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The Latest Trends on Social Media Apps - Q1 2023

Plateauing user growth has prompted a focus on engagement and monetization for social media apps. Meta’s Facebook and Instagram both saw meaningful accelerations in user time spent during the quarter. Meanwhile, from a revenue point of view, TikTok came on strong as a popular channel for U.S. advertisers, gaining an increased share of U.S. CPG advertiser spend.

Blog lead image - Social media trends

Social Media App User Growth is Slowing

User growth on social media apps has continued to decelerate from pandemic-fueled highs reached in 2020 and 2021.

Sensor Tower data indicates that Snapchat was the sole social media app to post double-digit YoY growth in users, with Daily Active Users (DAUs) accelerating by 13% YoY in 1Q23. The same quarter in 2022 was close, with 15% growth. .

Social Media Trends Q1 23 - Growth

Here's how the top social apps compare for Q1 2023 DAUs:

Snapchat +13% vs +15% in 1Q22

Instagram +5% vs +18% in 1Q22

TikTok +4% vs +43% in 1Q22

Facebook +1% vs +4% in 1Q22

Twitter -3% vs +11% in 1Q22

Twitter was the only social media app to see user growth trend down vs the prior year as the service is seeing some headwinds post Elon Musk acquisition.

As the penetration of smartphone users reaches saturation and opportunities in prospective markets slows, social media companies face an ongoing battle for consumer attention, a necessity to bolstering user loyalty and increasing user monetization via ads.

Social Media App Engagement Trends in 1Q23

TikTok  Despite regulatory ire and calls for a potential banning in one of its key markets, TikTok remains one of the leaders in engagement per user, but YoY trends are decelerating (only +2% YoY). 

Meta Meta Platforms Facebook and Instagram saw meaningful growth in time spent in 1Q23: Facebook grew 12% YoY (1.3 billion hours/day) while Instagram increased 16% (935 million hours/day). Both Facebook and Instagram have benefitted from the popularity of short-form video with Reels in addition to continued usage of legacy social media features such as stories, photo & video feed, and messaging.

Snapchat and Twitter User engagement on Snapchat remained stable in the quarter with users logging 116 million hours/day (+2% YoY, flat QoQ) on the app. On the other hand, Twitter experienced significant headwinds to its user engagement in the first quarter as consumers grew less interested and more frustrated with the platform. In 1Q23, users spent 99 million hours/day on Twitter, down 6% YoY (-5% QoQ), and the lowest out of all the studied social media platforms.

TikTok Popularity Among U.S. Advertisers Increases, Despite Cautious Macro Environment

Many of the same issues plaguing the advertising industry from 2022 have largely carried over into 2023 as economic uncertainty has led to a cautious approach in ad spending for most major U.S. brands.

As brands sought to optimize their marketing efforts amidst a tougher economic climate, ad dollars to specific social media channels has shifted - bring with a shift in the popularity of those channels. Despite regulatory ire and calls for a potential banning in one of its key markets, TikTok remains one of the leaders in engagement per user. The outcome? TikTok emerged as a lead channel for U.S. advertisers given its broad appeal and heavily engaged user base.   Per Pathmatics U.S. advertiser data, nine out of the top ten categories of U.S. advertisers on TikTok spent more on the platform in 1Q23 vs 1Q22, increasing ad spend by a collective average of 46% YoY.

Social Media Trends Q1 23 - TikTok

Further, TikTok grew its share of total US ad spending across the largest categories for social media with Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), Food & Drink Services, Media, and Health & Wellness advertisers all moving a greater portion of their budgets towards the short-form video giant and away from other social networks.

SNAP, Crackle, Pop: Snapchat Engagement and In App Purchase Revenue Trends


Total hourly engagement for Snapchat is only a fraction of Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. According to Sensor Tower data engagement trends show that Snapchat behaves more like a messaging app than a photo / video sharing platform. 

Social Media Trends Q1 23 - Snap

In 1Q23, US Snapchat users registered an average 120 sessions / week vs 104 on Instagram, 82 on TikTok, 79 on Facebook, and 58 on Twitter. Snapchat’s higher session count per week resembles that of messaging apps such as WhatsApp which saw US users log 116 sessions/week in 1Q23. This suggests that U.S. Snapchat users are using the app remarkably different than short-form video centric apps (like TikTok) or legacy social media apps (like Facebook), with Snapchat users likely utilizing the app as a messaging platform rather than as an entertainment hub, which is probably just a follow-on feature for its users.


As advertising demand has softened amidst economic uncertainty and changes to advertising on Apple devices, social media networks have pivoted to paid subscriptions for users to create alternative streams of revenue. Last year, Snapchat launched its premium subscription for users, Snapchat+, which allows users to enjoy functions and features such as priority story replies, story boosts, bitmoji backgrounds, best friend pins, and a slew of others. Sensor Tower data indicates that since the summer 2022 launch of Snapchat+, consumers have spent more than $82 million on subscriptions to the service.

As of the beginning of April, our data indicates that there are roughly 3 million monthly Snapchat+ subscribers. Although these numbers might look big, gross in-app purchase (IAP) revenue from subscriptions to Snapchat+ represents less than 3% of total U.S. advertising revenue in 2022. During that same period, Snapchat posted $3.1 billion in U.S. ad revenue. 

Twitter Continues To See Decreases in U.S. Advertising Spend in Top Categories

Social Media Trends Q123 - Twitter-Chart

Twitter has been vulnerable to the loss of advertiser dollars due to competitive headwinds, a softening ad market, and more specifically internal strife at the company post-acquisition.

Per Pathmatics U.S. advertiser data, six out of the top ten categories of U.S. advertisers on Twitter spent significantly less on the platform in 1Q23 vs 1Q22 with those six categories of advertisers decreasing ad spend by a collective average of 53% YoY.

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Abraham Yousef

Written by: Abraham Yousef, Senior Insights Analyst

Date: April 2023