining content strategy with analytics

Bitly Analytics can also help you learn how to measure engagement on social media . You’ll get detailed information about who’s tapping on your links and scanning your QR Codes, where they’re engaging from, and what type of device they’re using. This information can help you track what content gets the most interactions, helping identify which strategies are most effective.

Boosting visibility through targeted campaigns

Targeted social media campaigns help you reach your audience more efficiently by using relevant hashtags and focusing on your target demographics. With Bitly, you can create a unique short link and QR Code for each social media campaign you launch. Then, using Bitly Campaigns , you can track the performance of every campaign in real time.

Build a stronger social media strategy with Bitly’s tools

There are so many exciting trends happening in the social media industry right now, from short-form video mania to VR technology to generative AI content. Adopting these trends now will help you stay on the cutting edge of social media and set you apart from your competitors. 

But to really capitalize on these trends, you need Bitly. With Bitly, you can track user engagement and performance across your social media campaigns and use the insights you gather to continuously refine your strategy. 

Get started with Bitly today to make the most of the latest social media trends!

About Bitly

Bitly is a leading global SaaS company offering a comprehensive platform designed to enable every piece of information shared online to connect with key audiences and ignite action.

Learn more about Bitly

Sign up for our newsletter

Get our most popular content sent straight to your inbox from the team behind the scenes.

Thanks for confirming your email.

Khoros AI and automation delivers unmatched efficiency for marketing and service excellence. Read more

AI & Automation

AI for every conversation, campaign, and customer

Khoros Communities

Self-service support, education, and collaboration

Khoros Service

Agent efficiency, automation, and operational insights

Khoros Social Media Management

Content management, publishing, and governance

Strategic Services

Our in-house experts in social media and community management for Khoros customers

Professional services

More than onboarding and implementation, this is where our partnership begins

Product coaching

Increase satisfaction and improve product adoption with complimentary training.

Upcoming events

Join us for webinars and in-person events

Insights, tips, news, and more from our team to yours

Customer stories

Case studies with successful customers to see how they did it

Resource Center

Guides, tipsheets, ebooks, on-demand webinars, & more

Integrations

Integrations to connect with your customers, wherever they are

Tech integrations

Developer information

Technical overviews and links to developer documentation

  • Join our community

EXPERT INSIGHTS

Apr-19-2024

The 2024 social media demographics guide

Khoros Staff

Editor's Note: This post was originally created in 2018 and has since been updated to reflect the latest data available.

According to Statista , 61.4% of the world’s population — a whopping 4.95 billion people — use social media.

That’s a lot of social media demographic research to sort through when you want to zero in on understanding audience characteristics of specific platforms — and we know the last thing a social media marketer has is time to spare. That’s why we’ve done all the heavy lifting for you.

Our updated 2024 Social Media Demographics Guide surfaces the demographic data you need to inform a smart strategy, like age, gender, and income — plus device usage and site behavior.

View the 2024 Social Media Demographics Guide to discover more about what makes the audiences of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok unique or bookmark it now to reference anytime.

Social media pocket guide

General social media demographics

Before we jump into platform-specific demographics, let’s cover some high-level insights about social media in general.

Social media usage over time

There are currently 4.95 billion social media users and 5.3 billion total internet users, meaning 93.4% of people who use the internet also use social media. What’s more astounding is the rate that social media usage has grown and is expected to continue growing. The number of social media users has grown by 79.1% since 2017 , when there were only 2.73 billion social media users. By the end of 2024, Statista predicts there will be 5.17 billion social media users which would be 5.7% growth compared to 2023. By 2027, the number of social media users is expected to reach 5.85 billion, with an annual growth rate between 3.7-5.7% each year until then.

social media demographics guide 1

(Source: Statista )

Social media usage by age

According to new data from eMarketer , most U.S. social media users are between the ages of 27 and 42 and fall under the Millennial generation. With 68.5 million Millennials using social media in the U.S., this group accounts for nearly one-third (30.3%) of all U.S. social media users. The next closest age group by usage is Gen Z (ages 11-26), with 56.4 million social media users, followed by Gen X (ages 43-58), with 51.8 million users. Baby Boomers between the ages of 59 and 77 are the age group with the lowest social media usage, with only 36.9 million users.

Social media demographics guide 2

(Source: Oberlo )

Although Millennials are the age group that uses social media the most, eMarketer predicts their usage will remain relatively flat through 2027, while the number of Gen Z users is expected to grow significantly. The data also suggests that the number of Gen X and Baby Boomers who use social media will decrease over time.

Social media demographics guide 3

(Source: eMarketer )

Daily time on social media

On average, people spend 2 hours and 24 minutes on social media each day. Combined, it’s estimated that users will have spent 4 trillion hours on social media in 2023. Not all social media platforms are equally engaging, as Statista found people spent more time on TikTok than anywhere else. On average, social media users in the U.S. spent 53.8 minutes on TikTok, with the next closest being YouTube at 48.7 minutes per day. After that, there was a steep drop off to 34.1 minutes for Twitter/X and other platforms before reaching last place, Reddit at only 24.1 minutes per day.

Social media demographics guide 4

Despite TikTok having the most time on average per day, DataReportal found that YouTube has the highest average session duration at 7 minutes and 29 seconds. This could be because users are watching longer-form content on YouTube compared to the shorter content that TikTok is known for.

Social media demographics guide 5

(Source: DataReportal via Exploding Topics )

Facebook demographics

Given that Facebook is the number one platform for adults , understanding its audience is crucial for devising the social media strategy for your business.

2024 Facebook demographics data

Active monthly users

Facebook has 3.03 billion active monthly users

Active daily users

Facebook has 2.085 billion daily active users

4.6% of Facebook’s users are between the ages of 13-17

22.6% of Facebook’s users are between the ages of 18-24

29.4% of Facebook’s users are between the ages of 25-34

19.1% of Facebook’s users are between the ages of 35-44

11.4% of Facebook’s users are between the ages of 45-54

7.2% of Facebook’s users are between the ages of 55-64

5.7% of Facebook’s users are 65+

43.7% of Facebook users are female

56.3% of Facebook users are male

On average, U.S. Facebook users spend 30.9 minutes a day on the platform

98.5% of users access Facebook via mobile devices

81.8% of users access Facebook via mobile devices only

16.7% of users access Facebook via mobile devices and computers

1.5% of users access Facebook via laptop or desktop only

Businesses and shopping

19% of U.S. users search for products on Facebook before shopping

The global advertising audience of Facebook is 2.249 billion

90% of social media marketers use Facebook to promote their business.

Most followed accounts

Cristiano Ronaldo: 163 million followers

Mr. Bean: 136 million followers

Shakira: 122 million followers

Instagram demographics

Instagram is the Meta-owned photo and video sharing app that continues to grow its user base, with 2 billion people using Instagram every month (up from 800 million in 2018).

2024 Instagram demographics data

Instagram has 2 billion monthly active users

Instagram has 500 million daily active users

8% of Instagram’s users are between the ages of 13-17

30.8% of Instagram’s users are between the ages of 18-24

30.3% of Instagram’s users are between the ages of 25-34

15.7% of Instagram’s users are between the ages of 35-44

8.4% of Instagram’s users are between the ages of 45-54

4.3% of Instagram’s users are between the ages of 55-64

2.6% of Instagram’s users are 65+

48.2% of Instagram users are female

51.8% of Instagram users are male

On average, U.S. Instagram users spend 33.1 minutes per day on the platform

90% of Instagram users follow a business

2 out of 3 people say Instagram enables interaction with brands

83% of Instagram users say they discover new products and services on Instagram

Cristiano Ronaldo: 613 million followers

Lionel Messi: 494 million followers

Selena Gomez: 429 million followers

Pinterest demographics

Pinterest is a visual search engine that pioneered online shopping through social media. On Pinterest, people are 90% more likely to say they’re ‘always shopping’ than on other platforms. Additionally, shoppers on Pinterest spend 80% more monthly than on other platforms. Why? Pinterest claims it’s because they take the best of shopping offline and bring it online, with strong visual connections between products and what users can do with those products. There’s a lot marketers can learn from the platform, but it all starts with gaining a better understanding of the audience.

2024 Pinterest demographics data

Pinterest has 465 million monthly active users

27% of Pinterest’s users are between the ages of 18-24

30.9% of Pinterest’s users are between the ages of 25-34

15.8% of Pinterest’s users are between the ages of 35-44

10.4% of Pinterest’s users are between the ages of 45-54

8.7% of Pinterest’s users are between the ages of 55-64

4.3% of Pinterest’s users are 65+

Pinterest is one of the most gendered social media channels, which may inform which brands target this audience and how they do so.

76.2% of Pinterest users are female

17.2% of Pinterest users are male

6.6% of Pinterest users did not specify their gender

On average, U.S. Pinterest users spend 14.2 minutes per day on the platform

85% of users access Pinterest via the mobile app

Business and Shopping

More than 25% of time spent on Pinterest is spent shopping

85% of users have bought something based on pins from brands

X (formerly Twitter) demographics

research social media trends

X (formerly known as Twitter) allows users to reach practically any person or business simply by tagging them in a Tweet. That’s why Twitter is such a popular platform for customer service — allowing users to air complaints in real time and for customer service teams to react quickly.

2024 X demographics data

X has 666 million monthly active users

X has 245 million monetizable daily active users

28.35% of X’s users are between the ages of 18-24

29.63% of X’s users are between the ages of 25-34

17.96% of X’s users are between the ages of 35-44

11.63% of X’s users are between the ages of 45-54

7.61% of X’s users are between the ages of 55-64

4.83% of X’s users are 65+

Like Pinterest, X is highly gendered, although this channel skews the other direction.

