The Top 15 Most Popular Social-Media Sites in 2016 [Infographic]

  • Top 15 Social Sites Mini-Infographic

Explore the Social-Networking Websites Most Visited on a Monthly Basis

Social media has become an incredibly seductive realm throughout the globe. Through its many enticing forms of communication and entertainment, it attracts steady followers from virtually all age groups on a regular basis.

Active social-media users now register at around 2.34 billion people globally. According to eMarketer’s “Worldwide Social Networks Users” report, published in June 2016, this grand total represents:

  • Approximately 32.0% of the world’s population
  • Roughly 68.3% of global Internet users

Regular social-media usage rose 9.5% from its recorded level in 2015, and is projected to continue climbing upward.


The following post explores the top 15 social-media sites – ranked in order of monthly visitation
– as tabulated by DreamGrow, last updated on November 13, 2016.

In the chart below, the total number of Internet users was sourced from Internet Live Stats, estimated as of November 6, 2016.

Top 15 Social-Media Sites

Note: If the percentages of monthly penetration for these social networking sites initially strike you as low, consider that:

  1. Total Number of Internet Users represents those with even the faintest connection to the Web throughout the globe, including developing markets.
  2. Estimated Monthly Users are not just members who have signed up for an account, but those who faithfully return to these social networks on a monthly basis.

Indeed, social platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are now among the most visited websites online. Millions of visitors descend upon these types of sites daily, as a means of efficiently engaging with the world at large.

One Final Disclaimer: Social networking apps – including WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, and others – will be covered in similar fashion in a future post.

And now, with all of that being said … let’s dig into the data.

 


Infographic of the Top 15 Most Popular Social-Media Sites

Top 15 Social Sites Infographic

 


Overall Trends in the Social Networking World

Before we dive straight into each of the top-ranked sites individually, let’s take a quick look at overall 2016 trends in the social sphere.

Age-Level Usage of Social Media

Utilization of social media cuts across all age groups, as reported by Search Engine Journal’s latest report in January 2016.

The youngest segment – aged 18 to 29 – predictably leads the pack, with a rate of 89% engaged in social media.

However, even seniors – aged 65 and older – are picking it up in increasing numbers, with 49% currently linked into at least one platform.

Geographic Distribution of Social Media

North America leads the world in terms of social-media penetration, with 59% of its population connected to at least one platform.

However, East Asia holds a commanding lead by virtue of sheer head count, with 769 million active social-media users.

The following chart shows the penetration rate of some of the world’s most socially connected countries, as of January 2016:

In terms of social-media growth rate, the heavily advanced digital markets of North America and Western Europe are now approaching saturation, leaving less room for further expansion. According to eMarketer, social-network users in these two geographic areas are predicted to increase by just 3.1% and 3.8% by the end of the year, respectively.

By contrast, developing markets are currently driving much of the rapid growth for social media. According to We Are Social’s “Digital in APAC, 2016” report, released in September 2016:

  • Myanmar’s increase in social-media usage was an astounding 189%!
  • Laos, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, and Bangladesh are also showing strong pickup – respectively registered at 91%, 76%, 75%, and 67%.


Amped-Up Mobile Usage for Social Networking Sites

Mobile devices have increasingly become the preferred method for accessing social media.

In countries with a growing middle class, such as India, there are now many more people equipped with both the means and the desire to connect to social media via mobile equipment.

Except for LinkedIn and Tumblr, most traffic to social networks comes from mobile devices.

Pinterest and Instagram receive an upwards of 90% of their traffic from mobile devices – driven largely by their central focus on the quick upload of photos.


 

A Closer Look at the Top 15 Social Networking Websites

Now let’s take a deeper dive into each of these social-networking site powerhouses….

1.  FACEBOOK

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    1,790,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    51.2%

Facebook Logo

Love it or hate it, Facebook has firmly established itself as a worldwide institution.

Facebook is a platform where users can share all sorts of comments, links, images, videos, and files. From relatively trivial posts raving about lunch at the new bistro down the street to serious rants against the misuse of government power, Facebook covers the full spectrum of the human experience … the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.

Despite recent coverage about increased adoption by more senior generations, most Facebook users still tend to be younger. The largest age demographic is between 20 and 29.

Facebook is also very balanced from a gender perspective, with a near-even split of males and females internationally.

During the course of the past year, India surpassed the United States, as the country with the highest number of Facebook users.

Indeed, Facebook is very popular in the developing world. Four out of the top five countries with the most FB users are in the developing world.

Due to its broad reception, it also boasts strong growth and a solid revenue stream. In the Second Quarter of 2016 alone, it hauled in $2.1 billion in profit, according to its official earnings report.

