Almost every person on the planet has at least one social media account whether that's to stay connected with family and friends, to make money as an influencer, or to share their ideas. Social media is a technology that helps link people, ideas, and thoughts together, building communities and networks in the virtual world. Facebook (FB) is, undoubtedly, the largest and most popular social networking site around. Founded in 2004, the company had 2.5 billion active users every month as of September 2019. The company reported revenue of $70.7 billion for the year ending 2019. But there are sites that are trying to take away Facebook's market share. Read on to find out more about Facebook's biggest competitors.

Key Takeaways

  • Facebook is the world's largest social media site.
  • Both Instagram and Facebook compete for users, even though Facebook owns the photo-sharing app.
  • Snapchat allows users to share photos and videos that only last for 10 seconds.
  • LinkedIn, a networking site used by professionals, employers, and recruiters, was purchased by Microsoft in 2016.
  • Twitter allows users to share their thoughts in 280 characters.

Instagram

It may seem odd to say that Instagram is Facebook's largest competitor because it's also owned by the social networking behemoth. Facebook bought the photo-sharing site in April 2012 for $1 billion. It's estimated to be valued at more than $100 billion—more than 100 times what Facebook originally paid for the site.

Facebook also purchased WhatsApp for a reported $19 billion in February 2014.

Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who launched it in October 2010. As of Jan. 25, 2020, the app boasted more than one billion active users in total, with more than 500 million using the site on a daily basis. As many as 50 billion photos have been shared on the site as of that date.

While Facebook isn't competing with Instagram for revenue, it does compete with it for users and the time those users spend on social media platforms. Here's a useful breakdown of the app's demographics:

  • Females use the app more than men—56% compared to 44%
  • Six out of ten adults have an Instagram account
  • More than 120 million users are in the United States
  • 28 minutes per day: The amount of time Instagram users are on the app
  • 63% of Americans use the app daily

Instagram is more popular with teenagers and tweens because it’s simpler, more private, and very visual. In fact, 72% of teens are regular Instagram users. Teens appreciate their viewers aren’t necessarily the relatives they’ve connected with on Facebook, and they value the fact that they can express themselves easily on Instagram.

Snapchat

Snapchat (SNAP) is one of the newer kids on the social media block. The photo and video sharing app was developed by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, and was released in 2011. As of the fourth quarter of 2019, Snapchat boasted 218 million daily users.

The app is very popular with kids under the age of 16. It began as a way to share photos and videos that had a very short shelf life—they would disappear in seconds. Another popular feature is that it allows users to reach out only to the few people selected by a user—not to all their friends at once.

But how does it work? Users send a picture that the recipients can view for a short period of time—usually for 10 seconds. After that time, the picture vanishes. This allows teenagers and people of all ages to feel a level of privacy. If a user adds a photo or video to their story, it disappears after 24 hours.

Snapchat went public in March 2017 but hasn't generated a profit. But the company posted revenue of $1.7 million for the twelve-month period ending 2019.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a networking site aimed at professionals. Founded in 2002, the site officially launched in 2003. It is the main platform for professional profiles and recruiting and links employers with potential employees. Companies use LinkedIn to find potential applicants, and applicants use it to find new jobs. The site has expanded, allowing users to post threads and comments on professional issues, accomplishments, and news. Like Facebook, users can also like and share posts created by others. The site is free to use but also offers premium services for people willing to pay an annual membership fee.

LinkedIn could present a picture of the future of the hiring process. Having a LinkedIn profile could easily become a necessity for people seeking employment in the future.

Microsoft purchased LinkedIn in 2016 for $126 per share. The acquisition cost the company $26.2 billion—the largest and most expensive for Microsoft at the time. LinkedIn's annual revenue was about $6.8 billion at the end of 2019

Twitter

Twitter (TWTR) also competes with Facebook for users and its engagement, but the whole point of Twitter makes it less of a direct competitor than some of the other main social networking companies. The company first allotted 140 characters per tweet but doubled that to 240 characters in 2017.

The company was founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams. The site has more than 320 million active users with 500 million tweets sent each day. Roughly 153 million people use Twitter on a daily basis.

Twitter relies heavily on advertising for revenue. The company reported $3.45 billion in revenue for the year ending 2019—a 13.7% increase from the previous year.