What Do People Do Online?

Guest post by Johnathan Blakely, Broadbandsearch.net

Since the internet became mainstream in the 1990s, it has rapidly become an integral part of our lives. Most of us can’t go more than an hour without checking our phones, and “Google It!” has become a part of our daily language.

However, a fair question to ask is: what do people actually do online?

The internet is such a vast ocean of information that one can do pretty much anything. But despite having so much at our fingertips, most of us use the internet for the same core activities.

Broadband Search has compiled stats about internet use in 2019, and these numbers can help us wrap our head around not only how much we use the internet, but also why we spend so much time on the web.

You can read the full report here, but to save you some time, here are some of the highlights.


Due to the ubiquity of the phrase “Google it,” it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that people use the internet mainly to search for information. In fact, Google is the number one most-visited site in the world, according to the Alexa rankings.

Pinning down exactly what people search for is difficult, but here’s a list of the most common search terms people use along with the search volumes for each:

  • weather (24.4 million)
  • maps (20.4 million)
  • translate (18.3 million)
  • calculator (16.2 million)
  • YouTube to MP3 (13.7 million)

These terms are just the most popular. Overall, Google processes more than 3.5 billion searches every single day, which is equivalent to more than 1.2 trillion searches per year.


The next most common thing people do on the internet is watch videos. YouTube is obviously a huge part of this. It’s ranked number two on the Alexa ranking, behind Google and in front of Facebook. YouTube has more than 1 billion unique monthly visitors.

But YouTube isn’t the only place people go for video content. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime all receive tons of traffic. 45 percent of people globally watch at least one hour of online video content per day.

Social Media

Some may be surprised to see this is not the number one thing people do online. However, that it’s not in the top spot is not an indicator that social media is not popular. Overall, there are more than 3 billion social media users around the world.

With more than 2 billion active users, Facebook is the most popular platform. Next is Facebook Messenger and Instagram (both owned by Facebook), and then Twitter, LinkedIn, and SnapChat.

In total, Facebook is the third most visited site in the world behind Google and YouTube.


After searching, watching videos, and perusing social media, shopping is the most common online activity.

The world of e-commerce has seen significant growth over the years as more and more people get used to the comfort and convenience of shopping online.

To give you an idea, consider that global e-commerce sales last year were more than 650 billion. And things are not expected to slow down. Soon, e-commerce could be the leader in the retail space.


Most of use the internet to search for information, watch videos, check up on friends and family, and shop. However, as the web continues to advance and offer more features, perhaps we’ll find new ways to use this awesome tool in the future.

Try This to Increase Your LinkedIn Post Views

Building your personal brand on LinkedIn takes a lot of time and patience. It is not enough to have a profile. You need to get the attention of the people you want to influence.

To be effective on LinkedIn, you need to provide content of value, engage with your network, and reach the right people through your posts.

Get More Post Views

As with all social platforms, LinkedIn wants its members to stay on the platform and engage there. Its algorithms favor certain content types over the others. Understanding what is favored is important to your success.

If you want to maximize your LinkedIn post reach, post text-based content without links. Crazy, but true. You don’t want to link your posts to anything.

While you don’t want to have links, you do want to cover these favored elements:

  • Use a LinkedIn hashtag
  • Provide information that is targeted at your intended audience
  • Share stories on topics that your network cares about

Pair Articles with Status Posts

LinkedIn articles give you a chance to create content that your connections value. Articles that fall into your area of expertise and that do not have links have the greatest chance of success.

But you can’t simply publish articles. You need to do more to make sure that content gets seen.

To help boost the reach of your LinkedIn article, create an all-text, shortened version and post it as a status update on your profile.

Next, make a comment on your post (yes, your own post) and include the link to the article in that comment. LinkedIn’s algorithm demotes posts with links, so put the link into the comments.

Your reach numbers are just the first step. You also need to engage with readers, particularly those who provide feedback through likes, comments or shares. Be sure to engage with everyone who acts on your content in any way.

Online Audience Is Stable But Demanding

The percentage of Americans who go online, use social media, or own key devices has remained stable the past two years, according to Pew Research Center data.

  • The shares of U.S. adults who say they use the internet, use social media, own a smartphone or own a tablet computer are all nearly identical to the shares who said so in 2016.
  • The share who say they have broadband internet service at home currently stands at 65% – nearly identical to the 67% who said this in a survey conducted in summer 2015.
  • There has actually been a small dip in the overall numbers of computer owners over the last two years – from 78% in 2016 to 73% today.

For marketers, the online audience has arrived. Growth will not come from increased volume of potential connections, it will come from strategic efforts to engage with people who are already online.

What do they want? Authentic, personalized engagement with you. According to recent research from Slackla, audiences crave authenticity online. They are also looking for personalized experiences.

Brands that are able to tap into these needs will succeed in capturing the attention of people who are online and waiting.