Much of Facebook’s usage currently pours through mobile devices. The following graphic displays access by device, as of January 2016:

2.  YOUTUBE

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    1,000,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    28.6%

YouTube Logo

As part of the Alphabet group of companies led by Google, YouTube is the most popular video-sharing website.

Every minute, approximately 400 hours of new content are uploaded to YouTube.

YouTube has over a billion users – roughly a quarter of whom are active users.

Users for the site stretch across all age segments, with the largest demographic being those between 25 and 34 years old.

 

3.  INSTAGRAM

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    500,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    14.3%

Instagram Logo

Instagram is a platform geared toward the sharing of photos and videos.

It focuses heavily on mobile devices, since smartphones have rapidly become our go-to camera – capturing so many of life’s precious moments.

There are over 400 million users on Instagram, with over 80% of them coming from outside the United States.

Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social-media platforms – expanding at a rate of 15.1% this year, according to an eMarketer report published in February 2016.

This growth is being driven by the fact that over 89% of Instagram’s users are under 35. It’s a hit with the smartphone generation.

 

4.  TWITTER

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    313,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    9.0%

Twitter Logo

Twitter is the most popular microblogging platform, with a user base of over a billion people. Over a third of those members are active users.

Its most defining characteristic is the signature length limit on posts – restricted to 140 characters, although photos and links are no longer counted toward this tight cap.

The average Twitter user is also among the youngest – with a large plurality, 37%, under age 29.

Reportedly, 24% of adult men and 21% of adult women use Twitter, based on a “Demographics of Key Social Networking Platforms” study conducted by Pew Research Center.

Fueled by its support of more than 40 languages worldwide, 79% of Twitter’s user base is located outside of the United States, as reported by Hootsuite in August 2016.

eMarketer found that the top three non-U.S. countries are Brazil, Japan, and Mexico – with considerable growth also taking root in India.

Despite these demonstrated successes, Twitter has faced ongoing battles this year from a profit standpoint, with a series of less-than-expected earnings. A round of layoffs was triggered in Q3 2016, as a defensive measure to this end.

 

5.  REDDIT

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    234,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    6.7%

Reddit Logo

Reddit is known as the “Front Page of the Internet.”

With lively real-time debate and discussion from users all over the world – ranging from serious commentary focused on the latest world news, to light-hearted fan art posted in tribute to favorite TV shows – there’s never a dull moment on Reddit.

Most Reddit users – or “Redditors” – are from the United States, with some 62% being American.

Redditors also tend to be younger – with 63% of users under age 25, and 87% under 35.

 

6.  VINE

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    200,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    5.7%

Vine Logo

Vine is a video-sharing platform, where users share and create six-second videos.

However, it won’t maintain its present status for long: On October 27, 2016, official announcements were made that the popular video site will soon be shutting down. The upsetting move was spurred as part of cost-cutting efforts at Twitter, which purchased Vine back in 2012.

In the meantime, Vine enjoys over 40 million registered users – with over 71% of them reported to be millennials by DMR, as of September 2015.

Vine’s era has now ended. But there are always a dozen new recruits waiting to take the place of any fallen soldier on the World Wide Web.

 

7.  ASK.FM

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    160,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    4.6%

Ask-fm Logo

Ask.fm is a social-networking service whereby users can send each other questions and answer them.

It gets 180 million unique users per month, of which half are under 18.

Indeed, Ask.fm seems eager to serve teens and millennials, based on the focus on its press materials.

Its full audience is reportedly spread out across 150 countries.

 

8.  TUMBLR

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    115,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    3.3%

Tumblr Logo

Tumblr is a social-networking and microblogging site. Users can follow blogs and publish short posts and media, such as images, music, and video.

The site is most heavily used by Americans aged 25 to 34, according to an eMarketer report published in February 2016.

Purchased by Yahoo in 2013, Tumblr ranked as one of the fastest-growing sites in 2014, showing a meteoric rise of 95% in active users during 2014.

This year, however, it has comparatively shown only 10.5% growth, signaling a possible plateau for further expansion.

 

9.  FLICKR

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    112,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    3.2%

Image of Flickr logo

Flickr acts mainly as an image-hosting website for users, who store and share personal photos and videos.

Over 112 million people use this platform, which caters to both professional and amateur photographers.

However, in March of 2016, Flickr’s owner – Yahoo!, which purchased the site in 2005 – announced that the photo-sharing service would henceforth only be available to paying users.

The move has prompted a steep decline in usage this year; former enthusiasts have shifted their loyalty over to competitors such as 500px, SmugMug, and Google Photos.

 

10.  GOOGLE+

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    111,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    3.2%

Google Plus Logo

Google Plus emerged in June 2011, as Google’s attempt to enter the social-media market and compete with the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

It currently has 375 million active members. However, less than 5 million published posts in 2015, as reported by Infinit Datum.

