Industry Insights & Trends



The most popular social media platforms in Germany are YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger with WhatsApp being the most popular messaging app. Usually, Germans spend only 1 hour a day on social media, something that appears to have changed in the context of the 2020 lockdown. Millennials are the group that mainly uses social media as well as members of Generation Z. Successful branding, appears to be achieved through storytelling and the use of multiple platforms, with the optional use of influencers as long as these are a good fit for the brand. Older generations are more hesitant to use social media, and overall, privacy is a big concern for social media users in the country.

Social Media Usage

  • A Hootsuite report published in January 2020 revealed that there are approximately 38 million social media users in Germany. This represents a penetration of 45%. This is low compared to nearby countries such as the UK, where 67% of the population uses social media.
  • It has been estimated that these users spend on average 1 hour and 19 minutes of their day using any type of social media. The overall use of the internet amounts to a little over 4 hours.
  • Something to consider is that, according to a survey from May 2020, usage of social media has increased in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This survey, which included 1,000 people over the age of 16, states that approximately 75% of Germans used social media platforms during the lockdown. The main purpose of using social media was to get updated on the latest news.
  • Among all websites visited, YouTube ranks as the second one most-visited, with Facebook in fourth place.
  • This corresponds with the content people in Germany most often consume. It was found that 84% of users employ the internet to watch videos.
  • Approximately 97% of social media users access these platforms on their mobile phones.
  • WhatsApp, YouTube, and Facebook are the main social media platforms used in Germany. These are followed by Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and Pinterest.

Most Used Social Media Platforms

  • Something that differentiates YouTube use in Germany from other countries is that they do not often consume live content, preferring pre-recorded videos.
  • Furthermore, Facebook is also used to watch videos, with 33% of Germans using this platform for this purpose.
  • According to Social Media Stats, 72.21% of internet users in Germany used Facebook during August 2020.


  • The age group most commonly reached by social media advertising ranges from 25 to 34 years old.

Social Media Advertising ReachSource

  • When it comes to gender, Facebook shows an equal distribution with 50% of its users being males and 50% being females. In total, Facebook has an estimated ad reach of 38%.
  • Meanwhile, 47.6% of Instagram users are female while 52.4% are male. The ad reach for this platform is estimated at 29%.
  • Generation Z has shown increased use of Instagram, with 48% of those between 14-19 years of age visiting this platform daily. Snapchat is also a popular platform among this generation.
  • Also, Pinterest is increasingly popular with women over 30 years old, and it is used by 27% of social media users in the country.
  • According to a social media statistics aggregator, 39 million people used Facebook in Germany during August 2020. Of these, 50.7% were men and people between 25 and 34 years old were the largest group.
  • Instagram had approximately 25 million users in Germany during the same period. Of these, 51.3% were women, and the largest group was also between the ages of 25 and 34.
  • Facebook Messenger had 26 million users during this time. 50.3% of them were women, and the largest group was, once again, those between 25 and 34 years old.

Brand Preferences

  • An academic study published in 2018 revealed that brands that had won social media awards often used a storyline to connect with their customers.
  • There were two main ways in which the storylines were communicated, including the use of a hashtag encouraging people to interact with the company, or the use of tools external to social media, adding media coverage to the campaign.
  • Interactions between companies and consumers are more informal on Facebook, except for companies in the finance realm. When it comes to the type of media use, photos stand out over text across most platforms.
  • Instagram posts generally appeal more to emotions and feelings, something that was seen across different segments.
  • According to WordBank, 80% of users that like the content of a brand on Facebook will purchase a product from this brand.
  • During August 2020, the top 5 industries on Facebook were e-commerce, retail, services, food, and fashion according to the number of fans.

Popular Accounts

  • The most popular YouTube channels in Germany are Kontor.TV with 5,250,000 subscribers; Gronkh, with 4,870,00 subscribers; and The Voice Kids, with 5,320,000 subscribers.
  • Meanwhile, the most popular Facebook pages in the country are Mesut Özil with 30,896,927 fans; the football club Borussia Dortmund, with 15,140,659 fans; and Hashem Al-Ghaili, with 14,946,290 fans.
  • Lastly, the most popular influencer accounts on Instagram are the account of James Rodríguez, with 46 million followers; Robert Lewandowski, with 19 million followers; and Bibis Beauty Palace, with 7.7 million followers. Bibi also has a large following on YouTube with 5,9 million subscribers.

Perception of Social Media

  • Regarding general internet use, 38% of users express concern about what is real and what is not on the internet. In addition, 54% of users are concerned about how companies use their data.
  • Messaging in German is preferred, and it should achieve the right tone as well as be direct. That said, intelligent humor is appreciated by users.
  • The fact that 37% of Germans are over 55 years old is also a factor in social media adoption in the country. Younger generations are more likely to use these platforms, with 80% of Millennials being social media users.
  • It is also believed that the history of the country regarding government intervention and privacy infringement increases the reticence of older generations to get involved with social media.
  • Also, privacy is highly valued by Germans, and liking social media pages of businesses can be seen as giving too much away regarding their preferences.
  • When it comes to influencer marketing, ambassadors are expected to fit the brand they are representing. Authenticity is highly valued according to an influencer marketing report focused on this country.
  • While brands can get greater attention by using influencers, brand linkage will not be as strong if there is not an authentic feel to the promotion.
  • It is broadly assumed that one of the reasons why Twitter is not a popular platform is because of the length of German words. Therefore, 280 characters are not enough for most users.
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at Simple Manifestation with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.


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