The evolution of the number of users on social media has become a central question for the past few years. The amount of people using social networks has been constantly growing for the past 10 years but now, we are observings slowdowns and decreases. These decreasing tendencies sometimes are the result of strategic choices (like the massive Snapchat update which brought down the average age of its users) but we are also facing saturation.
Here’s BPP’s large review of the evolution of the number of users by social media between 2017 and 2018. This analysis is based on most popular social networks including messaging apps but excluding Chinese social networks which represent an independant digital ecosystem.
Social networks based on visuals keep appealing new users.
No need to look very far to find the common point between the 4 most significant growth : visual content. Indeed, Tik Tok, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest are exclusively dedicated to sharing visual and audiovisual content. Wherever tik Tok stands out thanks to his youth and his innovative concept, Instagram and Pinterest have succeeded in reinventing themselves with great updates based on the interests of their users while YouTube launched of its own streaming service.
In this leading group, Reddit is the great outsider. While the aesthetics of the platform probably deserves an overhaul, its mysterious and unique concept of “forum 2.0” keeps appealing.
1. Tik Tok (formerly Musical.ly) : 200 million to 500 million – +150%
2. Reddit: 234 millions to 330 millions – +41%
3. Youtube: 1.5 billions to 1.9 billions – + 26%
4. Instagram: 800 millions to 1 billions – +25%
-. Pinterest: 200 millions to 250 millions – +25%
Traditional social networks have found their pace.
Just behind Reddit, we find social networks that are quite far from trends. Linkedin, the B2B specialist and Viber the messaging app which remains far behind its main competitor (WhatsApp whose latest data reporting remain fairly discussed) despite an honourable growth. Facebook is obviously a special case, since it has already conquered nearly half of the world’s Internet users, more than a quarter of the world’s population. Despite a saturation that seems logical, Facebook has come out of a fruitful year, with great updates like the launching of its market place.
6. Linkedin: 500 millions to 590 millions – +18%
7. Viber: 980 millions to 1.08 billion – +10.2%
8. Facebook: 2.1 billions to 2.3 billions – +9.5%
The poor students
At the bottom of the ranking, there’s no common factor to explain the slowdown of Snapchat, Twitter, and Skype. Each with its own problems. Twitter explained this decline by the removal of inactive users accounts. We give them the benefit of the doubt. For Snapchat, it’s much clearer : the 2018 update that took a lot of criticism made a lot of users leave and Instagram’s competition came at the worst moment. It is important to nuance the negative appearance of this trend: the economic health of Snapchat and Twitter is at the top, thanks to flamboyant advertising revenues!
For Skype, this is another subject. The messaging, obviously a victim of fierce competition, is undergoing a transformation to become a professional messaging service. We are talking about integration with Microsoft Teams
9. Snapchat: 187 million to 186 million – -0.5%
10. Skype: Stagnation around 300 million – 0%
11. Twitter: 330 million to 321 million – -2.7%
Sources : Statista, BusinessOfApps, DMR – Business Statistics.