The most popular social media sites in 2018
- WhatsApp Messenger
You’re probably familiar with the usual suspects: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. But did you know that’s just scraping the surface of the social media world? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go through the 15 most popular social networking sites and apps in the United States.
If you’re a social media marketing professional, you’re well aware that selecting a social networking platform is all about understanding where your audience is. This guide will break down each platform by monthly users, audience demographic, Alexa rank, and much more. If you’re looking for the authoritative guide on all of the most popular social media platforms, you’ve found it!
Top social media platforms by number of users
The interactive image below will give you a visual representation of each social network based on its user count. The five largest networks are clearly identifiable based on the size of each bubble.
Facebook takes the no. 1 spot (surprise, surprise), with more than 2.2 billion monthly active users. In second place comes YouTube, with a staggering 1.8 billion monthly active users. Next comes WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, with 1.5 billion and 1.3 billion monthly active users, respectively. And in fifth place, we have Instagram, with 1 billion monthly active users.
Shockingly, Twitter and Snapchat don’t break the top five, coming in at eighth and tenth, respectively. Kik pulls up the rear with 51 million monthly active users.
Take a moment to interact with this visual. Hover your mouse over the name of each social networking platform to see how many users it receives every month.
Social Media Sites
Below, we have a list of the 15 most popular social media platforms by monthly active users. We’ll highlight the year the company was founded, as well as its founders, CEO, and headquarters. Additionally, we’ve gathered the estimated organic traffic and both U.S. and Global Alexa Ranks for each platform’s website.
An Alexa Rank is a ranking based on a websites’ average daily unique visitors and the estimated number of page views over the past three months. Basically, the more traffic a website has, the lower its Alexa Rank is (with Google holding the coveted no. 1 spot).
What is Facebook?
Let’s start with a quick refresher. Facebook was founded in 2004 by current CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. He built the social networking platform out of his college dorm room as a platform exclusively for Harvard University students. However, it was such a hit Zuckerberg quickly offered access to other universities in Boston, then to other Ivy League schools, and by 2005, anybody with an .edu email address could register for a profile.
In 2006, Facebook opened up access to anybody over the age of 13. From there, its user growth has absolutely exploded. Take a look at the visual below to see how quickly the social media giant acquired users over the years.
What is YouTube?
Youtube is a video-sharing social network founded in 2005 by three former PayPal employees. Just 20 short months after its inception, the site was bought by Google for $1.65 billion. Today, it operates as one of Google’s subsidiaries.
Youtube has two primary groups of users – those who upload videos and those who watch videos. However, many of the 1.8 billion monthly users fall into both categories. Users are able to upload, view, rate, share, and comment on videos or subscribe to an entire channel that they like. Those new to Youtube can leverage further readings on how to upload a video to Youtube.
The video content on Youtube includes video clips, music videos, short films, video blogging, educational videos, and more. Plenty of the content is uploaded by individual contributors; Although, in recent times, many major brands and even media corporations have found their way to the video-sharing site.
In 2018, Youtube unveiled its newest service, YouTube TV. The subscription-cable replacement offers live TV for customers to stream on their phones, tablets, and televisions without the typical subscription and contract.
Fun Fact: Youtube is the world’s second largest search engine (behind Google), beating out Google competitors BING and DuckDuckGo, a search engine with an emphasis on privacy.
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a social networking app primarily for sharing images and videos. Users can create a free profile with a unique Instagram handle where they can share photos and videos (up to one minute long) with their followers. They can also follow users who post content that is relevant to them, whether it’s their friends or favorite celebrities. Users then interact with other users’ profiles by liking or commenting on their content. Additionally, Instagram offers one-to-one and group messaging between users and the ability to save photos to various collections.
The photo-sharing app was founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in 2010. Instagram rapidly gained popularity, acquiring 1 million registered users in just two months. After three rounds of funding, Instagram was acquired by Facebook on April 9, 2012, for a relatively modest $1 billion. Today, Instagram is especially popular among celebrities and influencers, who use the platform to give their followers “day in the life” content. Instagram marketing has also disrupted the social media marketing game for businesses.