23.28% of X users are female

66.72% of X users are male

On average, U.S. X users spend 34.1 minutes per day on the platform

Elon Musk: 156.9 million followers

Barack Obama: 132 million followers

Justin Bieber: 111.7 million followers

Business and shopping

82% of B2B content marketers use X

79% of X users follow brands on the platform

X drives 40% higher ROI than other social media channels

LinkedIn demographics

LinkedIn is a professional networking site and the top social media platform for B2B marketing . As a result of its focus on business, it’s a great way for companies to drive leads, share news, and keep up with others in their industry.

2024 LinkedIn demographics data

LinkedIn has 310 million monthly active users

16.2% of LinkedIn’s users login to the platform daily

21.7% of LinkedIn’s users are between the ages of 18-24

60% of LinkedIn’s users are between the ages of 25-34

15.4% of LinkedIn’s users are between the ages of 35-54

2.9% of LinkedIn’s users are 55+

43.7% of LinkedIn users are female

56.3% of LinkedIn users are male

On average, LinkedIn users spend just over 7 minutes per day on the platform

58.5% of LinkedIn traffic is through desktop devices

41.5% of LinkedIn traffic is through mobile devices

More than 61 million companies are on LinkedIn

96% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for organic social marketing

Marketers see up to 2x higher conversion rates on LinkedIn compared to other social media platforms

Most Followed Accounts

Bill Gates: 34.9 million followers

Richard Branson: 18.7 million followers

Jeff Weiner: 10.4 million followers

YouTube demographics

YouTube is as utilitarian (think “how to change a spare tire”) as it is entertaining (think funny pet videos). With 2.5 billion monthly active users, YouTube offers expansive opportunities for businesses to share and market information.

2024 YouTube demographics data

YouTube has 2.491 billion monthly active users

YouTube has 122 million daily active users

15.5% of YouTube users are between the ages of 18-24

21.3% of YouTube users are between the ages of 25-34

17.5% of YouTube users are between the ages of 35-44

12.5% of YouTube users are between the ages of 45-54

9.2% of YouTube users are between the ages of 55-64

9.2% of YouTube users are between the ages of 65+

45.6% of YouTube users are female

54.4% of YouTube users are male

On average, U.S. YouTube users spend 48.7 minutes per day on the platform

70% of viewers have made a purchase after seeing a brand on YouTube

54% of marketers use YouTube

T-Series: 254 million subscribers

MrBeast: 217 million subscribers

Cocomelon: 168 million subscribers

Snapchat Demographics

Snapchat has become popular among teens and young adults under 35, making it a great platform for marketers to reach Gen Z. Interestingly, Gen Z spends less time looking at content on Snapchat but shows higher advertising recall than other generations. After watching two seconds or less of an advertiser video, 59% of Gen Z was able to recall it. Outside of Gen Z Snapchat statistics, here’s some other information about the platform’s demographics.

2024 Snapchat demographics data

Snapchat has 750 million monthly active users

Snapchat has 406 million daily active users

19.7% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 13-17

38.1% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 18-24

23.4% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 25-34

14% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 35-49

3.8% of Snapchat users are 50+

51% of Snapchat users are female

48.2% of Snapchat users are male

On average, U.S. Snapchat users spend 30 minutes per day on the platform

Snapchat users hold $4.4 trillion in global spending power

Snapchat users are 2x more likely to share their purchases with their network

Kylie Jenner: 37 million followers

Kim Kardashian: 27.2 million followers

Khloe Kardashian: 15 million followers

TikTok demographics

research social media trends

TikTok’s explosive growth in recent years has marked its place as a major player in the social media world (even though it doesn’t call itself a social media platform ). Like Snapchat, younger audiences dominate TikTok’s user base with 37.3% of users being between 18-24. It’s also a great platform for brands, with spending reaching 2.5 billion globally. Here’s some other information about TikTok’s user demographics to bear in mind when creating marketing strategies.

2024 TikTok demographics data

TikTok has 1.218 billion monthly active users

TikTok has 45.1 million daily active users

37.3% of TikTok users are between the ages of 18-24

32.9% of TikTok users are between the ages of 25-34

15.7% of TikTok users are between the ages of 35-44

8.3% of TikTok users are between the ages of 45-54

5.8% of TikTok users are 55+

49.2% of TikTok users are female

50.8% of TikTok users are male

On average, U.S. TikTok users spend 53.8 minutes per day on the platform

Khabane lame: 162 million followers

Charli D’Amelio: 151.6 million followers

Bella Poarch: 93.6 million followers

Consumer spending on TikTok has surpassed $2.5 billion globally

58.2% of TikTok users said they used the platform for shopping inspiration

49% of TikTok users say the platform helped them make purchasing decisions

55% of TikTok users made a purchase after seeing a brand or product on the platform

Which social media networks should your business prioritize?

research social media trends

Of course, knowing who’s using each social media platform is one thing, and engaging those people is a completely different thing. If your business needs help organizing and managing your social media activity, request a demo of our social media management software to see how you can understand your audience and seamlessly manage efforts across social media channels.

RELATED RESOURCES

research social media trends

SOCIAL MEDIA

Building authentic influencer partnerships

Building authentic influencer partnerships can be a powerful tool in a brand’s marketing toolbox. Read our best practices for defining your strategy and executing it.

May-02-2024

research social media trends

Omnichannel Fails Tipsheet

Check out our easy-to-follow tipsheet to overcome omnichannel challenges and set your strategy up for success.

Apr-30-2024

research social media trends

Defining your community structure, look, and feel

Clearly define the structure, identity, and functionality of your community with our checklist.

Apr-29-2024

research social media trends

Social proof drives customer acquisition

Learn how to drive better customer acquisition by empowering existing customers to create social validation.

research social media trends

5 steps to create a unified customer experience strategy

In today's rapidly evolving market, businesses need a unified customer experience strategy to keep both agents and consumers satisfied. Read about 5 steps brands can take toward a unified strategy.

research social media trends

Community works: How Sky revolutionizes the customer journey

Watch this on-demand webinar to hear Nima Lawlor-Baniamer, Senior Product Owner for Community and Social at Sky, the powerhouse UK broadband, TV, and mobile provider, discuss considerations for fully integrating community into your digital ecosystem and serving customers end-to-end.

Apr-23-2024

research social media trends

CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT

Comparing enterprise community platforms: A deep dive into the top 4 vendors

This blog explores the strengths and weaknesses of the top four community platforms: Khoros, Higher Logic, Salesforce, and Gainsight.

research social media trends

Mastering digital channels: A guide for customer service experts

Discover the audience profiles, benefits, and features of the top digital channels customers use worldwide to engage with their favorite brands.

Apr-22-2024

research social media trends

ONLINE COMMUNITIES

9 Community KPIs your brand should track

Community KPIs are necessary for tracking your online community’s success. Here are the top 9 you should be tracking.

research social media trends

Increasing brand engagement on social media

Get expert tips to increase brand engagement with your audience on social media and check out real-world examples from leading brands.

research social media trends

How to drive conversions, leads, and sales on social media

Maximize the value of your brand's social media presence by learning how to use it to drive conversions, leads, and sales.

research social media trends

Free social media content calendar template for 2024

A social media content calendar is essential for organizing and planning posts in advance, especially in 2024 when you’re likely managing content across several platforms. Our easy-to-use social media content calendar template can help you coordinate content efforts across all of the platforms you’re on.

Sign up for our newsletter

Would you like to learn more about khoros.

Discover the advantages of our solution in action. Request a demo now!

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • View all journals
  • My Account Login
  • Explore content
  • About the journal
  • Publish with us
  • Sign up for alerts
  • Open access
  • Published: 29 April 2024

Problematic social media use mediates the effect of cyberbullying victimisation on psychosomatic complaints in adolescents

  • Prince Peprah 1 , 2 ,
  • Michael Safo Oduro 3 ,
  • Godfred Atta-Osei 4 ,
  • Isaac Yeboah Addo 5 , 6 ,
  • Anthony Kwame Morgan 7 &
  • Razak M. Gyasi 8 , 9  

Scientific Reports volume  14 , Article number:  9773 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

194 Accesses

1 Altmetric

Metrics details

  • Public health
  • Risk factors

Adolescent psychosomatic complaints remain a public health issue globally. Studies suggest that cyberbullying victimisation, particularly on social media, could heighten the risk of psychosomatic complaints. However, the mechanisms underlying the associations between cyberbullying victimisation and psychosomatic complaints remain unclear. This cross-cultural study examines the mediating effect of problematic social media use (PSMU) on the association between cyberbullying victimisation and psychosomatic complaints among adolescents in high income countries. We analysed data on adolescents aged 11–16.5 years (weighted N = 142,298) in 35 countries participating in the 2018 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. Path analysis using bootstrapping technique tested the hypothesised mediating role of PSMU. Results from the sequential binary mixed effects logit models showed that adolescents who were victims of cyberbullying were 2.39 times significantly more likely to report psychosomatic complaints than those who never experienced cyberbullying (AOR = 2.39; 95%CI = 2.29, 2.49). PSMU partially mediated the association between cyberbullying victimisation and psychosomatic complaints accounting for 12% ( \(\beta\)  = 0.01162, 95%CI = 0.0110, 0.0120) of the total effect. Additional analysis revealed a moderation effect of PSMU on the association between cyberbullying victimisation and psychosomatic complaints. Our findings suggest that while cyberbullying victimisation substantially influences psychosomatic complaints, the association is partially explained by PSMU. Policy and public health interventions for cyberbullying-related psychosomatic complaints in adolescents should target safe social media use.

Similar content being viewed by others

research social media trends

Loneliness trajectories over three decades are associated with conspiracist worldviews in midlife

research social media trends

Microdosing with psilocybin mushrooms: a double-blind placebo-controlled study

research social media trends

Adults who microdose psychedelics report health related motivations and lower levels of anxiety and depression compared to non-microdosers

Introduction.