Its largely male base comprises 74% of its users, according to Statistic Brain. Engineers and Web Developers are reportedly among the most top occupations for its members, accounting for the majority of its users.

The user base of Google Plus is mainly in North America, with 59% of the total membership coming from the United States and Canada.

 

11.  LINKEDIN

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    106,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    3.0%

LinkedIn Logo

While LinkedIn has many of the same features as Facebook, it is explicitly designed to serve the needs of business professionals.

Finding work. Building professional networks. Advertising one’s acumen for business and overall skillset. These are the central functions of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has a user base of 467 million users, according to DMR as of October 2016.

The United States is by far its top country – with 128 million members, as of First Quarter 2016.

However, LinkedIn’s members hail from 200 countries and territories around the world, with 70% of users based outside of the U.S.

Men comprise 56% of the total user base.

Two new members join each day – on average – and 40% of users log in daily, according to a compilation of LinkedIn statistics published by Katy Elle Blake in August 2016.

 

12.  PINTEREST

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    100,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    2.9%

Pinterest Logo

Pinterest acts as a virtual bulletin board. Users can save or “pin” media content – mainly videos and images – from other users in personalized collections.

Pinterest historically has trended toward a disproportionately young, female user base – with some 85% of total users being women and girls, and 67% being millennials, according to October 2016 statistics from DMR.

However, a Marketing Land article published last month shows that its demographics are shifting – with men accounting for 70% of global signups this year, now comprising 40% of new members.

The site has shown 50% growth in its monthly user base this year.

 

13.  VK

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    80,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    2.6%

VK Logo

VK, or VKontakte, is the largest social-networking service in Europe.

It’s particularly popular among Russian speakers in former Soviet Republics, such as Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. It’s also the second-most-popular social-networking platform in Israel, behind only Facebook.

VK has over 300 million registered users, and it continues to dominate the Russian market. As the largest platform of its kind in that country, it has an active user base that rivals the viewership of national TV channels.

It also has one of the youngest user bases – with 24% of VK users being under 18, and virtually no one over 45.

 

14.  CLASSMATES

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    57,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    1.6%

Classmates Logo

Classmates is a service created to help users find former schoolmates, from long-lost kindergarten pals to fellow alumni from college.

It is primarily targeted at users from the United States.

Despite being one of the first social-media platforms – initially founded in 1995 – its usage has fallen significantly. Many of its users have switched to Facebook, and it has dropped from the top 1,000 ranking in 2010 to below 4,000 on Alexa.

It has over 70 million users.

 

15.  MEETUP

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    27,500,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    0.8%

Meetup Logo

Meetup is a social-networking platform that helps people with an extensive variety of shared interests – ranging from politics and business to fitness and movies – to meet offline. In this way, it bridges the gap between the virtual world and “real life.”

The site currently boasts over 28 million members, spread out over more than 260,000 groups in 179 countries, as of November 2016.

The countries with the most Meetup users are the United States, United Kingdom, and India, according to Alexa.


 

Final Thoughts about the Most Popular Social-Media Sites

Clearly, social media has grown to serve so many powerful human needs, all at the same time:

  • Maintaining Existing Connections:
    • Personally:
      • Social media provides an effective way for us to stay in touch with our many friends, loved ones, and acquaintances. It offers an ever-open window of visibility into the lives and thoughts of our present social circle at any given moment.
    • Professionally:
      • Social media also enables us to keep tabs on an expansive network of current and former colleagues, vendors, businesses, brands, and industry resources. Staying up-to-date with all of the latest moves is now so much easier.
  • Expanding Our Horizons:
    • Personally:
      • Social media further presents the opportunity to explore entirely new worlds, far beyond the boundaries of our own immediate physical proximity. Through social media, it is now possible to delve a full range of subject matter and initiate contact with people, places, and things heretofore unknown to us, based on shared personal interests.
    • Professionally:
      • Social media additionally empowers organizations and brands to connect with individuals based upon a variety of micro-targeted demographic characteristics – from Age, Gender, and Location to Educational Level, Relationship Status, and Likes / Interests. Companies and organizations can now interact with individuals that fit their target profile with all sorts of personal touches.

    Being Social
    By offering such vast capabilities to connect us with the people, places, and things that match our interests, it’s little wonder why social platforms have such extensive appeal across the globe.

    At the same time, it’s quite a competitive space in which to operate, let alone dominate. Constant attention is required to remain on top of ever-evolving trends in technology, business, and culture at large.

    In light of Vine’s imminent shutdown, Twitter’s ongoing battles to generate profit, and many other serious pressures faced even by these Top 15 of the world’s most popular social sites, one has to stand in awe at the level of stamina required to thrive in this feisty industry!

    In our present age, marked so heavily by continual disruption, the sites that continue to draw social audiences will be those that prove themselves agile enough to evolve with the ever-changing times.

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