In high school, we all wanted to be popular and respected. That same desire applies to the adult world too, where those who network well can make a career from scratch.
Passionate elbow-rubbers have more opportunities in all areas of life, including work and personal relationships.
Here are the 17 most popular social networking sites, with the most current stats on them.
#1 — Facebook
Can you believe Facebook started out as a niche website for students who wanted to stay in touch? The idea caught the eye of investors and quickly grew into one of the most well known brands of the 21st century.
Facebook largely finances itself through ads and is actually one of the most coveted marketing platforms of today. The site achieved a $18.7bn revenue in Q2 2020 alone, with projections pushing that number even higher in the future.
In 2020, Facebook boasted 2.7 billion monthly active users, with 55% of them being between the ages 18-34. The site is available in 101 languages, which speaks volumes of the need for localized networking. Based off of that data, we can only give Facebook a — thumbs up.
#2 — Youtube
Google’s behemoth of a video hosting website has recently introduced sharing text posts to subscribers. Count in live streaming and you’ve got the perfect social networking site that seamlessly integrates with other Google services.
With over 2 billion active and logged-in viewers, Youtube is quickly closing in on Facebook. ¾ of all adults in the US use Youtube, making it the most popular online platform in the country.
The demographic on Youtube trends towards older groups, with almost half of users being over 35. This is in stark contrast to other social networking sites, where users are most often young adults.
Youtube is mostly viewed by a group and parents actually watch a lot of Youtube with their kids. With the addition of TV shows and streaming services, it’s likely Youtube will soon be taking over the role of TV.
Entertainment is by far the largest niche on Youtube. Those who like DIY can also find fine content there, watching a tutorial or walkthrough to make you self-sustainable in some way.
#3 — Instagram
This is the premier photo sharing social app, leveraging Facebook’s infrastructure for top-notch performance. According to Statista, only 13.56% of Instagram content is video; the majority of it is photos.
About 66% of Instagram users are aged 34 or younger, with the US, India and Brazil hosting the majority of them. As for daily active users, Instagram has about one billion. So, what’s the content about?
The term “influencer” actually started on Instagram and means a popular content creator who promotes a business. In the US, 75% of randomly polled companies with 100 or more employees are already using Instagram to promote themselves.
It appears to be working, seeing how 80% of Instagram users interact with such content. If you’re not marketing through Instagram, especially Instagram Stories, you’re missing out.
#4 — Twitter
Twitter is the most famous broadcasting platform in the world but also doubles as a social networking site. Thanks to the direct messaging feature and the ability to retweet the content of others. It’s easy to make connections, temporary or permanent.
In Q3 2020, Twitter reported having 353 million monthly active users and 187 million “monetizable daily users”, with a market cap of nearly $40bn.
Two Google engineers and two outside developers created Twitter and initially made it for SMS only, hence the original 140-character limit on tweets. This was later doubled and there’s even a Tweet Longer service for those who have to pour their hearts out.
In 2019, we found out 10% of Twitter US users generate 80% of all tweets. That translates to an average of 138 tweets a month per each of the 10%ers. The average Twitter user tweets only about twice a month.
This would imply the strategy for having a good reputation on Twitter is following and retweeting one or more of these power Twitter users. By simply rubbing elbows with such powerful people, you can make any Twitter account extremely popular.
#5 — Reddit
This forum-like social networking site lets users create their own content hubs, called subreddits. Recently introduced awards also let users spruce up posts of each other with tags such as “helpful” and “huggable”.
Reddit is optimized for mobile experience, with 70% of its video views coming from mobile users. Video is the most viewed and clicked content type on Reddit, with the most popular niches being health and fitness.
There are more than 2.2 million subreddits, with each user being able to create as many as he or she likes. There were 52 million active daily Reddit users in December 2020, up 44% from 2019. It’s hard to get your post popular on Reddit, but once it blows up, it can make a torrent of traffic known as “Reddit hug of death”.
The only thing we regret is that Reddit’s virtual currency isn’t called — creddit.