Adolescence is noted to be a critical developmental stage, with many problems, including loneliness 1 , poor friendships, an adverse class climate, school pressure 2 , suicidal ideation and attempts, and psychosomatic complaints 3 . Psychosomatic complaint is a combination of physical ailments (i.e., headaches, stomach aches, fatigue, and muscle pain) caused or exacerbated by psychological factors such as stress, irritability, anxiety, or emotional distress 4 , 5 . Psychosomatic complaints are common among adolescents, and recent estimates indicate that the global prevalence of psychosomatic complaints ranges between 10 and 50% 6 . Also, an increase in self-reported psychosomatic complaints and related mental health complaints have been reported in adolescents from high-income countries 7 , 8 . The high prevalence of psychosomatic complaints is of concern as psychosomatic complaints have severe implications for multiple detrimental health outcomes, healthcare expenditure, and quality of life of young people 9 . Thus, it is of utmost importance to identify the proximate risk factors for psychosomatic complaints among young people to aid in developing targeted interventions to reduce the incidence of psychosomatic complaints, mainly in high-income countries.

While extant research has identified risk factors for psychosomatic complaints, including malnutrition, low physical activity, and poor parental guidance 10 , 11 , 12 , one understudied but potentially important risk factor is cyberbullying victimisation. Cyberbullying victimisation is an internet-based aggressive and intentional act of continually threatening, harassing, or embarrassing individuals who cannot defend themselves using electronic contact forms such as emails, text messages, images, and videos 13 , 14 . Indeed, being typical of interpersonal interactions, cyberbullying victimisation has shown a rising trend, particularly during adolescence 15 . International literature has shown the prevalence of cyberbullying victimisation to be between 12 and 72% among young people 14 , 16 . It may be hypothesised that cyberbullying victimisation potentially increases the risk of psychosomatic complaints through factors such as problematic social media use (PSMU) 17 , 18 . However, studies are needed to identify whether and the extent to which such factors mediate the potential association of cyberbullying victimisation with psychosomatic complaints among young people.

Given this background, the present study aimed to investigate the association between cyberbullying victmisation and psychosomatic complaints in 142,298 young people aged 11–16.5 years from 35 high-income countries. A further aim was to quantify how PSMU mediates the association between cyberbullying victimisation and psychosomatic complaints.

Cyberbullying victimisation and adolescents’ psychosomatic complaints

Research has consistently shown that cyberbullying victimisation significantly impacts adolescents’ mental health 19 . For example, Kowalski and Limber 20 found that cyberbullying victimisation is associated with increased levels of depression, anxiety, and social anxiety, as well as psychosomatic complaints, such as fatigue and muscle tension. Further, studies have shown that cyberbullying victimisation and perpetration can lead to a variety of physical, social, and mental health issues, including substance abuse and suicidal thoughts and attempts 21 , 22 , 23 , 24 . Furthermore, cyberbullying victimisation is strongly associated with suicidal thoughts and attempts, regardless of demographic factors like gender or age 21 , 25 . These findings underscore the urgent need for interventions that address the mental health consequences of cyberbullying, particularly for adolescents, who are most vulnerable to its harmful effects. The findings also suggest that cyberbullying might be a potential underlying predictor of higher psychosomatic disorders among adolescents. This present study, therefore, hypothesises that H1: there is a statistically significant association between cyberbullying victimisation (X) and psychosomatic complaints (Y) (total effect).

The role of adolescents’ PSMU

Problematic Social Media Use (PSMU), a subtype of problematic internet use, refers to the uncontrolled, compulsive or excessive engagement with social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, characterised by addictive behaviours like mood alteration, withdrawal symptoms, and interpersonal conflicts. This pattern of social media usage can result in functional impairments and adverse outcomes 26 . Scholars and professionals have shown great concern about the length of time adolescents spend on social media. Studies have observed that (early) adolescence could be a crucial and sensitive developmental stage in which adolescent users might be unable to avoid the harmful impacts of social media use 27 . According to current research, PSMU may increase adolescents’ exposure to cyberbullying victimisation, which can have severe consequences for their mental health 28 , 29 , 30 . Similarly, an association between PSMU and physical/somatic problems, as well as somatic disorders, has been established in many studies 31 , 32 . Hanprathet et al. 33 demonstrated the negative impact of problematic Facebook use on general health, including somatic symptoms, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and social dysfunction. According to Cerutti et al. 34 , adolescents with problematic social media usage have more somatic symptoms, such as stomach pain, headaches, sore muscles, and poor energy, than their counterparts. Hence, inadequate sleep may be associated with PSMU, harming both perceived physical and mental health 35 , 36 . Again, supporting the above evidence, the relationship between PSMU, well-being, and psychological issues have been highlighted in meta-analytic research and systematic reviews 27 , 31 , 37 , 38 . Thus, this study proposes the following hypothesis: H2: there is a specific indirect effect of cyberbullying victimisation (X) on psychosomatic complaints (Y) through PSMU (M1) (indirect effect a 1 b 1 ).

Study, sample, and procedures

This study used data from the 2018 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey conducted in 35 countries and regions across Europe and Canada during the 2017–2018 academic year 39 . The HBSC research team/network is an international alliance of researchers collaborating on a cross-national survey of school students. The HBSC collects data every four years on 11-, 13- and 15- year-old adolescent boys’ and girls’ health and well-being, social environments, and health behaviours. The sampling procedure for the 2018 survey followed international guidelines 40 , 41 . A systematic sampling method was used to identify schools in each region from the complete list of both public and private schools. Participants were recruited through a cluster sampling approach, using the school class as the primary sampling unit 42 . Some countries oversampled subpopulations (e.g., by geography and ethnicity), and standardised weights were created to ensure representativeness of the population of 11, 13, and 15 years 43 . Questionnaires were translated based on a standard procedure to allow comparability between the participating countries. Our analysis used data from 35 countries and regions with complete data on cyberbullying victimisation, PSMU, and psychosomatic complaints. The study complies with ethical standards in each country and follows ethical guidelines for research and data protection from the World Health Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Depending on the country, active or passive consent was sought from parents or legal guardians and students which was checked by teachers to participate in the study. The survey was conducted anonymously and participation in the study was voluntary for schools and students. Schools, children and adolescents could refuse to participate or withdraw their consent until the day of the survey. Moreover, all participating students were free to cease filling out the questionnaire at any moment, or to answer only selected questions. More detailed information on the methodology of the HBSC study including ethics and data protection can be found elsewhere 44 , 45 .

Outcome variable: psychosomatic complaints

Psychosomatic complaints was assessed by one collective item asking students how often they had experienced the following complaints over the past six months: headache, stomach aches, feeling low, irritability or bad mood, feeling nervous, dizziness, abdominal pain, sleep difficulty, and backache. Response options included: about every day, more than once a week, about every week, about every month, and rarely or never. This scale has sufficient test–retest reliability and validity 46 , good internal consistency (Cronbach’s a = 0.82) 47 , and has been applied in several multiple country analyses 48 , 49 . The scale is predictive of emotional problems and suicidal ideation in adolescents 50 , 51 . For our analysis, the scale was dichotomised with two or more complaints several times a week or daily coded as having psychosomatic complaints 47 , 49 .

Exposure variable: Cyberbullying victimisation

Cyberbullying victimisation is the exposure variable in this study. Thus, the exposure variable pertains to only being a victim of cyberbullying and does not include perpetration of cyberbullying. Students were first asked to read and understand a short definition of cyberbullying victimisation. They were then asked how often they were bullied over the past two months (e.g., someone sending mean instant messages, emails, or text messages about you; wall postings; creating a website making fun of you; posting unflattering or inappropriate pictures of you online without your permission or sharing them with others). Responses included: “ I have not   been  cyberbullied”, “once or twice”, “two or three times a month”, “about once a week”, and “several times a week”. These were dichotomised into “never" or “once or more". This measure of bullying victimisation has been validated across multiple cultural settings 43 , 52 , 53 , 54 .

Mediating variable

Problematic social media use (PSMU) was assessed with the Social Media Disorder Scale (Cronbach’s a = 0.89) 55 . The scale contains nine dichotomous (yes/no) items describing addiction-like symptoms, including preoccupation with social media, dissatisfaction about lack of time for social media, feeling bad when not using social media, trying but failing to spend less time using social media, neglecting other duties to use social media, frequent arguments over social media, lying to parents or friends about social media use, using social media to escape from negative feelings, and having a severe conflict with family over social media use. In this study, the endorsement of six or more items indicated PSMU as evidence suggests that a threshold of six or more is an indicative of PSMU 54 , 56 . This scale has been used across cultural contexts 43 , 52 , 54 .

Informed by previous studies 43 , 54 , 57 , the analysis controlled for theoretically relevant confounders, including sex (male/female) and age. Family affluence/socio-economic class was assessed using the Relative Family Affluence Scale, a validated six-item measure of material assets in the home, such as the number of vehicles, bedroom sharing, computer ownership, bathrooms at home, dishwashers at home, and family vacations) 56 , 58 . Finally, parental and peer support were measured using an eight item-measure 59 . Responses were recorded on a 7-point Likert scale (ranging from 0 indicating very strongly disagree to 6 indicating very strongly agree).

