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Social Media Networks: Top 16 by Number of Active Users

Social Media Networks: Top 16 by Number of Active Users

by Matija Hanicar

Have you found this article on social media networks? Can you imagine your day passing without checking social media networks for news, using them for everyday communication, finding inspiration or just “checking” what’s new?

Today, 97% of Millenials use the Internet, more than 92% of them have a smartphone, and older generations (Generation X, Baby Boomers, Silent) are increasingly embracing technology and their use of social media networks. This article will list the most popular social media networks worldwide by the number of active users.

social media networks

Top social media networks

Facebook

It all started as a project of Harvard sophomore who, since then, became a global name. We’ve all heard of Mark Zuckerberg, but Facebook is the one thing most of us can’t imagine our lives without. Actually, 6% of all digital time is spent on this social network – and this number just keeps on growing.

This social network has users all over the world, it is available globally except for being banned in 10 countries.

Countries with most Facebook users:

  • India
  • United States
  • Indonesia
  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Philippines
  • Vietnam
  • Thailand
  • Egypt
  • Turkey

46% of Facebook users are male, and 54% are female, with that ratio being similar in all age groups. The latest trends are showing that Facebook is not that popular with Gen-Z, not being among the top 3 social media networks. The theory behind this is that this generation prefers more visual-friendly platforms. In fact, a study from Edison Research showed that only 62% of Facebook users are 12-34 years old.

countries with most facebook users

Number of monthly active users: 2 603 M

Markets: Global

YouTube

Did you know that YouTube is the 2nd biggest search engine in the world? It was launched in 2005 and now has more than 2 billion monthly active users. As a platform for user-generated content, it has more than 300 hours of HD quality video uploaded every 60 seconds!

In 2018, they experienced the biggest growth in subscription services, more specifically, among the top 10 apps by consumer spend 6 are streaming services. The one number that remains the same for years already is Youtube’s mobile usage with over 70% views on mobile screens. 

youtube monthly active users by country

Number of monthly active users:

2 000 M

Markets: Global

Instagram

This social network was launched in 2010 and grew to 1 million users in the first 2 months. In 2012 it was acquired by Facebook for an estimated $1 billion.

This mobile-based photo and video sharing application recently introduced paid ads, with Facebook having the ability to buy ads for both platforms simultaneously.

As we already mentioned, Facebook is losing its appeal among younger generations, Instagram stands out as the only top photo-sharing/social networking platform that continues to grow across the board. Today, the 18-34 age group makes more than half of active accounts on Instagram, according to Instagram Demographics. 

Number of monthly active users: 1 000 M

Markets: Global

TikTok

Tik Tok, originally a Chinese video sharing network that appeared in 2017, soon became a global phenomena. Within half a year after its release, TikTok became the 6th most downloaded non-game app in the Apple app store and Google play store combined. 

In 2017 they came out in the international market, and within half a year after the release, TikTok was the 6th most downloaded non-game app in the Apple app store and Google play store combined. In August of 2018, it merged with the short video app Musical.ly. That made ByteDance the world’s most valuable private start-up, valued at 75 billion dollars. 

In March 2020, TikTok has ranked #1 on the list of top 10 apps by the number of worldwide downloads. During this pandemic period, Tik Tok skyrocketed around the globe and became the most downloaded non-game app. To enumerate, a 98.4% increase compared to the same period 2019. 

This made Tik Tok the main topic in the world of apps, but also in the advertising world. Who wouldn’t want to be visible in the world’s fastest-growing app? This is especially important if your target audience is under 30. 

For example, many mobile game developers are using this fast-growing social media platform to reach a new audience.  However, to decide if advertising on this platform is a good fit for your brand, it is important to understand the process. We wrote a practical guide on how to advertise mobile games on TikTok so make sure to read our TikTok Guide

Number of monthly active users: 800 M

Markets: Global

LinkedIn

World’s biggest network for professionals, where employees can list their job roles, their skills, and their education. It is actually the most used social network by Fortune 500 companies.

Today, the majority of income comes from subscription-based models like LinkedIn Premium membership. In June 2016, Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. Today, it has more than 675 million users, spreading over 200 countries. Over 30 million companies have profiles on these social networks.

Many users come to this network searching for a new job and companies come to search for new employees. With 57% of LinkedIn traffic coming from mobile devices, no wonder that their app was downloaded more than 100 million times.

Number of monthly active users: 675M

Markets: Global

Snapchat

This image and video messaging app were developed in 2011, and it became famous by video feature ‘Stories’ that was later copied by Facebook and Instagram.

Today, there are 229 million daily active Snapchat users. In 2019, research among U.S. teenagers showed it was the top social network of the generation, putting it ahead of LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp. 94% of American young adults use this app. Across this network, there are over 3 billion snaps sent every day.

Ads were introduced in 2015 – via ad feature platform “Discover” that allows publishers to advertise their third-party short-form content. With Discover, users browse different content from partners like CNN, The Food Network…

Number of monthly active users: 398M

Markets: Global

Twitter

This real-time microblogging platform launched in July 2006. It became known by its blue bird logo, and a limit on the length of the post – also called a ‘tweet’. Out of the 326 million average users, 67 million were in the US. By the last official stats, the numbers of daily tweets were over 500 million.

This platform is a predominately mobile, with 80% of Twitter usage coming via mobile devices. Part of the reason why this network became popular is the ability of users to follow any other users with a public profile. In that way, they can interact with the celebrities who regularly post on Twitter.

