The digital world passed another huge milestone today, with InternetLiveStats reporting that the number of global internet users has just passed the 3 billion mark.
InternetLiveStats extrapolates its numbers from data provided by the ITU, the World Bank, and the United Nations, so the timing won't be exact; however, the number remains a very useful guide to the continuing growth of the internet around the world.
Read on for our analysis of those numbers, and what they mean for marketers.
2014 has seen steady growth in internet usage, with current trends suggesting that global users are increasing by more than 5% year-on-year.
Critically, Statista reports that roughly three-quarters of the world's 3 billion users access the internet via mobile devices, and this ratio is steadily increasing as data connections become more accessible in developing nations.
Some of the world's leading social networks released new user data in the past month too, with Facebook and Twitter both publishing updated user figures in October:
Facebook's active user based showed growth of 2.3% in the past quarter, reaching 1.35 billion in time for the company's latest quarterly report last week.
However, Facebook's data also suggest that growth in some of the platform's key countries - notably India and Indonesia - has slowed considerably in recent months, although our understanding is that this is likely due to Facebook 'purging' fake accounts, rather than an actual loss of interest in the world's largest social network.
Twitter's new numbers show that the platform now claims 284 million active users around the world, which, despite the stock market's reaction, still demonstrates steady growth.
Digital Statshot 002 also includes active user active user numbers for a host of additional platforms this month, including Skype and Viber.
The on-going rise of mobile chat apps continues to be 2014's hottest social media story, and with WhatsApp, WeChat, and LINE all showing strong growth in recent months, this trend looks set to dominate well into 2015 too:
This trend is mirrored by the continuing rise of mobile social networking too, with data from Facebook, Tencent and VKontakte indicating that more than 80% of the world's social media users now access via mobile devices.
Please note that, following Tencent's announcement that it will no longer support its Tencent Weibo platform, we've removed this from our reporting, as we believe that this move indicates that Tencent believes marketers would be better to use one of the company's other platforms (which include QQ, QZone and WeChat).
Also, despite registering more than 1 billion monthly active users, we have opted not to include YouTube data in this report, as social connectivity is not the site's primary function.
Mobile continues to register impressive growth around the world too, with GSMA Intelligence registering almost 1 million new unique users every day since our last report - that's more than 11 new users every second.
The total number of active subscriptions continues to grow too, and at 7.267 billion, the number of connections is rapidly approaching the same figure as the world's total population, which today stands at 7.272 billion according to Worldometers.
However, it's important to note that the average mobile user still maintains more than 2 active mobile subscriptions, and global mobile penetration still hovers around the 50% mark:
Get more numbers in our Digital Statshot 002 report on SlideShare.