Almost every person on the planet has at least one social media account, whether that's to stay connected with family and friends, make money as an influencer, or share their ideas. Social media is a technology that helps link people, ideas, and thoughts together, building communities and networks in the virtual world. Meta (META), formerly Facebook, is, undoubtedly, the largest and most popular social networking company around.
Founded in 2004, the company's oldest social media site, Facebook, had 2.9 billion active monthly users as of the third quarter of 2022. The company reported revenue of $27.7 billion for the same quarter. But some sites are trying to take away Meta's market share. Read on to find out more about Meta's biggest competitors.
- Meta runs Facebook, the world's largest social media site.
- Its Facebook and Instagram sites compete for users, even though Meta owns both.
- Snapchat allows users to share photos and videos for as little as 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.
It may seem odd that Instagram is Facebook's largest competitor because it's owned by the same social networking behemoth. Facebook (now Meta) bought Instagram, a photo-sharing site, in April 2012 for $1 billion. Instagram has been estimated to be valued at more than $100 billion—more than 100 times what Facebook 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 December 2022, Instagram had more than two billion monthly active users, up from one billion in June 2018. As many as 50 billion photos had been shared on the site as of that date.
While the social site 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 Instagram's demographics:
- Four out of 10 U.S. adults have an Instagram account
- Women use Instagram more than men, with 44% reporting using the service, compared with 36% of men surveyed
- Teenagers and younger adults are much more likely to use the service than older people
- The average user of the Instagram Android app spent 53 minutes a day using it
Instagram is more popular with teenagers and younger adults 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 (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 third quarter of 2022, Snapchat had 363 million daily active 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 $1.128 billion for the nine-month period ending Sept. 30, 2022.
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 $13.8 billion at the end of 2022.
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 280 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 238 million people used Twitter on a daily basis as of the second quarter of 2022.
Twitter relies heavily on advertising for revenue. The company reported $4.5 billion in revenue for fiscal 2021—up from $3.2 billion the previous year.
On Oct. 28, 2022, Elon Musk purchased Twitter and took the company private.