#6 — Giphy
Despite being cumbersome and grainy, there is a certain timeless charm in GIFs. They play and repeat automatically but are also universally supported by all devices, old and new. Giphy was founded on the premise that GIF will never get outdated; so far, that has turned out correct.
Giphy serves GIFs to sites that want to use them but otherwise don’t have the bandwidth. In 6 months, Giphy gets about 55 million visits, with each lasting on average a 100 seconds. Each visitor looks at 2.58 pages per visit on average, making Giphy’s bounce rate 55%.
This tells us Giphy is a good site to socialize over but not to socialize on, at least not yet.
#7 — Imgur
Giphy isn’t the first to realize the power of sharing images. Imgur came to the same conclusion, only with still images. Its rapid rise is thanks to the rapid growth of Reddit.
300 million people use Imgur, with 17% spending 10 hours a week on the site. Compared to Giphy, the average user sticks around for 10 minutes. This is most likely because Imgur allows commenting on images and voting on them rather than just passive viewing.
The most recent feature is allowing videos of up to 60 seconds on Imgur. This slowly turned the site into a social network, where visitors gather around whatever image tickles their fancy.
In February 2021, Imgur celebrated its 12th birthday and continued a proud tradition of never deleting images, except upon request. This means you can effectively use Imgur as a free drive for your photos, as long as you save the links.
#8 — Pinterest
Led by a group of former Google engineers, Pinterest took the hearts and minds of people around the world by storm. Young and old alike find plenty of inspiration in Pinterest posts, which is also why they dominate Google search results.
Over 50% of Pinterest users visit the platform at least once a week but the platform is still struggling with daily active users. 41% of women in the US browse Pinterest, whether it’s for recipes or cute braid ideas. Marketing through Pinterest makes sense as well, because every other user buys the product seen in the promoted Pin.
Finally, 80% of all Pinterest users access the site through mobile devices. The winning recipe is clear: a tablespoon of visual content, a teaspoon of mobile optimization and a dash of creativity.
#9 — Twitch
This premier streaming platform for gamers has become popular thanks to various custom emotes. Each streamer can create emotes that his or her subscribers can use across the site. Some of these, such as Kappa, have become universal signs of emotion, in this case sarcasm.
In February 2021, there was nearly 2 billion hours watched across 9.5 million Twitch streamers. This makes it on average 200 hours per streamer.
We can safely assume the average streamer gets almost none of the action and it’s all concentrated in the hands of the top 5% or so streamers.
To succeed on Twitch, you need to play the same games or show the same behavior as the most popular streamer. That would currently be Ninja, who has 10.6 million followers.
Using Twitch also means adapting to the blazing fast pace in the chat. There can be hundreds of messages being displayed a second, making it impossible to send any coherent message, except an emote.
#10 — Medium
Medium is by now known as the confessional platform, where celebrities pour their hearts out. The accessible nature of Medium makes that all too easy but what are the platform stats?
In 2019, Medium allegedly had 100 million active monthly users, though the company jealously guards the stats. What we do know is that Medium raised $132mm in three rounds of venture funding. It also has 68% of all traffic coming from mobile users.
The financial model for Medium is paying authors per each like they received, called “clap” on the platform. About 300,000 Medium are paying subscribers and a clap from them can be worth anywhere from 1 cent to $2.
Each clap’s value is diminished as the subscriber doles out more of them, leading to sort of a lottery.
#11 — LinkedIn
Gary V has been gushing about LinkedIn for quite a bit, calling it “a really good place to put content”. According to Gary, LinkedIn right now is like Facebook in 2012, meaning grossly undervalued.
What started out as an online filing cabinet for your CV steadily grew into a social network behemoth. As of Q3 2020, LinkedIn boasts 14 million jobs posted and 720 million users, with a 3% user growth each quarter. The user base is spread evenly throughout the world, which promises sustainable growth.
As of December 2020, 55 million companies are listed on LinkedIn, with the site reporting a 23% growth in revenue year-to-year. All of that makes LinkedIn a great social networking site to do job hunting but also to mingle and build your reputation.