What is Tumblr?
Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking site that allows users to post text, photos, links, videos, and more. The platform, which is especially popular among teens and young adults (you have to be 13 years of age to register for your own blog), is similar to Instagram in that users can follow other users’ blogs and interact with them. However, while Instagram requires an image, Tumblr posts can consist of only text, only images or videos, or a combination.
The platform was founded by David Karp in 2007. Although it was acquired by Yahoo! in 2013, Tumblr maintained its headquarters in New York.
What is Google+?
Google+ is Google’s fourth social networking service, following Google Buzz (retired in 2011), Google Friend Connect (retired in 2012), and Orkut (retired in 2013). Similar to Facebook, the social network enables users to post photos and status updates to the stream (the equivalent to Facebook’s feed), connect with friends and family, and chat or video call privately or in groups with other users in Google Hangouts.
While the service launched in 2011, it hasn’t announced any new features since its most recent redesign in November 2015. The numbers below are up-to-date, but you’ll have to take the Alexa Ranks with a grain of salt. Because Google+ lives on Google’s primary domain, it shares the coveted no. 1 spot.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a social networking plan where users can post and interact with 280-character (increased from the original 140-character) messages known as Tweets. The service, which is available as both a mobile app and a desktop version, is similar to Tumblr and Instagram in that the content a user posts will appear in their followers’ feeds, and vice versa. Users can also accompany their tweets with images, videos, gifs, and hyperlinks.
New users should utilize resources to properly learn how to set up a Twitter account as well as learn advanced Twitter features, such as how to pin a Tweet, to take full advantage of the platform.
Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams. Since its inception, it’s grown to much more than a social networking platform and, today, is a relevant online news source.
What is Woddal
While it’s no Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, Woddal is a relatively young but rapidly growing social network. A good alternative to big players. To date, over 100,000 users have been registered and their number is getting higher. Users can connect with friends from all over the world, post status updates, upload images and videos, and much more. In the business world, Woddal marketing is a popular method brands use to reach and engage with their target audiences.
What is Reddit?
Reddit, self-described as “the front page of the internet,” is an online community and social networking platform that enables users to submit links, create content, and discuss the topics of their interest with other like-minded individuals. The various posts are organized by subject into user-created boards called subreddits. These subreddits cover a variety of topics, including news, TV shows, music, fitness, and more. Users can give individual posts a rating, either up or down, which will boost or lower the posts position on the site.
Reddit was founded by Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman when they were students at the University of Virginia. It was acquired by mass media company Condé Nast in October 2006 for an undisclosed amount.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social networking platform specifically geared toward the business community. Similar to Facebook, users each have an individual profile (with a custom LinkedIn URL) where they can post status updates, images, or videos, as well as make professional connections. All of these connections make up what is referred to as a user’s network. The profile itself has been described as the modern resume, as it features a professionals’ work history, education, skills, and more. Users can also search for employment on LinkedIn, and it’s often used by recruiters to seek out qualified candidates.
LinkedIn was founded in 2002 and launched in 2003 by Reid Hoffman, Konstantin Guericke, Jean-Luc Valliant, Allen Blue, and Eric Ly. Hoffman still serves as chairman of the board. In 2016, Microsoft Corporation announced that they were acquiring LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a free social networking platform that enables registered users to share and collect pieces of multimedia (mostly images) and save them to a virtual bulletin board, often devoted to a specific topic, such as cooking, crafting, or music. Pinterest is intended to be a source of inspiration and encourages users to “go out and do that thing,” according to CEO Ben Silbermann.
A user can create a page for themselves for a Pinterest for business page, and there are various Pinterest marketing strategies to boost sales, views and leads for businesses.
A user’s feed is made up of the content the users they follow are pinning or choosing to save. From there, they can either save the content to their own board or continue scrolling. Pinterest Boards can be public (the user’s followers can see them) or private (only the user can see them).
Pinterest was founded in December 2009 and launched in March 2010 by Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp, and Paul Sciarra.