Statistical analysis

Region-specific descriptive statistics were calculated to describe the sample. Next, Pearson’s Chi-squared association test with Yates’ continuity correction was performed to examine plausible associations between psychosomatic complaints and other categorical study variables. Also, to account for the regional clustering or unobserved heterogeneity observed in the analytic sample, sequential mixed effect binary logit models with the inclusion of a random intercept were fitted to further examine the associations between psychosomatic complaints and cyberbullying victimisation as well as other considered covariates. Furthermore, a parallel mediator model was fitted to evaluate the specified hypothesis and understand the potential mechanism linking cyberbullying victimisation and psychosomatic complaints. More specifically, cyberbullying victimisation (X) was modelled to directly influence psychosomatic complaints (Y) and indirectly via PSMU (M). Since core variables were binary, paths could be estimated with a sequence of three logit equations: 60 , 61

where, \({i}_{1}\) , \({i}_{2}\) , and \({i}_{3}\) represent the intercept in the respective equations. The path coefficient, c, in Eq. ( 1 ) represents the total effect of predictor X on outcome Y . In Eq. ( 2 ), the path coefficient a denotes the effect of predictor X on the mediator M . Also, the c' parameter in Eq. ( 3 ) represents the direct effect of the predictor X on the response Y , adjusting for the mediator M . Lastly, the path coefficient b coefficient in Eq. ( 3 ) represents the indirect effect of the mediator M on the outcome Y , when adjusting for the predictor X . These logit models provide effect estimates on the log-odds scale, and thus can be transformed into odds ratios. Each model was adjusted for the potential confounding variables.

All statistical analyses were performed using R Software (v4.1.2; R Core Team 2021) with \(\alpha\)  =  0.05 as the significance level. More specifically, the package “mediation” in R 62 was used for the mediation analysis to estimate direct, indirect, and total effects. Inference is based on a non-parametric, 95% bias-corrected and accelerated (BCa) bootstrapped confidence interval 63 , 64 . Bootstrapping for indirect effects was set at 1000 samples, and once the 95% bootstrapped CI of the mediation effects did not include zero (0), it was deemed statistically significant. We also conducted further analysis by including an interaction between cyberbullying victimisation and PSMU to obtain insights analogous to the mediation model.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

The research was exclusively based on data sourced from the World Bank, which adheres to rigorous ethical standards in its data collection processes. Therefore, no separate ethical approval was sought or deemed necessary. Ethical approval was not required for this study since the data used for this study are secondary data. Necessary permissions and survey data were obtained from the World Bank. The World Bank data collection process upheld ethical standards and relevant guidelines in the research process including informed consent from all subjects and/or their legal guardian(s).

Preliminary analyses

The final analytic sample comprised complete information on 142,298 adolescents from 35 high-income countries (Table 1 ). The median age of the sample was 13.6 years. Most participants resided in Wales (6.26%) and the Czech Republic (6.16%). Notably, the prevalence of cyberbullying victimisation was 26.2%, and the majority (53%) were females. As observed in Table 2 , 84.6% of the participants self-reported high levels of psychosomatic complaints. Furthermore, among the participants who experienced PSMU, about 81.16% reported high levels of psychosomatic complaints. About 84.47% of the participants indicated receiving parental and peer support (see Table 2 ).

Main analyses

Results from the sequential binary mixed effects logit model are shown in Table 3 . In the first step, we included only cyberbullying victimisation in the model. We found that cyberbullying victims were 2.430 times more likely to report psychosomatic complaints than those who were not cyberbullied (OR = 2.430; 95%CI = 2.330, 2.530). The second step included sex, PSMU, parental and peer support, and family affluence as covariates. We found that cyber bullying victims were 2.390 times significantly more likely to report psychosomatic complaints than those who never experienced cyberbullying (AOR = 2.390; 95%CI = 2.29, 2.49). Additionally, the third model, which is an additional analysis involved the inclusion of an interaction between and cyberbullying victimisation and PSMU. The results showed that PSMU moderates the association between cyberbullying victimisation and psychosomatic complaints. Adolescents who were cyberbullied but did not report PSMU had reduced odds of psychosomatic complaints compared to those with PSMU (AOR = 1.220; 95%CI = 1.110–1.350). Furthermore, a caterpillar plot of empirical Bayes residuals of the models for the random intercept, region/country is obtained and shown in Fig.  1 . This represents individual effects for each country and offers additional insights into the extent of psychosomatic complaints heterogeneity across different countries. The plots visually demonstrates that regional variation for psychosomatic complaints does exist.

figure 1

A caterpillar plot of empirical Bayes residuals of the models for the random intercept, region/country. This represents individual effects for each region/country. Region or country abbreviations in the figure are as follows: [AL] Albania, [AZ] Azerbaijan, [AT] Austria, [BE-VLG] Vlaamse Gewest (Belgium), [BE-WAL] Wallone, Région (Belgium), [CA] Canada, [CZ] Czech Republic, [DE] Germany, [EE] Estonia, [CA] Canada, [ES] Spain, [FR] France, [GB-ENG] England, [GB-SCT] Scotland, [GB-WLS] Wales, [GE] Georgia, [GR] Greece, [HR] Croatia, [HU] Hungary, [IE] Ireland, [IL] Israel, [IS] Iceland, [IT] Italy, [KZ] Kazakhstan, [LT] Lithuania, [LU] Luxembourg, [MD] Moldova, [MT] Malta, [NL] Netherlands, [PT] Portugal, [RO] Romania, [RS] Serbia, [RU] Russia, [SE] Sweden, [SI] Slovenia, [TR] Turkey, [LU] Luxembourg and [UA] Ukraine.

Figure  2 shows the adjusted parallel mediation results. The effect of cyberbullying victimisation on psychosomatic complaints was significantly mediated by PSMU. The paths from cyberbullying victimisation to PSMU (a: \(\beta\) =0.648, p < 0.001), PSMU to psychosomatic complaints (b: \(\beta\) =0.889, p < 0.001), and that of cyberbullying victimisation to 0.8069 (c′: \(\beta\) =0.051, p < 0.001) were also statistically significant.

figure 2

A parallel mediation model of the influence of PSMU on the association between Cyberbullying Victimisation and Psychosomatic Complaints. a = path coefficient of the effect of exposure on the mediator. b = path coefficient of the effect of the mediator on the outcome. c’ = path coefficient of the direct effect of the exposure on outcome. CV, cyberbullying victimisation. PC, psychosomatic complaints.

Bootstrapping test of mediating effects

The total, direct, and indirect effects of the mediation model based on nonparametric bootstrap are presented in Table 4 . We observe that the estimated CI did not include zero (0) for any effects. This observation suggests a statistically significant indirect effect of cyberbullying victimisation on psychosomatic complaints via PSMU ( \(\beta\)  = 0.01162, 95%CI = 0.0110, 0.0120), yielding 12% of the total effect.

Key findings

This cross-cultural study examined the direct and indirect associations of cyberbullying victimisation with psychosomatic complaints via PSMU among adolescents. The results showed that cyberbullying victimisation independently influenced the experience of psychosomatic complaints. Specifically, adolescents who were victims of cyberbullying were more than two times more likely to report psychosomatic complaints. Crucially, our mediation analyses indicated that PSMU explain approximately 12% of the association between cyberbullying victimisation and psychosomatic complaints. In a further analysis, PSMU moderated the association between cyberbullying victimisation and psychosomatic complaints. This study is the first to examine the direct and indirect associations between cyberbullying victimisation and psychosomatic complaints through PSMU in adolescents across multiple high-income countries.

Interpretation of the findings

Our results confirmed the first hypothesis that there is a statistically significant direct association between cyberbullying victimisation and psychosomatic complaints. Thus, we found that cyberbullying independently directly affected the adolescents' experience of psychosomatic complaints. Previous studies have mainly focused on the direct effect of traditional face-to-face bullying on psychosomatic complaints 20 , 65 or compared the impact of traditional face-to-face bullying to cyberbullying concerning mental health 19 , 66 , 67 , 68 , 69 . A systematic review of traditional bullying and cyberbullying victimisation offers a comprehensive synthesis of the consequences of cyberbullying on adolescent health 19 . Another review suggested that cyberbullying threatened adolescents’ well-being and underscored many studies that have demonstrated effective relationships between adolescents’ involvement in cyberbullying and adverse health outcomes 70 . Other population-based cross-sectional studies have similarly shown that victims of cyberbullying experience significant psychological distress and feelings of isolation, which can further exacerbate their physical and mental health challenges 22 , 71 , 72 . The present study builds on the previously published literature by highlighting the effect of cyberbullying victimisation on adolescent psychosomatic complaints and the extent to which the association is mediated by PSMU.

Consistent with the second hypothesis, we found that PSMU mediated about 12% of the association between cyberbullying victimisation and psychosomatic complaints in this sample. While studies on the mediational role of PSMU in the relationship between cyberbullying victimisation and psychosomatic complaints are limited, evidence shows significant interplay among PSMU, cyberbullying victimisation, and psychosomatic complaints. For example, a study of over 58,000 young people in Italy found that PSMU was associated with increased levels of multiple somatic and psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression. 73 Another study of 1707 adolescents in Sweden found that cyberbullying victimisation was associated with increased depressive symptoms and the lowest level of subjective well-being 74 .

Other possible mediators of the cyberbullying victimisation-psychosomatic complaints association may include low self-esteem, negative body image, emotion regulation difficulties, social support, and personality traits such as neuroticism and impulsivity 20 , 67 , 72 , 75 , 76 . For example, Schneider et al. 75 have shown that emotional distress could increase psychosomatic symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, and muscle tension. In addition, social isolation can lead to social withdrawal and a decreased sense of belonging 78 , 79 . Therefore, it is essential to explore these variables further and develop effective interventions and prevention strategies to address these interrelated factors and reduce their negative impact on adolescent health and well-being.

In a further analysis, the results show that PSMU does not only mediate but also moderate the association between cyberbullying victimisation and psychosomatic complaints among adolescents. Specifically, cyberbullied adolescents with no report of PSMU had reduced likelihoods of experiencing psychosomatic complaints compared to those with PSMU. This result is interesting and could be due to several factors. First, individuals with PSMU may already be experiencing heightened levels of psychological distress due to their excessive social media use, making them more vulnerable to the negative effects of cyberbullying 80 , 81 , 82 . For instance, excessive time spent on social media, particularly in activities such as comparing oneself to others or seeking validation through likes and comments, has been linked to increased psychological distress 83 , 84 . Conversely, the finding that cyberbullied adolescents without PSMU had reduced likelihoods of experiencing psychosomatic complaints compared to those with PSMU suggests a protective effect of lower social media use. Adolescents who are not excessively engaged with social media may have fewer opportunities for exposure to cyberbullying and may also have healthier coping strategies in place to deal with any instances of online victimisation 43 , 85 , 86 .

