App installs and user time spent have been following similar trends. In 2022, app engagement experienced an increase of only three percent year-over-year, while between 2019 and 2022, the time spent using mobile apps for global users increased by approximately 46 percent. Similarly, app downloads experienced a slowing growth trend between 2022 and 2023, reaching 257 billion installs, up by less than one percent year-over-year.
Social video engagement moves to reach saturationIn 2023, the short video format popularized by the ByteDance-owned app TikTok continued to command a high level of attention. As Instagram, YouTube, and even text-first platform Reddit added the format to cater to users’ preferences and keep audiences engaged, video is estimated to be on track to occupy over 60 percent of users’ time on social media by 2025. Social video might experience slowing growth trends compared to the first years after TikTok’s launch, while YouTube's in-app feature Shorts is expected to keep competition high for the Chinese-based social media.
Goodbye tweeting, hello microbloggingFrom Bluesky to Threads, the October 2022 acquisition of Twitter — now renamed X — has prompted the creation of several microblogging social platforms. Decentralized hub Mastodon reached its peak of 2.5 million monthly active users (MAU) between October and November 2022, and climbed back to 2.1 million MAU when Twitter announced its rebranding into X in July 2023. Meta-powered Threads experienced a moment of popularity at the beginning of July 2023, reaching 44 million daily active users on July 7, 2024, only to see its daily engagement numbers decrease drastically by the end of the year.
Slowing app growth and normalizing spending trends have characterized the immediate post-pandemic years. The digital market volatility affecting social media companies did not make a dent into users’ fascination with TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram. Social video still attracts app engagement and mobile advertising spending – but microblogging and text-based social media have experienced a resurgence in 2023.