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Report: Meta driving growth in social video time spent

June 3, 2024

This year, for the first time, social video will account for over 10 per cent of all US time spent with digital media. That’s a major milestone and reflects the changing nature of where and how people consume video content, reports eMarketer. While TikTok still dominates social video, Meta’s Reels has made major gains, and that’s having a ripple effect across the entire TV and video landscape.

Between 2019 and 2022, Meta’s share of total time spent with social video in the US fell from 51.8 per cent to 37.4 per cent, as TikTok steadily chipped away at time spent on Facebook and Instagram. But 2023 was a turning point for Meta, and eMarketer expects it to account for 40.8 per cent of US adults’ social video time this year.

“Facebook and Instagram are now video-first platforms,” said Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst at eMarketer. “Reels doesn’t have the cultural cachet of TikTok, but it has grown up and out of TikTok’s shadow. Even without the prospect of a TikTok ban, which would likely send many users and advertisers to Instagram, Reels is thriving.”


Last year was also the first time that video accounted for the majority (51.2 per cent) of time spent on Meta’s properties. Given Meta’s size, that represents a major shift in both social and total media usage. At 20 minutes per day, Meta video will account for 5 per cent of all time spent by US adults with linear and digital TV in 2024.

“The lines between social and video platforms have blurred,” said Enberg. “Meta is not so-subtly courting TikTok creators through algorithmic changes that aid discovery for smaller Instagram accounts, while TikTok is steadily encroaching on YouTube’s turf with longer videos. YouTube is challenging streaming video players like Netflix as it moves further into CTV.”

Video is driving rare growth in Facebook time spent. Our latest forecast estimates time spent on Facebook by US adult users will rise by 1.2 per cent YoY in 2024, a reversal from the previous forecast when eMarketer predicted that time spent on Facebook would decline by 1.7 per cent. The upcoming US election is expected to drive some additional usage. But Reels is the primary driver of the unusual upgrade of the forecast, with time spent on video among users expected to grow by 9.4 per cent this year.

“After years of declines, the unexpected bump in time spent is good news for Facebook,” said Enberg. “But it won’t last past this year, and Facebook is still facing stagnation in overall time spent on the platform. Twenty years after its launch, Facebook isn’t where the cool college students hang out anymore, and that’s a headwind to its longer-term growth prospects.”

Last year was significant for Instagram: Time spent on the app among US adult users rose by 9.5 per cent to 34 minutes, which is over 4 percentage points higher than our previous growth forecast of 5.3 per cent. Reels is the main reason for the growth (and the additional boost) in time spent. eMarketer expects video will continue to be the primary driver of engagement on Instagram this year.


Meta’s fortunes are improving, but time spent on both Instagram and Facebook still pale in comparison with TikTok. eMarketer expects US adult TikTok users to spend an average of 54 minutes on the app in 2024. That’s 3 minutes more than users will spend on YouTube and 19 minutes more than users will spend on Instagram. Virtually all TikTok time is spent on video.

“TikTok is tops for social video, but time spent growth has plateaued,” said Enberg. “Part of that slowdown is natural given the enormous amount of time users already spend on the app. TikTok is working hard to reverse that trend through longer videos and shopping, but those efforts have yet to make much of a difference. The good news is that they aren’t hurting it, either.”

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