The Top Social Media Platforms

Social media has trickled into nearly all aspects of life and business. Collectively, the platforms are rife with 3.9 billion users looking to share their views and opinions, keep up with the latest gossip and news, and brands wanting to connect with their target audience.

With new platforms springing up and the number of active users growing by millions yearly, the social media bubble is evolving and expanding at a rapid rate. And they are showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

How the Platforms Compare

Lets take a look at how the top social media platforms, and some that are flying under the radar stack up against one another.

Facebook
Leader of the billionaire club, Facebook currently has approximately 2.7 billion monthly active users worldwide. Undoubtedly the largest social network. Since launching in 2004, Facebook serves as a way for people to establish connections and appeals to younger and older generations.

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Despite its goal to prioritise connecting people with people, the platform is also home to millions of businesses, allowing them to connect with their target audience.

But not all is rosy in Facebookville, companies have rallied to boycott Facebook ads and founder, Mark Zuckerberg has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Drama aside, Facebook is continuing to peak above all other social media platforms and will leave their mark in history once it hits the 3 billion user mark.

Snapchat
Snapchat is an image and video messaging app with 397 million active users, and currently ranking as the 12th most popular social media platform.

Through filters and lenses, the platform brings a different kind of augmented reality to its users. And their uniqueness lies in the app’s ability to have messages that have been shared disappear almost immediately after it has been opened.

But with its users on the decline and the app rivalling with social media giants like Facebook and Instagram Stories, there are concerns of whether the future of Snapchat looks promising.

YouTube
Hot on Facebook’s heels with just over 2 billion active monthly users, YouTube is the biggest video platform and an information hub with millions of channels.

The platform has come a long way since its first video, “me at the zoo” was uploaded in April 2005. Since Google purchased YouTube in 2006, it has succeeded in getting eyeballs to the platform and is known for more than just the “influencers” and “content creators” it is home to.

With people worldwide spending nearly 1 billion hours watching YouTube videos daily, and the platform transforming into a subscription-based network, offering ad-free content, music and so much more, bigger and better things seem to lie ahead for the video sharing platform.

WeChat
WeChat, the messaging app equivalent to WhatsApp is dominating the online space in China. The Tencent owned company boasts over 1.2 billion users, making it the 5th largest social media network out there.

The range of services offered through WeChat functions as a whole suite of apps; with offers ranging from games integration, WeChat shop and payment and WeChat Moment (Newsfeed) to name a few.

WeChat is proving to become a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Reddit
Living up to its slogan, “the front page of the internet”, Reddit has successfully made a name for themselves as the platform to discuss and curate all kinds of content on the internet.

By 2020 their user base was well over 430 million active users, in comparison to the 330 million users they had in 2018. The all-in-one media, micro-community and culture platform has given a different meaning to the word “community” in the digital age.

Instagram
As one of the fastest growing and most used platforms, Instagram is great for developing a personal brand and connecting with an audience. With strong ties to Facebook and an active user count of 1.08 billion members, the platform has drastically evolved and became so much more than just a photo-sharing network.

Appealing to a younger audience and with features such as Instagram Stories and Reels, Instagram is standing out as one of the more versatile platforms.

Twitter
With 326 million active monthly users and roughly 500 million tweets sent out each day, Twitter has steadily climbed the social media ladder. As of 2019, the platform reportedly bagged 1.5 billion dollars in revenue.

But just like Facebook, Twitter has been slammed with its fair share of controversies, which has resulted in a social cleanse of more than 70 million fake accounts being closed.

But this hasn’t stopped Twitter from being one of the biggest and most favoured social media platforms.

TikTok
We can all agree, TikTok was the worthy winner of most popular social media platform in 2020. Despite all the bad publicity regarding privacy breaches, their monthly active users jumped to a whopping 800 million, making TikTok the fastest growing social network in 2020.

Messenger
If we were to sum up Facebook Messenger in one sentence, it would be: an enormous platform that is radically expanding. The app has not only made it easy for people to connect on a personal level, but it also allows for easy and convenient business transactions.

Next to Facebook, Messenger has been the most downloaded app and currently stands at 1.3 billion monthly users. The app is said to reach nearly 2.5 billion users by 2021.

WhatsApp
WhatsApp offers a fast, convenient, and affordable way for people to communicate. The messaging app was created as an alternative to traditional methods of messaging and is a play on the words “what’s up”.

In 2014 Mark Zuckerberg paid megabucks for the app (19 billion dollars) and to date, the platform has acquired 2 billion users worldwide.

QQ
With 694 million users, QQ, the social messaging app that originated in China and belonging to Tencent, has been dubbed the closest thing to Snapchat.

Their teen-friendly features such as avatars and animations, makes them appeal more to younger audiences than it does to older generations. QQ appeals far more to younger audiences than it does older generations.

While the app is not widely known outside of China, it has gained widespread popularity within China.

Weibo
The social media landscape in China is huge. With as much as 550 million of those belonging to the popular microblogging app, Weibo.

Said to be the Chinese Twitter, Weibo has claimed the title as the second largest social network in China.

Like WeChat, brands use Weibo as a social media marketing tool to market their products or services.

Pinterest
Pinterest has proven to be a promising platform to help showcase your personal brand. To date, the platform has accumulated over 200 billion pins, and a vast majority of its users are said to be female.

The social “bookmarking” site has an estimated 367 million users. Described as a positive and uplifting platform, Pinterest is getting more and more attention and users outside of the United States.

Conclusion:

2020 saw social media platforms experience a whirlwind of highs and lows. Networks like Facebook and TikTok fell victims to public scrutiny as concerns about data privacy were raised.

But long-term predictions suggest there is lots of room for growth left. With as much as half of the world’s population utilising social media, and features and functions getting better and better, users and brands are looking to benefit from plenty more in the future.

(Statistics sourced)

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