The results suggest that professionals in the fields of education, counselling, and healthcare should prioritise addressing the issue of cyberbullying victimisation when assessing the physical and psychological health of adolescents. Evidently, adolescents who experience cyberbullying require support. Thus, proactive measures are essential, and support could be provided by multiple professional communities that serve adolescents and young people in society, such as educational, behavioural health, and medical professionals. Sensitive inquiry regarding cyberbullying experiences is necessary when addressing adolescent health issues such as depression, substance use, suicidal ideation, and somatic concerns 19 . Our findings underscore the need for comprehensive, school-based programs focused on cyberbullying victimisation prevention and intervention.

Strengths and limitations

The study's main strength lies in the use of a large sample size representing multiple countries in high income countries. This large sample size improved the representativeness and veracity of our findings. The complex research approach helps advance our understanding of the interrelationships between cyberbullying victimisation, PSMU, and psychosomatic complaints among adolescents. However, the study has its limitations. First, the cross-sectional design does not allow directionality and causal inferences. Second, retrospective self-reporting for the critical study variables could lead to recall and social desirability biases. Third, the presence of residual and unobserved confounders, despite adjusting for some covariates, can be considered a limitation of this study. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and better understand how PSMU mediates the relationship between cyberbullying victimisation and psychosomatic complaints.

Conclusions

This study has provided essential insights into the interrelationships between cyberbullying victimisation, PSMU, and psychosomatic complaints among adolescents in high income countries. The findings suggest that cyberbullying is directly associated with psychosomatic complaints and that PSMU significantly and partially mediates this association. This study also highlights the importance of addressing cyberbullying victimisation and its negative impact on adolescent health and emphasises the need to address PSMU. Overall, the study underscores the importance of promoting healthy online behaviour and providing appropriate support for adolescents who experience cyberbullying victimisation. Further studies will benefit from longitudinal data to confirm our findings.

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the World Bank, but restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under license for the current study and so are not publicly available. Data are, however, available from the corresponding author ([email protected]) upon reasonable request and with permission of the World Bank.

Lyyra, N., Välimaa, R. & Tynjälä, J. Loneliness and subjective health complaints among school-aged children. Scand. J. Public Health 46 (20), 87–93. https://doi.org/10.1177/1403494817743901 (2018).

Article   PubMed   Google Scholar  

Ottova, V. et al. The role of individual-and macro-level social determinants on young adolescents’ psychosomatic complaints. J. Early. 32 (1), 126–158. https://doi.org/10.1177/0272431611419510 (2012).

Article   Google Scholar  

Heinz, A., Catunda, C., van Duin, C. & Willems, H. Suicide prevention: Using the number of health complaints as an indirect alternative for screening suicidal adolescents. J. Affect. Disord. 260 , 61–66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2019.08.025 (2020).

Högberg, B., Strandh, M. & Hagquist, C. Gender and secular trends in adolescent mental health over 24 years–the role of school-related stress. Soc. Cci Med. 250 , 112890. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.112890 (2020).

Hagquist, C., Due, P., Torsheim, T. & Välimaa, R. Cross-country comparisons of trends in adolescent psychosomatic symptoms—a Rasch analysis of HBSC data from four Nordic countries. Health Qual. Life Outcomes 17 (1), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12955-019-1097-x (2019).

Shorey, S., Ng, E. D. & Wong, C. H. Global prevalence of depression and elevated depressive symptoms among adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Br. J. Clin. Psychol. 61 (2), 287–305. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjc.12333 (2022).

Potrebny, T. et al. Health complaints among adolescents in Norway: A twenty-year perspective on trends. PloS one 14 (1), e0210509. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210509 (2019).

Article   CAS   PubMed   PubMed Central   Google Scholar  

van Geelen, S. M. & Hagquist, C. Are the time trends in adolescent psychosomatic problems related to functional impairment in daily life? A 23-year study among 20,000 15–16 year olds in Sweden. J. Psychol. Res. 87 , 50–56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2016.06.003 (2016).

Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions and Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. Insatser inom området psykisk hälsa och suicidprevention. Överenskommelse mellan staten och Sveriges Kommuner och Regioner (SKR). Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions and Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. Stokholm, Sweden: 2021–2022. https://skr.se/skr/halsasjukvard/utvecklingavverksamhet/psykiskhalsa/overenskommelsepsykiskhalsa.234.html (2022).

Brooks, S. J., Feldman, I., Schiöth, H. B. & Titova, O. E. Important gender differences in psychosomatic and school-related complaints in relation to adolescent weight status. Sci. Rep. 11 (1), 14147. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-93761-0 (2021).

Article   ADS   CAS   PubMed   PubMed Central   Google Scholar  

Whitehead, R. et al. Trends in adolescent overweight perception and its association with psychosomatic health 2002–2014: Evidence from 33 countries. J. Adol. Health 60 (2), 204–211. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.09.029 (2017).

Nilsen, W., Karevold, E., Røysamb, E., Gustavson, K. & Mathiesen, K. S. Social skills and depressive symptoms across adolescence: Social support as a mediator in girls versus boys. J. Adol. 36 (1), 11–20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2012.08.005 (2013).

Englander, E., Donnerstein, E., Kowalski, R., Lin, C. A. & Parti, K. Defining cyberbullying. Pediatric 140 (S2), 148–151. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-1758U (2017).

Chan, H. C. O. & Wong, D. S. Traditional school bullying and cyberbullying in Chinese societies: Prevalence and a review of the whole-school intervention approach. Aggress. Viol. Behav. 23 , 98–108. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2015.05.010 (2015).

Griffiths, M. D., Kuss, D. J. & Demetrovics, Z. Social networking addiction: An overview of preliminary findings. Behav Addict. 2014 , 119–141. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-407724-9.00006-9 (2014).

Athanasiou, K. et al. Cross-national aspects of cyberbullying victimization among 14–17-year-old adolescents across seven European countries. BMC Public Health 18 , 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5682-4 (2018).

Nagata, J. M. et al. Cyberbullying and Sleep Disturbance among Early Adolescents in the US. Acad. Pediatr. 23 (6), 1220–1225. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2022.12.007 (2022).

Fahy, A. E. et al. Longitudinal associations between cyberbullying involvement and adolescent mental health. J. Ado.l Health 59 (5), 502–509. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.06.006 (2016).

Zych, I., Ortega-Ruiz, R. & Del Rey, R. Systematic review of theoretical studies on bullying and cyberbullying: Facts, knowledge, prevention, and intervention. Aggress. Viol. Behav. 23 , 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2015.10.001 (2015).

Kowalski, R. M. & Limber, S. P. Psychological, physical, and academic correlates of cyberbullying and traditional bullying. J. Adol. Health 53 (1), S13–S20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.09.018 (2013).

Van Geel, M., Vedder, P. & Tanilon, J. Relationship between peer victimization, cyberbullying, and suicide in children and adolescents: A meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. 168 (5), 435–442. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4143 (2014).

Article   CAS   PubMed   Google Scholar  

Albdour, M., Hong, J. S., Lewin, L. & Yarandi, H. The impact of cyberbullying on physical and psychological health of Arab American adolescents. J. Immig. Minor. Health 21 , 706–715. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-018-00850-w (2019).

Yoon, Y. et al. Association of cyberbullying involvement with subsequent substance use among adolescents. J. Adol. Health 65 (5), 613–620. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.05.006 (2019).

Yuchang, J., Junyi, L., Junxiu, A., Jing, W. & Mingcheng, H. The differential victimization associated with depression and anxiety in cross-cultural perspective: A meta-analysis. Trauma Viol. Abuse 20 (4), 560–573. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524838017726426 (2019).

Gini, G. & Espelage, D. L. Peer victimization, cyberbullying, and suicide risk in children and adolescents. Jama 312 (5), 545–546. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2014.3212 (2014).

Tullett-Prado, D., Doley, J. R., Zarate, D., Gomez, R. & Stavropoulos, V. Conceptualising social media addiction: A longitudinal network analysis of social media addiction symptoms and their relationships with psychological distress in a community sample of adults. BMC Psychol. 23 (1), 1–27. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-023-04985-5 (2023).

Keles, B., McCrae, N. & Grealish, A. A systematic review: The influence of social media on depression, anxiety and psychological distress in adolescents. Int. J. Adol Youth 25 (1), 79–93. https://doi.org/10.1080/02673843.2019.1590851 (2020).

O’reilly, M. et al. Is social media bad for mental health and wellbeing? Exploring the perspectives of adolescents. Clin. Child Psychol. Psych. 23 (4), 601–613. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359104518775154 (2018).

Marino, C., Gini, G., Angelini, F., Vieno, A. & Spada, M. M. Social norms and e-motions in problematic social media use among adolescents. Addict. Behav. Rep. 11 , 100250. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.abrep.2020.100250 (2020).

Article   PubMed   PubMed Central   Google Scholar  

Sedgwick, R., Epstein, S., Dutta, R. & Ougrin, D. Social media, internet use and suicide attempts in adolescents. Curr. Opin. Psychol. 32 (6), 534. https://doi.org/10.1097/YCO.0000000000000547 (2019).

Marino, C., Hirst, C. M., Murray, C., Vieno, A. & Spada, M. M. Positive mental health as a predictor of problematic internet and Facebook use in adolescents and young adults. J. Happ. Stud. 19 , 2009–2022. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-017-9908-4 (2018).