Currently, the most-followed person on Twitter is former American president Barack Obama with 113 million followers.

Number of monthly active users: 330M

Markets: Global

Reddit

Often referred at as a “front-page of the Internet”, is the fifth most popular site in the United States. Essentially, it’s a massive collection of forums, where people share thoughts, news and interact with other users. It is divided into “subreddits”, with each covering a different topic. Users upvote posts that are attractive to them, so the best content is chosen by the community.

Number of monthly active users: 430 M

Markets: Global

Best social networks for chatting

WhatsApp

This cross-platform instant messaging service was acquired by the biggest social network on this list, Facebook, in February of 2014 for $19 billion. Since then, it has more than tripled in size.

Allowing users to connect to their contacts over WLAN, reducing their mobile bills, it has slowly become one of the most popular messaging apps.

facebook acquisitions price

WhatsApp is especially popular in markets outside the United States, but in the Asian market, it is facing strong competition like some Asia-based social messenger apps such as WeChat, LINE or Kakaotalk.

In 2018, WhatsApp launched WhatsApp Business, a subscription-based model aimed at the business sector. This is the first product by WhatsApp that directly generates money from the app. This allows the business to reply to customers via their favorite channel, not charging them for messages replied within 24 hours.

This model only charges a fixed rate by country per message sent after that period.

Number of monthly active users: 2 000 M

Markets: Global

Facebook Messenger

Launched by Facebook in 2011, this messaging app was focused on a single feature. All users had to download the app to continue communicating with their group of friends.

This strategic push allowed different marketing options for Facebook, allowing businesses to establish communication with their customers via Facebook Messenger. Today, bots are able to answer most frequently asked questions, reduce answer time, make the first step…

Number of monthly active users: 1 300 M

Markets: Global

WeChat

This mobile messaging app was first released in 2011, by the Chinese company Tencent. In 2012 it was rebranded to WeChat to be more appealing to international audiences. The latest numbers tell us that it has more than 1 billion monthly active users.

You think Facebook is big on mobile? Well, WeChat is more than double in mobile traffic in China. Most recent data from 2018 show this network makes an outstanding share of total mobile traffic in China, 34%. In comparison, Facebook makes only 14.1% of total mobile traffic in North America.

Outside China, WeChat has been used for payments of Chinese tourists. 

Number of monthly active users: 1 165 M

Markets: China

Skype

There is debate is Skype even a social network or just an internet communication tool. This platform enables users to video chat or makes voice calls between computers, tablets, mobile devices and more. It also allows users to communicate with text, send images, videos and digital documents.

Skype was founded in 2003 by Niklas Zennstrom from Sweden, and it was acquired by Microsoft Corporation in 2011. That allowed Skype to be easily integrated into other Microsoft products and services like Xbox.

Number of monthly active users: 300 M

Markets: Global

Social media networks leaders in China

QQ

Chances are you’ve probably never heard of this social network. It’s one of the biggest social media networks in China. This network was launched in 1999 by Tencent, for context, Facebook was launched in 2004! In the beginning, it was just a simple messaging app, but it quickly started to introduce new services.

How come it is not bigger than WeChat?

Both are owned by the same company, but WeChat was an upgrade to QQ. It quickly gained many more users. Both platforms are extremely successful in capturing their shares of the market in China but in different demographics.

social media networks in China
Rise of the social media networks in China, source: Statista

Number of monthly active users:  731 M

Markets: China

QZone

Another social network specifically aimed at China’s market. It is free for users to register and use that platform for self-expression and content sharing. This social gaming platform has more than 500 million monthly active users. It was created in 2005 and since then it gained a massive user base.

To put it in perspective, QQ is the biggest traffic entrance, and Qzone is the biggest traffic distribution platform.

Number of monthly active users: 517 M

Markets: China

Sina Weibo

Another social media network specifically to the Chinese market. ‘Weibo’ means ‘micro-blog’. It is often explained as the Chinese equivalent of Twitter or Facebook, two services that are blocked in China. Posts on Weibo include photos, images, emoticons, music, video clips and text with a 140-character limit.

Number of monthly active users: 516 M

Markets: China

Baidu Tieba

Baidu Tieba is a social network owned by Baidu, and today has around 300 million active users. It was established in December of 2003 with forum-like features. Now it consists of millions of very specific topics or interest boards with social features. 70% of Baidu Tieba users are post-90s users.

Number of monthly active users: 300 M

Markets: China

Final thoughts on social media networks:

This article listed the top 16 social media networks by size, starting with Facebook, ending with Baidu Tieba. Facebook is still the biggest social network with more than 2 billion users, even though it is not among the top three networks for generation Z. China is a very interesting market, especially in the social network world.

The majority of the biggest social platforms are banned in China, but there are other solutions provided by Chinese tech giants like Tencent. On this list, we can find 6 social media networks specific only for the Chinese market, along with Tik Tok that went international. 

Tik Tok’s viral growth in 2020 was especially rapid during the coronavirus lockdown. The international version of extremely successful Chinese social networks quickly became the most downloaded app. We can expect to see a decline in Facebook’s popularity in younger generations, but the increased acquisition of older demographic groups. Generation Z is turning to  TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram.

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About Udonis

Udonis is an independent full-service mobile marketing agency that acquired more than 300,000,000 users for mobile games since 2018.

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