#12 — Goodreads
A good book is a fine friend, one worth spending time with in public or private. Goodreads is meant to help you discover good books and find fine friends. As of January 2021, that means you can join the site to become one of its 90 million users and review books.
Goodreads allows you to keep track of your books reads and stats related to them. You can also peek into what others are doing and see the most popular books. For example, “Where the Crawdads Sing” was the most popular book in the US throughout 2020, accruing 1.1 million ratings.
Users can comment on book titles and ask each other questions, which are most often rich with spoilers.
This data tells us there’s a stable and steady market for books and book lovers. Though they might not want to socialize directly, they will still make a community and engage in it.
#13 — CrunchyRoll
Anime is an art form in its own right and CrunchyRoll offers it for free. The vast majority of its users plays video games and stats also show 75% of all CrunchyRoll users are under the age of 35.
As of July 2020, CrunchyRoll has 3 million paying subscribers out of 70 million registered users. In total, they’re all helping the company earn an estimated $7mm a month in revenue.
There’s at least 15,000 hours of anime on the site and about 90% of all anime ever made can be found there. In 2020, the most watched anime was My Hero Academia, centered around a superhero school.
This goes to show that the majority of CrunchyRoll users are underage males who like gaming, going to school and becoming a superhero.
#14 — Yubo
With the tagline “make new friends”, Yubo is oriented to rapid growth and befriending strangers. Indeed, as of late 2020, the French social media site Yubo has 40 million users, who already exchanged 10 billion messages.
Users can’t follow anyone or “like” a post but can make friends, play games and stream video in dedicated rooms.
60% of all Yubo users are from the US and Canada but the user acquisition is unusual. Over 50% of all visits to Yubo come from search engines, followed by 34% of visits from typing in the address by hand.
This would indicate Yubo isn’t doing any marketing and its reputation is growing exclusively through word of mouth or articles like this one.
#15 — SoundCloud
What’s missing in this sequence — images, GIFs, videos? If you guessed audio, you’re right on the money. That’s exactly what SoundCloud is meant to provide, offering free hosting of audio tracks to everyone with an account.
Aspiring musicians can use SoundCloud for their tracks but so can any user for any random audio file. In September 2019, that meant 15 million monthly active users, with 28% of them coming from the US.
There are 25 million music creators on the platform, but only a few break out, such as Post Malone.
Global SoundCloud revenue in 2019 was $200mm, up 40% from the year prior. A large part of the site’s revenue is business deals and investments.
This data would mean SoundCloud is stagnating and, other than comments on tracks, hasn’t made any attempts to become a fully fledged social networking site. It will keep your audio tracks for years, though, so use it for storing your audio memorabilia.
#16 — Vimeo
Touted as a “Youtube killer”, Vimeo was meant to serve as a refuge for Youtubers annoyed by constant policy changes. While Youtube is still chugging along, Vimeo did turn out a respectable competitor but not in the area of video hosting.
As of January 2021, Vimeo has 1.5 million subscribers to its software-as-a-service tools. There’s a section where you can watch videos too but the emphasis is on serving small businesses and entrepreneurs.
The relatively small user base appears profitable enough to keep Vimeo afloat. This tells that, as long as you find a profitable enough user base, you can serve whatever niche you want.
#17 — Tribe
Each successful platform and product has a community built around it. Granted, the community can form on its own but it won’t hurt if you help the process out. This idea of seeding communities is what inspired Tribe.
In a June 2020 case study, we learned that Tribe helped a CRM company called Pipedrive build a community. The goal was to create a knowledge hub for customers and promote engagement on relevant topics. Within 3 months, Tribe created a community that now boasts 60% active users.
Tribe also integrates with intermediate tools, such as Zapier, Slack and Google Analytics.
Social networking sites appear by the truckload but only those that make a niche for themself manage to survive. Each of these 17 sites has a specific purpose and each demands a special kind of attitude to market yourself on it.
I hope the data and stats in this article will help you make a strategy to become popular on whatever social networking site you choose.