Social Networking Industry in 2020 and Beyond


Social media is no longer an alien concept, at least for the more than 3.5 billion people on the internet. Notably, the number of people using any form of social media increased in the early 2000s. The social media landscape has changed so much that companies that were important before are nowhere today in terms of market share.

In 2006 and before, MySpace was the world’s largest social media platform. Interestingly, MySpace accounted for 19.45 million social media users out of 21.44 million. YouTube was the only other major platform with around 1.95 million users. Interestingly, MySpace was the most visited website in 2006, performing better than Google. Fast forward, MySpace ditched the league of active social media sites.

Facebook Headquarters at 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, USA. Photo credit: Jimmy Baikovicius.

Today, Facebook is the king of social networks. As of October 2019, there were 2.414 billion Monthly Active Users (MAUs) on Facebook globally. Just ten years ago, the total number of MAUs on Facebook was only 242 million, according to Statista data. This implies that in 10 years, the number of MAUs on Facebook has increased by more than 910%. In comparison, the number of MAUs on YouTube, the world’s second largest social media site, was 2 billion in October 2019. In 2009, there were 413.61 million MAUs on YouTube. Thus, the use of YouTube has increased by just over 383% in ten years.

In terms of revenue, the social media site industry is booming year after year. Notably, the global social media industry recorded $ 15.62 billion in revenue in 2013. In the years up to 2019, the industry has seen significant revenue growth. By the end of 2019, the industry is expected to register $ 42.91 billion in revenue.

Which countries are aggressively exploiting social media?

The United States is the largest player in the social media site industry. Of the ten largest social media sites in the world, five are from the United States. They include Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. Collectively, the five social media sites have 8.3 billion monthly active users. Additionally, the United States is the leader in the social media industry in terms of revenue generated. In 2018, the country’s social media companies reported $ 34 billion in revenue. Between 2013 and 2018, the industry’s annual revenue growth was 36%.

The other five top ten social media sites in the world are Chinese. These include WeChat, QQ, QZone, TikTok, and Sina Weibo. Collectively, social media sites have 3.48 billion monthly active users. According to Statista, Chinese social media companies generated 60 billion yuan ($ 8.54 billion) in revenue from ads in 2018. Compared to 2017, ad revenue in 2018 grew by almost 90%.

Areas where the application of the social networking site industry is most

All over the world, people use social networking sites (SNS) for a variety of purposes. However, it depends on the purpose of the website. For example, Facebook is a platform where people meet new friends and where they can catch up. Other sites like Twitter give users the option of creating a blog or microblog to share information. Instagram, on the other hand, is a photo-sharing platform while LinkedIn is for professional networking.

In particular, the application of SNS is massive in communication. Today, many companies are present on or more SNS where they communicate with their customers and get feedback. Some SNS like WhatsApp give individuals the ability to stay in touch and spread information faster.

Industry outlook

As the number of monthly active users continues to increase, the growth rate is decreasing. The growth rate of users in the SNS industry peaked in 2014 at 12.5%. Since then, the rate of increase in the number of users of social media sites has continued to decline significantly. According to Statista estimates, the annual increase in the number of social media users will be around 5.6%. This rate will slow further to 4.7% in 2020. Therefore, it can easily be concluded that the number of social media users will soon peak, perhaps within five to ten years.

In terms of number of SNS users by country, China will remain in the lead with over 799.6 million users by 2023. Although India is expected to add over 100 million users by 2023 , it will remain far behind China but far ahead of the United States, where SNS users are expected to reach 257.4 million by 2023. In January 2021, it was also recorded that India had around 320 million people. users.


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