Meta’s Instagram and Facebook are growing faster than TikTok

  • Meta had seen the dominance of apps like Facebook and Instagram erode amid the rise of TikTok.
  • The Chinese platform ushered in a new era of short-form video on social media that remains popular.
  • With rival products like Reels and Threads gaining ground, Meta is seeing reinvigorated user growth.

For the first time in a long time, Meta’s most popular apps outperform TikTok in several key metrics.

Facebook and Instagram’s third-quarter app downloads, daily usage, and monthly usage all increased globally, whereas TikTok’s metrics remained stable. It’s a positive turn for Meta since the end of 2021, when Facebook’s user base fell for the first time in history and saw only modest growth elsewhere. Meta experienced another first a few months later when its revenue fell. The company, led by co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, was battered by comparisons to TikTok and investors who desired more growth and less metaverse. They eventually got it.

According to Apptopia data, the Facebook app’s daily active users increased by 1.5% and monthly active users increased by 1.8% during the third quarter. Instagram’s daily users increased by 1.5%, while monthly users increased by 1.6%. While both apps experienced a drop in downloads, down 3.8% for Facebook and 2.2% for Instagram, they performed better than TikTok. Downloads of that app, which is owned by China’s Bytedance, fell 12% during the quarter, while daily and monthly users both fell by about 1%.

Evercore research revealed a similar trajectory for all three apps. According to SensorTower data, Evercore discovered that daily usage of Facebook and Instagram has been flat this year, while daily users of TikTok have dropped 4% over the same period.

Evercore also investigated engagement, or when people do more than just open an app and click, like, or comment on content, as well as spend time on the app. Instagram engagement has increased the most this year, increasing by 9%, while TikTok engagement has increased by 8%. Both apps outperformed Facebook’s engagement growth, which is only 2% this year, though that’s a much better showing than the majority of 2021 and 2022, when engagement fell for several quarters.

“Overall, Facebook and Instagram both saw continued year-over-year growth in user engagement to near record high levels and solidly above 2019 levels, with modestly more constructive trends from Facebook,” Evercore stated in a note released last month.

According to Meta’s quarterly report, Facebook’s total number of daily users, including web users, increased by 5%, while monthly users increased by 3%. According to the company, daily and monthly users increased by 7% across all of its apps.

TikTok still outperforms Facebook and Instagram in one metric: average user time spent on the app. Evercore discovered that the average TikTok user spends “a whopping” 100 minutes per day, or nearly two hours, on the app. The average Instagram user spends 58 minutes per day on the app, while the average Facebook user spends 45 minutes.

Meta, on the other hand, has two new areas of development. Reels, Instagram’s short-form video feature that launched in the fall of 2021 to compete with TikTok, is gaining traction. In its quarterly report, Meta stated that Reels is now “revenue neutral,” which means it is no longer losing money for the company. In a recent video, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri also stated that Reels now accounts for “about half of the time spent on Instagram.”

Threads, a Meta app launched in July to compete with Twitter, is another option. Early excitement faded quickly, but as more features were added to the app, users returned. Currently, the app has approximately 33 million daily users and 100 million monthly users. In discussing quarterly results, Zuckerberg stated that he is “very happy” with Threads’ growth thus far and stated his goal of reaching 1 billion users.

“If we keep at this for a few more years,” he went on to say, “we have a chance of achieving our vision there.”

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