Sarmiento, I. G. et al. How does social media use relate to adolescents’ internalizing symptoms? Conclusions from a systematic narrative review. Adol. Res. Rev. 5 , 381–404. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40894-018-0095-2 (2020).

Hanprathet, N., Manwong, M., Khumsri, J. M. S., Yingyeun, R. & Phanasathit, M. Facebook addiction and its relationship with mental health among Thai high school students. J. Med. Assoc. Thailand 98 , 81–90 (2015).

Google Scholar  

Cerutti, R. et al. Sleep disturbances partially mediate the association between problematic internet use and somatic symptomatology in adolescence. Curr. Psychol. 40 , 4581–4589. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-019-00414-7 (2021).

Van Den Eijnden, R., Koning, I., Doornwaard, S., Van Gurp, F. & Ter Bogt, T. The impact of heavy and disordered use of games and social media on adolescents’ psychological, social, and school functioning. J. Behav. Addit. 7 (3), 697–706. https://doi.org/10.1556/2006.7.2018.65 (2018).

Andreassen, C. S. & Pallesen, S. Social network site addiction-an overview. Curr. Pharma Des. 20 (25), 4053–4061. https://doi.org/10.2174/13816128113199990616 (2014).

Article   CAS   Google Scholar  

Andreassen, C. S. Online social network site addiction: A comprehensive review. Curr. Addit Rep. 2 (2), 175–184. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-015-0056-9 (2015).

Best, P., Manktelow, R. & Taylor, B. Online communication, social media and adolescent wellbeing: A systematic narrative review. Child. Youth Serv. Rev. 41 , 27–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.03.001 (2014).

Boer, M. et al. Adolescents’ intense and problematic social media use and their well-being in 29 countries. J. Adol. Health 66 (6), S89–S99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.02.014 (2020).

Inchley, J. et al . Adolescent alcohol-related behaviours: Trends and inequalities in the WHO European Region, 2002–2014: Observations from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) WHO collaborative cross-national study. World Health Organization. Regional Office for Europe (2018). https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/342239 .

Moor, I. et al. The 2017/18 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study–mthodology of the World Health Organization’s child and adolescent health study. J. Health Monitor. 5 (3), 88. https://doi.org/10.25646/6904 (2020).

Nardone, P. et al. Dietary habits among Italian adolescents and their relation to socio-demographic characteristics. Ann. Istit. Super. Sanita 56 (4), 504–513. https://doi.org/10.4415/ANN_20_04_15 (2020).

Craig, W. et al. Social media use and cyber-bullying: A cross-national analysis of young people in 42 countries. J. Adol. Health 66 (6), S100–S108. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.03.006 (2020).

Moor, I. et al. The 2017/18 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study–methodology of the World Health Organization’s child and adolescent health study. J. Health Monitor. 5 (3), 88 (2020).

Inchley, J., Currie, D., Cosma, A. & Samdal, O. Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) Study Protocol: Background, Methodology and Mandatory Items for the 2017/18 Survey ; CAHRU: St Andrews, UK (2018).

Haugland, S. & Wold, B. Subjective health complaints in adolescence—reliability and validity of survey methods. J. Adol. 24 (5), 611–624. https://doi.org/10.1006/jado.2000.0393 (2001).

Khan, A., Khan, S. R. & Lee, E. Y. Association between lifestyle behaviours and mental health of adolescents: Evidence from the Canadian HBSC Surveys, 2002–2014. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 19 (11), 6899. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116899 (2022).

Högberg, B., Strandh, M., Johansson, K. & Petersen, S. Trends in adolescent psychosomatic complaints: A quantile regression analysis of Swedish HBSC data 1985–2017. Scand. J. Public Health 2022 , 21094497. https://doi.org/10.1177/14034948221094497 (2022).

Bjereld, Y., Augustine, L., Turner, R., Löfstedt, P. & Ng, K. The association between self-reported psychosomatic complaints and bullying victimisation and disability among adolescents in Finland and Sweden. Scand. J. Public Health 2022 , 1089769. https://doi.org/10.1177/14034948221089769 (2022).

Heinz, A., van Duin, C., Kern, M. R., Catunda, C. & Willems, H. Trends from 2006–2018 in Health, Health Behaviour, Health Outcomes and Social Context of Adolescents in Luxembourg . University of Luxembourg (2020).  http://hdl.habndle.net/10993/42571 .

Gariepy, G., McKinnon, B., Sentenac, M. & Elgar, F. J. Validity and reliability of a brief symptom checklist to measure psychological health in school-aged children. Child Indic. Res. 9 , 471–484. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-015-9326-2 (2016).

Biswas, T. et al. Variation in the prevalence of different forms of bullying victimisation among adolescents and their associations with family, peer and school connectedness: A population-based study in 40 lower and middle income to high-income countries (LMIC-HICs). J. Child. Adol. Trauma 2022 , 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40653-022-00451-8 (2022).

Sasson, H., Tur-Sinai, A., Dvir, K. & Harel-Fisch, Y. The role of parents and peers in cyberbullying perpetration: Comparison among Arab and Jewish and youth in Israel. Child Indic. Res. 2022 , 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-022-09986-6 (2022).

Marengo, N. et al. Cyberbullying and problematic social media use: An insight into the positive role of social support in adolescents—data from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study in Italy. Public Health 199 , 46–50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2021.08.010 (2021).

Van den Eijnden, R. J. J. M., Lemmens, J. & Valkenburg, P. The social media disorder scale: Validity and psychometric properties. Comp. Hum. Behav. 61 (August), 478487. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.03.038 (2016).

Borraccino, A. et al. Problematic social media use and cyber aggression in Italian adolescents: The remarkable role of social support. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 19 (15), 9763. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159763 (2022).

Hamre, R., Smith, O. R. F., Samdal, O. & Haug, E. Gaming behaviors and the association with sleep duration, social jetlag, and difficulties falling asleep among Norwegian adolescents. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 19 (3), 1765. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031765 (2022).

Currie, C. et al. Researching health inequalities in adolescents: The development of the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) family affluence scale. Soc. Sci Med. 66 (6), 1429–1436. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.11.024 (2008).

Zimet, G. D., Powell, S. S., Farley, G. K., Werkman, S. & Berkoff, K. A. Psychometric characteristics of the multidimensional scale of perceived social support. J. Person. Assess. 55 (3–4), 610–617. https://doi.org/10.1080/00223891.1990.9674095 (1990).

MacKinnon, D. P., Lockwood, C. M., Brown, C. H., Wang, W. & Hoffman, J. M. The intermediate endpoint effect in logistic and probit regression. Clin. Trial 4 (5), 499–513. https://doi.org/10.1177/1740774507083434 (2007).

Rijnhart, J. J., Valente, M. J., Smyth, H. L. & MacKinnon, D. P. Statistical mediation analysis for models with a binary mediator and a binary outcome: The differences between causal and traditional mediation analysis. Prevent. Sci. 2021 , 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-021-01308-6 (2021).

Tingley D, Yamamoto T, Hirose K, Keele L, Imai K, Yamamoto MT. Package ‘mediation’. Computer software manual. 2019 Sep 13:175-84.

DiCiccio, T. J. & Efron, B. Bootstrap confidence intervals. Stat. Sci. 11 (3), 189–228. https://doi.org/10.1214/ss/1032280214 (1996).

Article   MathSciNet   Google Scholar  

Preacher, K. J. & Hayes, A. F. Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behav. Res. Method 40 (3), 879–891. https://doi.org/10.3758/BRM.40.3.879 (2008).

Tomşa, R., Jenaro, C., Campbell, M. & Neacşu, D. Student’s experiences with traditional bullying and cyberbullying: Findings from a Romanian sample. Procedia-Soc. Behav. Sci. 78 , 586–590. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.04.356 (2013).

Baier, D., Hong, J. S., Kliem, S. & Bergmann, M. C. Consequences of bullying on adolescents’ mental health in Germany: Comparing face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying. J. Child Fam. Stud. 28 , 2347–2357. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1181-6 (2019).

Beckman, L., Hagquist, C. & Hellström, L. Does the association with psychosomatic health problems differ between cyberbullying and traditional bullying?. Emot. Behav. Differ. 17 (3–4), 421–434. https://doi.org/10.1080/13632752.2012.704228 (2012).

Lazuras, L., Barkoukis, V. & Tsorbatzoudis, H. Face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying in adolescents: Trans-contextual effects and role overlap. Tech. Soc. 48 , 97–101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techsoc.2016.12.001 (2017).

Li, J., Sidibe, A. M., Shen, X. & Hesketh, T. Incidence, risk factors and psychosomatic symptoms for traditional bullying and cyberbullying in Chinese adolescents. Child. Youth Serv. Rev. 107 , 104511. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104511 (2019).

Nixon, C. L. Current perspectives: The impact of cyberbullying on adolescent health. Adol. Health Med. Therapy 2014 , 143–158. https://doi.org/10.2147/AHMT.S36456 (2014).

Olenik-Shemesh, D., Heiman, T. & Eden, S. Cyberbullying victimisation in adolescence: Relationships with loneliness and depressive mood. Emot. Behav. Differ. 17 (3–4), 361–374. https://doi.org/10.1080/13632752.2012.704227 (2012).

Sourander, A. et al. Psychosocial risk factors associated with cyberbullying among adolescents: A population-based study. Arch. Gener. Psychiatry 67 (7), 720–728. https://doi.org/10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.79 (2010).

Claudia, M. et al. Problematic social media use: Associations with health complaints among adolescents. Ann. Istit. Super. Sanità 56 (4), 514–521. https://doi.org/10.4415/ANN_20_04_16 (2020).

