Social Media Active Users by Network [INFOGRAPH]
UPDATED: August 11, 2016
One of the most common questions from both businesses and social media marketers is "how many?" How many users. How many people. How many opportunities - for each of the social networks.
Of course each social network is different. Some have extremely high usage every month by hundreds of millions of users, while others the only numbers reported are registered members.
Are any of these numbers accurate? Nope. They're changing by the second, literally, and of course there are always questions about how they're calculated, how many fake accounts are counted, and so on.
Yet the fact remains, even with a large statistical margin for error, these membership numbers are extremely interesting.
For each network, we will indicate the date of the most recent accounting, as well as whether we are looking at active monthly members or just registered users. Below the top social networks, you'll also find data for secondary or up and coming networks, like Snapchat, Tumblr, Meerkat, Periscope and more.
- Count: 1.71 Billion Active Monthly Users
- Reported Date: June, 2016
- Launch Date: February, 2004
Facebook's data is one of the more recent sets to have been officially reported by the company, and therefore can be considered one of the most accurate. And of course Facebook continues to reign as the largest and most active of all the social networks.
- Count: 1 Billion Active Monthly Users
- Reported Date: March, 2013
- Launch Date: May, 2005
Unfortunately, it's been over a year since YouTube released any official usage statistics. Though it's probably safe to say that once you pass 1 billion users, with the clear volume of new content and activity, this network is a powerhouse.
- Count: 540 Million Active Monthly Users
- Reported Date: October, 2013
- Launch Date: June, 2011
It's unfortunate that Google refuses to publish accurate, up-to-date information about the growth and strength of their networks. It's clear that there are no where near 500 million people using Google+ monthly. But it's still far from the "ghost town" others have labelled it. Many communities and collections are thriving, and that's where most of the third-party analysis breaks down. Attempts to estimate Google+ usage can only be based on "Public" content and cannot take into account private communities. What's more, most sharing tends to be done into circles or collections, which also aren't the same as "public." It's most likely that Google+ usage tends to be along the same lines as LinkedIn or Pinterest, but for lack of real data, the network will remain in this spot.
- Count: 500 Million Active Monthly Users
- Reported Date: June, 2016
- Launch Date: October, 2010
Instagram has been keen to report their usage statistics regularly, and with good reason. In March of 2014 they reported 200 million active monthly users, and by December they were reporting 300 million. After another 9 months, they'd grown by 100 million once more, and then again. Not only is that a stunning rate of growth, but that also puts them ahead of Twitter for the #4 slot among social networks (and arguably more than Google+).
- Count: 310 Million Active Monthly Users
- Reported Date: June, 2016
- Launch Date: March, 2006
Twitter continues to grow at a fairly steady rate. And the numbers are extremely fresh, so we can rely on them for comparison.
- Count: 200 Million Active Monthly Users
- Reported Date: September, 2015
- Launch Date: January, 2013
And there's Twitter's own video platform, Vine, which had been growing rapidly. A note though about this data: it was not reported as "Active Monthly Users" so it is somewhat suspect. In a blog post announcing Music on Vine, they said, "These stories, and so many others, inspire us and more than 200 million people* who watch Vines every month." The asterisk indicated Google Analytics as the source. We therefore don't know if 200 million is Page Views or Unique IP Addresses or something else. But for now, we'll take Vine to mean 200 million "unique" people and bump them up past Pinterest and LinkedIn on the Social Network ladder.
- Count: 106 Million Active Monthly Users
- Reported Date: April, 2016
- Launch Date: May, 2003
Of all of the social networks, LinkedIn is the oldest and perhaps the least rapidly growing, though leadership has been making an effort over the past year to change that. Between the news integration of Pulse and the recent ability to publish on the platform, LinkedIn is hoping to spur both growth and daily usage.
Prior to 4th Quarter of 2015 however, MUA reports have always been estimations for the platform, as only total user count was reported. In a quaterly statement, however, LinkedIn revealed a total user count of 400 million and an average monthly user count of 100 million, far lower than the previous estimates of 187 million.
- Count: 100 Million Active Monthly Users
- Reported Date: September, 2015
- Launch Date: March, 2010
In a recently published story from The New York Times, and confirmed by Pinterest, it can now be reported that the network has achieved 100 million monthly active users. Previously, we only knew from a 2013 study that there were 70 million registered users, so this is a dramatic improvement in information.
For reference, virtually every network agrees that an active user is one who took some action within the past month. And for some of the networks, that includes actions that can take place off-site, such as Liking or +1'ing a blog post. So if you're wondering how many people are logging into a particular platform and looking at the stream of content being generated by the accounts they're following, those numbers are lower still. And almost none of the networks even try to report them.
Furthermore, to clarify, the numbers for Google+ do not include YouTube or Gmail or other Google accounts or services.
Other Interesting Social Network User Counts
- VIADEO - 60 Million
- VIMEO - 170 Million
- TUMBLR - 420 Million blogs
- SLIDESHARE - 60 Million
- FOURSQUARE - 55 Million users
- FLICKR - 92 Million users
- SNAPCHAT - 100 million
- STUMBLEUPON - 30 million
- DIGG - 8 million
- DISQUS - 150 million
- ELLO - 1 million
- PERISCOPE - 10 million
- MYSPACE - 50 million
- QUORA - 2.9 million
- REDDIT - 169 million
- TSU - 3.5 million
- WHATSAPP - 800 million
And that's it! All of the major social networks, plus a few others thrown in for fun.
Every month, if new data is released, I will update the numbers and the graphics accordingly.
If you'd like, here's one compilation infograph that you can Pin to Pinterest just by mousing over it and clicking the Pin It button.
If you'd like to embed the graphic on your own blog post, here's the code for you (and if you embed this way, it will automatically update with new social network user counts each month):
Share this Image On Your Site
What Does This Mean To Businesses?
As a business owner, while you might be tempted to target the social network(s) with the highest number of active users for your social media marketing, that's not how I would recommend proceeding. I've assembled this data, partly because it's fun and entertaining, and partly to illustrate that if you execute an effective social media marketing campaign, it shouldn't matter which network you select.
Take Vine, the low man on the totem pole, with just 40 million registered users. What business wouldn't want to market to 40 million potential customers? If you can position your product and services, and brand yourself in a way that makes sense for Vine and those users and that kind of content - DO IT!
So data like this really isn't meant to drive business decisions with regard to social strategy. That should depend on more specific demographic data, along with a clear understanding of what your brand represents, and which platform or platforms is best suited for communicating that kind of brand. If that's the kind of decision you're struggling to make, I can help.
What do you think of the numbers themselves? Any surprises? Did you realize how active Google+ really is?
By Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner
Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner, Blogger and Author in St. Louis, and the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early '90's, and is active on all of the major social networks. Mike teaches a holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blog content, social media and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales.
Mike is the author of, "The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management", "The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.", and "Blog Promotionology, The Art & Science of Blog Promotion."