• The Top Social Media Platforms Have Changed – What Does It Mean for Marketers? Jan 11, 2019
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    If you want to remain relevant in the world of social media marketing, you have to stay up to date with all the changes that are happening on the most important platforms.

    Anyone who has spent more than a year in social media marketing knows that top platforms change periodically. However, while some changes are great, and help old favorites to remain popular, others can cause popular platforms to sink, or unpopular ones to suddenly experience significant growth.

    If you want to keep your marketing relevant, you must keep track of these changes. With that being said, we should definitely take a good hard look into this year’s top platforms.

    Facebook
    The biggest and most important social networking platform didn’t lose popularity, and it probably won’t any time soon. At the moment, Facebook is the undisputed ruler among all demographics. This is thanks to its 2.23 billion active monthly users, and its popularity is still on the rise.

    YouTube
    Another oldie but goodie. With 1.5 billion active monthly users, this video sharing platform is in the second place when it comes to popularity. This fact alone speaks in favor of video content – as people obviously love it. Plus, this platform has something Facebook still lacks – it is immensely popular among young people. Actually, for the 18-to-24 demographics, it’s the most used platform. Although popular, YouTube still has stuff to do, things to improve. Only 45% of its users claim to access the platform every day.

    WhatsApp
    With 1.5 billion monthly active users, this platform is almost as popular as YouTube. When it first appeared, it became instantly popular because it changed texting, upgraded it. In WhatsApp there are no word amount limits, you can send one message to several people at once, and you can send videos, images, and audios. At this moment, WhatsApp manages to keep its users and gain new ones by adding new features regularly.

    Facebook Messenger
    No.4 on our top list is Facebook Messenger. Yet another messaging platform Facebook owns. It has a steady influx of new monthly active users. Now, while it might seem irrelevant for you as a marketer, this is actually great. This platform offers numerous opportunities for reaching users via content, ads, or with chatbots.

    WeChat
    If you’re not doing marketing in China, you probably know close to nothing about this social platform. However, in spite of its lack of popularity in other countries, this platform is flourishing in China. There, it is the most popular platform, outranking all the other global favorites by far.

    This platform started out as a messaging app, but with constant upgrades, it grew into something much larger. For example, users of this platform can share their location, play games, order cabs, book doctor appointments, and even make payments. It’s sort of like having all of your favorite apps within one.

    When you consider the fact that Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and WhatsApp are all among the top five most used social platforms at the moment, a trend becomes apparent. When you take into consideration that dark social now boils down to 84% of all social shares, this information becomes even more relevant for marketers. Also, dark social isn’t only limited to these three platforms; there are also Instagram Stories, Snapchat, and Facebook Stories.

    Instagram
    This platform definitely deserves to be on the list. Ever since it was launched, it has been steadily growing. Even more important is the fact that we don’t see why that trend would change in the next few years, unless they completely change the entire app. To a marketer, this means that Instagram is a platform that cannot be ignored. According to a recent survey, more than 60% of micro-influencers claim that this is the most effective platform when it comes to audience engagement. Not to mention that Instagram is easier to fit into your SMM strategy than those platforms that ranked higher on this list.

    Instagram’s popularity doesn’t stem from one single factor; there are several that keep contributing to its constant growth. The first factor is the ever-growing number of mobile users. The more people who use mobile devices, the more people who need a simple, fun platform. This platform fills this need because it is perfect for editing, uploading, and viewing posts on mobile devices. The second important factor lies in Instagram’s visual content. As it became apparent with YouTube and Facebook, people love their visuals. And that’s another reason for the popularity of this platform – it takes us a step further than other platforms by being almost completely wordless.

    But, why isn’t it higher in the list then? Well, for all of its good sides, it seems that Instagram has some bad ones as well. For example, you can’t delve deeply into any topic. Single image posts with very little explanation are interesting, but sometimes far from being enough for users. Another negative lies in the fact that people can’t really share opinions and have discussions on this platform. And, last but not least, there are no links where people can find out more.

    The Rise of Snapchat
    Although it isn’t in the top ten when it comes to monthly active users, Snapchat is due to experience a popularity surge soon enough. Officially, it is the 17th most popular social platform, but Generation Z will increase its popularity. That age group is massively leaving Facebook, and we believe that they will most probably join Snapchat.

    Well, now we’re wondering, why is this platform so popular among the younger users? You see, other platforms successfully used creating stories to attract people, but Snapchat offered something different. It allows users to create content that only lasts for several seconds. That means that people can share their experiences as they are living them, instead of worrying about creating lasting content that other platforms offer.

    What’s Going on With Twitter?
    Not such a long time ago, Twitter was consistently in the top 5 social networking platforms. At the top of its game, it was in the second place, with only Facebook beating its popularity. Unfortunately, now, Twitter dropped to the 12th position in the most popular list.

    Due to a general lack of direction and poor earnings, not long ago people were predicting that Twitter would have to close its doors forever. Luckily, this platform has made significant improvements since then and added 6 million new users in the first quarter of 2018 alone. Even better news is the fact that Twitter’s active user base has been growing by 10% each year. So, for those marketers who work in niches that target this audience, Twitter is far from being history.

    Should You Pay Attention to Pinterest?
    Circling the bottom of the list, Pinterest ranks 19th among the most popular platforms. This makes us pose the question above. But, the fact that it’s this low still doesn’t mean that it’s insignificant. Pinterest has 200 million active monthly users, which really isn’t a small group of people you can dismiss.

    Now, if you really want to include Pinterest in your social media strategy, you should consider it from another perspective. How? Well, it doesn’t have re-pin counters anymore, and it has no likes. Instead of that, Pinterest is now about collecting pins that appear in your suggestions that are generated by this platform’s algorithm. This means that marketers have a great opportunity here. You can put your content in front of the exact users who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer.

    Also, keep in mind that this platform is the perfect place for ads – it generated about $500 million in revenue last year alone.

    In the end
    If you pay attention to which social media platforms are most popular at every moment, you will be able to point your marketing strategy in the right direction. If you want to keep up with the trends, you need to be aware of the fact that numbers are always changing and that popularity is fickle. Also, don’t forget that although the population as a whole might be a fan of a certain platform, your target audience might like a different one. After all, knowing what your audience likes, and what they might like in the future is the most important information you need.

    Richard Larson is Brand Manager for GoPromotional.co.uk. He has a background in sales and internet marketing. Richard enjoys spending time with his family, as well as surfing the interwebs for the next great idea.
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