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Social media statistics in the UK

Social media statistics in the UK

More than three-quarters of the UK’s total population are active on social media, compared to just 58.4% globally. And, as a mobile-first nation, usage rates are astronomically high - with the latest social media statistics stating that 84.3% of social media users have been active within the last month and the average user spends over 2.36 hours logged on. This represents a great opportunity and a great challenge in equal measure.


Clearly, with such a high percentage of the country signed up, there is a good spread across all demographics. Different platforms do, however, attract a different type of person and it’s important, as a brand, to understand where your community gathers.

Social media statistics in the UK

An Overview

We will start at the beginning by taking a quick look at the overall picture of social media usage in the UK, prior to diving deeper into individual platforms and key trends:

Deeper dive into demographics

Using Talkwalker’s Quick Search, we are able to take a deeper look into the social media stats in the UK related to demographics.

Bar graph showing the split between different age brackets

Age distribution on social media in the United Kingdom (2022).
Source: Talkwalker Quick Search

As is to be expected, the vast majority of UK social media users are between the ages of 18-34 - with this age bracket accounting for 76.5% of total users. However, it is interesting to observe a significant change in the distribution after COVID-19: + 5 percentage points compared to 2019.

Bar graph showing the split between different genders and pronouns

Gender distribution on social media in the United Kingdom (2022).
Source: Talkwalker Quick Search

The gender mix shows a majority of users identifying as she/her in the past year with a proportion of 51%.

Pie chart showing the split between different languages

Language distribution on social media in the United Kingdom (2022).
Source: Talkwalker Quick Search

Of course, it is to be expected that English would dominate UK social media, but it’s interesting to see the other languages included in the Top 10 - surprisingly, Turkish and Japanese are in 2nd and 3rd place, respectively.


Top 10 hashtags

  • #NFT
  • #LoveIsland
  • #NFTGiveaway
  • #Ukraine
  • #NFTs
  • #NFTCommunity
  • #MUFC
  • #TheBatman
  • #stop
  • #dogs

Top 50 emoji

Emoji cloud showing the most used emojis on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Top 50 emoji on social media in the United Kingdom (2022).
Source: Talkwalker Quick Search

The top posts per platform

Taking the UK’s three most popular social media platforms, we will now take a look at some of the most popular posts of 2022.

Most popular social media platforms in the UK, Q2 2022.

Source: YouGov

According to YouGov, Facebook comes out on top as the most popular social media platform in the UK; Instagram, comes in a close second, followed by Twitter. But when it comes to popularity, the three giants all fall short, leaving the top spot to Apple owned iMessage.

This is the list when you consider all users, but of course it does vary based on demographics - with the likes of LinkedIn and Pinterest also making the top 3 within certain groups (women, baby boomers).

Facebook stats

  • 67.2% of UK internet users are on Facebook

  • There are 46.5m active monthly users

  • Average engagement rate for a post is 1.01%, with 0.81% for photos, and 0.61% for videos

Top 10 Facebook influencers in the United Kingdom (ranked by engagement)

Sports dominate on the world’s largest social media platform, with three footballers taking up the top three spots. In fact, there are a total of six football players in the top 10.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo
2. Lionel Messi
3. Mohamed Salah
4. Lee Minho

5. Karim Benzema
6. Black Pink
7. Gareth Bale
8. M-TP
9. Vinicius Jr
10. Britney Spears

Top Facebook influencers in the UK (2022)
Source: Talkwalker Quick Search

Instagram stats

  • There are 36.4m Instagram users in the UK (+11.7m vs 2019)

  • This puts the country in 9th position globally (Statista)

  • 55.4% of UK Instagram users are female (Statista)

Top 5 Instagram posts in the UK (2021)

The sporting theme continues with the strong presence of football: Cristiana Ronaldo topping the list and Lionel Messi appearing 3 times in the top 10 posts.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

2. Ariana Grande

3. Kylie Jenner

4. Billie Eilish

5. Lionel Messi

Top 10 Instagram influencers in the UK (2022)

The below rankings is based on quality audience and authentic engagement from users within the UK.

1. @thebodycoach

2. @ksi

3. @mrshinchhome

4. @caradelevingne

5. @mrsgifletcher

6. @alexachung

7. @joe_sugg

8. @eddiehallwsm

9. @zoesugg

10. @pewdiepie


UK Twitter stats

  • 36% of people aged 13+ can be reached with adverts on Twitter (The Social Sheperd)

  • It’s the 8th most popular mobile app in terms of active users (Forbes)

  • The UK comes 6th globally for the number of Twitter users (Statista)

Most engaged Twitter posts in the UK (Jan-July 2022)

The list of the most engaged Tweets provides a clear illustration of how different the platform is from Facebook.

Although there are footballers and celebrities within the top influencers on the platform, the most engaged posts tend to result from a more organic virality - as opposed to being reliant on the number of followers a specific account has.

1. @hwardcowan

Map showing the journey of a tweet as it gets viral and reshared across a period of time. Here, 2 months.

A virality map of the UK’s most engaged Tweet of 2022
Source: Talkwalker Quick Search

2. @Harry_Styles

3. @BrunswickPkTRA

4. @nikki_mcmullen

5. @IFPI_org

Top 10 TikTok influencers in the UK (2022), ranked by engagement

TikTok also presents different results from Facebook. The list of the most influential creators are not household brands or celebrities. Very much like Twitter, success on the social media platform is always due to organic virality with social media users going from nothing to international fame in a heartbeat.

Table showing the top 10 influencers on TikTok, ranked by engagement

Top TikTok influencers in the UK (2022). Source: Talkwalker Quick Search

A strategy for each platform

As is apparent from the above results, the type of people, brands, and posts that gain traction vary from platform to platform. It is, therefore, imperative to ensure that you are strategising per platform and communicating to each segment of your audience where they are and in a tone that they are receptive to. Book a free demo with our team to turn on your consumer intelligence and get up-to-the-minute insights on your audience!