Hellfeldt, K., López-Romero, L. & Andershed, H. Cyberbullying and psychological well-being in young adolescence: The potential protective mediation effects of social support from family, friends, and teachers. Int.. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17 (1), 45. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17010045 (2020).

Gini, G. & Pozzoli, T. Bullied children and psychosomatic problems: A meta-analysis. Pediatrics 132 (4), 720–729. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2013-0614 (2013).

Landstedt, E. & Persson, S. Bullying, cyberbullying, and mental health in young people. Scand. J. Public Health 42 (4), 393–399. https://doi.org/10.1177/1403494814525 (2014).

Schneider, S. K., Odonnell, L., Stueve, A. & Coulter, R. W. Cyberbullying, school bullying, and psychological distress: A regional census of high school students. Am. J. Public Health 102 (1), 171–177. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2011.300308 (2012).

Brighi, A., Guarini, A., Melotti, G., Galli, S. & Genta, M. L. Predictors of victimisation across direct bullying, indirect bullying and cyberbullying. Emot. Behav. Differ. 17 (3–4), 375–388. https://doi.org/10.1080/13632752.2012.704684 (2012).

Cowie, H. Cyberbullying and its impact on young people’s emotional health and well-being. The Psychia 37 (5), 167–170. https://doi.org/10.1192/pb.bp.112.040840 (2013).

Berryman, C., Ferguson, C. J. & Negy, C. Social media use and mental health among young adults. Psych. Q. 89 , 307–314. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11126-017-9535-6 (2018).

Verduyn, P., Ybarra, O., Résibois, M., Jonides, J. & Kross, E. Do social network sites enhance or undermine subjective well-being? A critical review. Soc. Issue Policy Rev. 11 (1), 274–302. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2007-0693 (2017).

Vogel, E. A., Rose, J. P., Okdie, B. M., Eckles, K. & Franz, B. Who compares and despairs? The effect of social comparison orientation on social media use and its outcomes. Person. Individ. Differ. 86 , 249–256. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.06.026 (2015).

Keles, B., McCrae, N. & Grealish, A. A systematic review: The influence of social media on depression, anxiety and psychological distress in adolescents. Int. J. Adol. Youth 25 (1), 79–93. https://doi.org/10.1080/02673843.2019.1590851 (2020).

Boer, M. et al. Adolescents’ intense and problematic social media use and their well-being in 29 countries. J. Adol. Health 66 (6), 89–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.02.014 (2020).

McHugh, B. C., Wisniewski, P., Rosson, M. B. & Carroll, J. M. When social media traumatizes teens: The roles of online risk exposure, coping, and post-traumatic stress. Int. Res. 28 (5), 1169–1188. https://doi.org/10.1108/IntR-02-2017-0077 (2018).

Trnka, R., Martínková, Z. & Tavel, P. An integrative review of coping related to problematic computer use in adolescence. Int. J. Public Health 61 , 317–327. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-015-0693-8 (2016).

Chen, L., Ho, S. S. & Lwin, M. O. A meta-analysis of factors predicting cyberbullying perpetration and victimization: From the social cognitive and media effects approach. New Media Soc. 19 (8), 1194–1213. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444816634037 (2017).

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank the 2017/2018 HBSC survey team/network, the coordinator and the Data Bank Manager for granting us access to the datasets. We duly acknowledge all school children who participated in the surveys.

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Prince Peprah

Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Pfizer Research and Development, PSSM Data Sciences, Pfizer, Inc., Connecticut, USA

Michael Safo Oduro

Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

Godfred Atta-Osei

Centre for Social Research in Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Isaac Yeboah Addo

Concord Clinical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

Anthony Kwame Morgan

African Population and Health Research Center, Nairobi, Kenya

Razak M. Gyasi

National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, Faculty of Health, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Contributions

PP: conceptualization, methodology and writing; MOS: conceptualization, statistical methodology and analysis, and writing; GA-O: conceptualization and writing; IA: methodology and writing; RMG: conceptualization and writing. AKM: writing. All the authors reviewed and to the publication of this paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Anthony Kwame Morgan .

Ethics declarations

Competing interests.

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher's note.

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ .

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article.

Peprah, P., Oduro, M.S., Atta-Osei, G. et al. Problematic social media use mediates the effect of cyberbullying victimisation on psychosomatic complaints in adolescents. Sci Rep 14 , 9773 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-59509-2

Download citation

Received : 27 November 2023

Accepted : 11 April 2024

Published : 29 April 2024

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-59509-2

Share this article

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

  • Adolescent well-being
  • Psychosomatic complaints
  • Cyberbullying victimisation
  • Sleep quality
  • Social media use

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines . If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Quick links

  • Explore articles by subject
  • Guide to authors
  • Editorial policies

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

research social media trends

Read the practical framework for leveling up your social media team.

  • · Brandwatch Academy
  • Forrester Wave

Brandwatch Consumer Research

Formerly the Falcon suite

Formerly Paladin

Published April 18 th 2024

Girl Math: What’s Behind the Viral Trend and What Do Marketers Need to Know?

What is girl math, and how can brands tap into the trend?

Trends on TikTok quickly go viral, and it doesn't take long for them to take other social platforms by storm. 

Last year we had girl dinner, and now we have girl math. You can argue about how much this trend really has to do with math, but since the trend went viral, TikTok videos about girl math have been viewed 3.3 billion times at the time of writing. 

What's behind girl math, and how can brands tap into this trend for a chance to go viral? With Brandwatch Consumer Research , we took a look at the online conversation around girl math from public social posts, blogs, and forums from March 1, 2023 to February 29, 2024. 

Here's what we found.

What is girl math?

First things first. What is girl math? Using the term girl math, consumers are sharing their reasons for buying things they do not necessarily need. We all like to treat ourselves, and not every purchase we make is essential. That’s what girl math is all about. 

In posts tagged with girl math, consumers confess what things they buy and what they tell themselves so they don’t feel bad about those purchases. Bought something for less than five dollars? It's basically free. Bought something with cash you found in your bag? That's basically free. Or buying a jacket that your mom loves and wants to wear, too? It only costs half the price.

@kim.snbrg #fy #girlmath ♬ how i love being a woman - editdiaary

Where did the term "girl math" come from? It was first mentioned in late July 2023 on a podcast by three radio hosts from New Zealand. Their TikTok video quickly went viral and the phrase was picked up by other TikTokers who posted their own examples. It didn't take long for the trend to spread across the internet, causing online conversations to spike.

Brandwatch image

You might like

Spending, saving, investing: consumer finance trends for 2024.

How have consumer behaviors and preferences changed in regard to the financial services sector?

Relatable confessions

The virality of this trend isn't just that people are eager to jump on a new trend, but how relatable these justifications are. Seeing other people "fooling" themselves into spending money or buying things for free inspires us to think about our own mental gymnastics.

Free shipping is one example of this type of thinking. Adding more items to a shopping cart than originally planned to get free shipping gives the illusion of saving money.

Seeing other people thinking the same way can help consumers feel less bad about their shopping habits so it's no surprise that the mood in these discussions is overwhelmingly positive. The most common emotion expressed in online conversations about girl math is joy. Over 40% of emotion-categorized mentions are joyful, with consumers sharing funny and lighthearted posts. 

This lighthearted post on X, for example, got over 224k likes:

Feeding negative stereotypes

The girl math trend isn't without controversy. The second most expressed emotion in online conversations is sadness, taking up 26% of emotion-categorized mentions. What's behind this negative emotion? 

Critics of the girl math trend worry that, all fun aside, it can feed into negative stereotypes about women not knowing anything about finances and how to spend money responsibly.

The perception that women are not good with money is rooted in misogynistic attitudes. It took women a long time to gain their financial freedom, but these stereotypes persist to this day. In pop culture, a shopaholic is usually portrayed as a woman, and the Guardian found in a study that 65% of financial content aimed at women portrays them as excessive spenders who need to cut back.

Journalist Meredith Clark also sees the girls' math trend as a sign that women are still apologetic about their behavior. She writes in her Independent article : 

“It’s an age-old trope that women are always apologizing, for themselves and for others. Really, what girl math shows is that we’re even apologizing for what we choose to spend our money on. We can’t buy something just because it makes us happy.”

Behind the TikTok Trend: How Often Do You Think About the Roman Empire?

When trends transcend TikTok.

How can brands jump on the girl math trend?

Jumping on internet trends is a great opportunity for brands to connect with their target audience. While the online conversation around girl math is mostly fun, there is also some controversy. Brands need to be careful not to promote negative stereotypes or risk backlash . 

Here are some tips to consider before trying to tap into the girl math trend:

1. Keep an eye on emerging trends

In general, analyzing online conversations with consumer intelligence platforms like Brandwatch Consumer Research is a great way to keep an eye on emerging trends. It helps you identify trends early and get an idea of how people are talking about the trend. Pro tip: Look at the sentiment and see if there's any controversy –it may be better for your brand to stay away from the trend.

2. Does the trend fit your brand?

Once you know what the trend is about and how your target audience is talking about it, you'll want to think about how the trend fits with your brand. If your social media communication is more serious, it may not be a good idea to start posting a meme like everyone else. Instead, you might choose to educate your audience about the trend.

3. Keep the tone light and fun

This trend is not about being serious. It's about sharing relatable examples with a good portion of humor. The girl math trend is perfect for posting a meme on Instagram or a short funny video on TikTok. Keep it lighthearted, but don't forget that it has to be relevant to your brand and your audience.

4. Partner with influencers

Most girl math content is driven by personal accounts sharing their thoughts and creating funny memes. Partnering with influencers can not only expose you to a new audience, but influencers are usually good at spotting trends and turning them into fun and engaging content. Make sure to take their ideas into account – they may be able to take your content further than you’d imagined.

5. Take the opportunity to promote discounts

A funny and relatable meme from time to time is a great way to connect with your audience. But don't forget to consider what's in it for the consumer. Why not take advantage of the trend and promote your loyalty programs or offer a special discount? 

Here are some inspiring examples of brands using the girl math trend in their content:

Instagram post from Sephora

Tiktok video from nyx cosmetics.

@nyxcosmetics 5th night meal prepping shine loud 🍽️ og vid #credit @Flavia Jacintho #girlmath #girldinner #makeuphaul #nyxcosmetics ♬ original sound - NYX Professional Makeup

Instagram reel from Pizza Hut and content creator Anna Sitar

Tiktok video from five below.

@fivebelow the girl math all checks out to us 💁‍♀️ if your shopping haul was all deals, does it even count as real money? 🤔 #fivebelowfinds #girlmath ♬ original sound - Five Below - Five Below

The internet moves fast, and trends come and go in the blink of an eye. Brands that ignore these trends miss valuable opportunities to connect with their target audiences. Consumer intelligence platforms like Brandwatch Consumer Research can help companies identify emerging online trends and how consumers are talking about a specific topic. 

For more consumer finance trends, read our new report on the financial services sector.

Michaela Vogl

Marketing Content Specialist

Share this post

Brandwatch bulletin.

Offering up analysis and data on everything from the events of the day to the latest consumer trends. Subscribe to keep your finger on the world’s pulse.

Free report

How have consumer behaviors and preferences changed in the financial services sector?.

More in online trends

5 social media news stories you need to read right now.

By Yasmin Pierre May 3

Streaming Wars: The Most Common Customer Pain Points

By Michaela Vogl Apr 11

Saving, Spending, and Investing: The Biggest Consumer Trends in Finance for 2024

By Michaela Vogl Apr 9

Beyond Binge-Watching: What’s Trending in the Media and Entertainment Industry?

By Michaela Vogl Mar 13

We value your privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience and give you personalized content. Do you agree to our cookie policy?

By using our site you agree to our use of cookies — I Agree

Falcon.io is now part of Brandwatch. You're in the right place!

Existing customer? Log in to access your existing Falcon products and data via the login menu on the top right of the page. New customer? You'll find the former Falcon products under 'Social Media Management' if you go to 'Our Suite' in the navigation.

Paladin is now Influence. You're in the right place!

Brandwatch acquired Paladin in March 2022. It's now called Influence, which is part of Brandwatch's Social Media Management solution. Want to access your Paladin account? Use the login menu at the top right corner.

IMAGES

  1. 7 social media trends for consumers new research social media exami…

    research social media trends

  2. Using Social Media to Promote Research

    research social media trends

  3. 6 Unexpected Trends in 2018 Social Media Research

    research social media trends

  4. Social Media for Academics for the promotion of Scientific Research

    research social media trends

  5. 10 New & Useful Social Media Stats and Research Studies

    research social media trends

  6. Top 10 Social Media Research Studies for Public Relations Professionals

    research social media trends

VIDEO

  1. The harsh reality of social media!

  2. Beware of hidden agendas!

  3. RTM's Investment Benchmarks and Potential (Not Investment Advice)

COMMENTS

  1. Social Media Fact Sheet

    ABOUT PEW RESEARCH CENTER Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions.

  2. Social Media

    ABOUT PEW RESEARCH CENTER Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions.

  3. Social Media Trends 2024

    Sample: 4,420 respondents Source: Hootsuite Social Media Consumer 2024 Survey AI is inevitable on social, and scaling back on its use now would be like reverting from computers to typewriters. To thrive in this new environment, marketers and brands need to move beyond defining "real" and "authentic" based on whether something was created exclusively by a human.

  4. The 16 Most Important Social Media Trends for 2024

    2024 social media trends. 1. Text-only posts are the sleeper hit of the year (and X remains on top) 2. Social platforms will become the hottest new search engines. 3. Longer videos will make a big comeback. 4. Engagement will move from feeds to DMs.

  5. Social Media Trends in 2024

    On the contrary—social media data has the power to inform every area and team of your organization and improve your entire business, from product, to customer support to PR. According to the Index, 76% of marketers agree that their team's social insights inform other departments. And this trend is here to stay.

  6. The Future of Social Media: Key Trends and Predictions for 2023

    Overall, the future of social media in 2023 looks bright, with new opportunities for visual content, micro-influencers, e-commerce, chatbots, ephemeral content, and AI. By staying up-to-date on the latest trends and adapting their strategy accordingly, marketers will be well-positioned to succeed on social media in the year ahead. Share:

  7. Top Social Media Statistics And Trends Of 2024

    The social media advertising market is expected to reach $207 billion in 2023. Ready, set, launch: The social media advertising market is set to soar to an astounding $207.10 billion in 2023, with ...

  8. The Sprout Social Index Edition XIX: Breakthrough

    Breakthrough new trends in social media with data from the 2023 Sprout Social Index, based on surveys of over 1,800 consumers and 900 marketers. Download the report; ... This research was conducted online in the US and UK by Cint on behalf of Sprout Social. Participants included 1,817 consumers who follow at least five brands on social media.

  9. Qualitative and Mixed Methods Social Media Research:

    The upsurge of social media use has been coupled with increased interest in learning more about human interaction with social media and the type of content posted on social media sites. Prior literature reviews have collectively uncovered much regarding social media research trends and outcomes. The present literature review contributes to the ...

  10. Teens and social media: Key findings from Pew Research Center surveys

    Girls are more likely than boys to say it would be difficult for them to give up social media (58% vs. 49%). Older teens are also more likely than younger teens to say this: 58% of those ages 15 to 17 say it would be very or somewhat hard to give up social media, compared with 48% of those ages 13 to 14. Teens are more likely to say social ...

  11. Social Media Trends: 2024 Global Report

    The ultimate social media trends report. Global social media trends worth sharing in 2024. Go behind the screens with our flagship social media report. It's packed with all the social media statistics you need to supercharge your strategy in 2023 so you can understand: How to win consumers' attention. The impact of AI.

  12. The 2023 State of Social Media

    Despite current macroeconomic trends, social media budgets are expected to rise—but leaders are eyeing emerging technologies and other organizational changes to ensure maximum dividends. Key findings from the research include: 80% of business leaders anticipate their company's social media budget will increase in the next three years, and ...

  13. The 2023 Instagram Trend Report

    Scroll on to explore our 2023 Instagram Trend Report, and may the trends (and trendsetters) on the pages that follow inspire you all year long. Download the report *In October 2022, WGSN conducted a survey of 1,200 Gen Z social media users aged 16-24 across the United States.

  14. Social media brings benefits and risks to teens. Psychology can help

    Social media brings benefits and risks to teens. Psychology can help identify a path forward. New psychological research exposes the harms and positive outcomes of social media. APA's recommendations aim to add science-backed balance to the discussion. By Kirsten Weir Date created: September 1, 2023 15 min read.

  15. Social Media

    ABOUT PEW RESEARCH CENTER Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions.

  16. The HubSpot Blog's 2024 Social Media Marketing Report: Data from 1400

    Fortunately, I can lend my expertise — and that of the 1,460 marketing professionals HubSpot recently surveyed — to help you stay informed on the latest happenings in social media marketing. Yes, we asked 1,400+ global social media marketers about their biggest trends, goals, challenges, and strategies going into 2024.

  17. Global social media statistics research summary May 2024

    Global social media research summary April 2024: The most recent and relevant statistics to help inform your social media marketing strategy. Resources. ... The Pew Research Center news usage research is a very strong recent source showing US social media statistics trends in usage for news. Interestingly, nearly half of those surveyed used ...

  18. How To Use Social Media For Market Research

    Market research through social listening helps you know where consumers are going next, per 89% of business leaders, who said that social insights impacted how they predict future trends. Social media market research gives you a holistic view of the market so you can identify emerging trends and plan long-term and short-term growth campaigns.

  19. Research trends in social media addiction and problematic social media

    To achieve this objective and identify the research trends in social media addiction and problematic social media use, this study employs two bibliometric methodologies: performance analysis and science mapping. Performance analysis uses a series of bibliometric indicators (e.g., number of annual publications, document type, source type ...

  20. Social Media Trends Report + Expert Panel

    The brand research and product discovery process is now closely linked to influencer reviews, brand videos, and which product is the most searchable and easiest to buy. ... 2024 Social Media Trends Report. Gain insights into the top social trends of the year, gathered from over 1,500 global marketers. Get the Trends About Our Partner.

  21. How Americans view Big Tech in 2024

    Since 2020, more Americans - particularly Democrats - believe social media companies wield too much political power. Roughly eight-in-ten Americans (78%) say these companies have too much power and influence in politics today, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 10,133 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 7-11, 2024.

  22. What Are the Latest Social Media Trends to Follow in 2024?

    Elon Musk purchased Twitter in late 2022, rebranding it as X and removing many popular features from the original platform. So far, Bluesky has been the most successful Twitter alternative to hit the market. As of April 2024, the app has over 5.5 million users and is on a steady growth trajectory.

  23. The 2024 Social media demographics guide

    Editor's Note: This post was originally created in 2018 and has since been updated to reflect the latest data available. According to Statista, 61.4% of the world's population — a whopping 4.95 billion people — use social media.. That's a lot of social media demographic research to sort through when you want to zero in on understanding audience characteristics of specific platforms ...

  24. | Scientific Reports

    Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing

  25. Girl Math: What's Behind the Viral Trend and What Do ...

    1. Keep an eye on emerging trends. In general, analyzing online conversations with consumer intelligence platforms like Brandwatch Consumer Research is a great way to keep an eye on emerging trends. It helps you identify trends early and get an idea of how people are talking about the trend.

  26. 15 Emerging Social Media Trends To Leverage In Influencer ...

    15. Live Content On Instagram And TikTok. Live content on Instagram and TikTok continues to resonate with younger users. Influencers can leverage live content to interact more intimately with an ...