Weibo, Orkut, vKontakte, Line… no, no, these are not Ikea furniture. They’re just a few among many other social networks. Discover them right now.
Facebook is not alone!
Most of the time, when someone hears “social media” or “social network” he or she directly thinks of Facebook or Twitter. However, it is a big mistake to reduce the social media landscape to these American giants. The BI Intelligence posted a report as of October 30, 2013, listing up the 24 most popular social networks in the world. Most of them are only very popular in their native country but it is very important to keep them in mind. Actually, some of them are starting to get more and more importance worldwide.
Let’s have a deeper look at that list…
1. Facebook (1.15 billion Monthly Active Users)
Nowadays, who never heard about Facebook? With over a billion of monthly active users, Facebook is the second most visited website of the world after Google. Facebook was initially founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommates as a social network for Harvard students in 2004. Two years later it went public and rapidly seduced millions of users.
2. YouTube (1 billion MAUs)
YouTube is a web video hosting service created nine years ago by Steven Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim, three former PayPal employees. In 2006, it was bought by Google for US$1.65 billion. Today, YouTube counts more than 1 billion unique monthly active users. According to YouTube website stats, 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
3. Qzone (712 million Total Users)
Qzone is a Chinese social network launched by Tencent Company in 2005. This blogging site allows users to write content, share and send pictures, listen to music and watch videos. It has actually Asia’s largest social network base with more than 700 million total users. Particularity: most of Qzone services are paid. QQ is the instant messaging software service related to Qzone (like Messenger is to Facebook).
4. Weibo (500 million Total Users)
Another very popular social media in China is Weibo, a hybrid version of Facebook and Twitter but still called the “Chinese Twitter”. It was launched in 2009 by Sina Corporation. Users can only post 140 characters messages and can address to others with “@UserName”, just like Twitter. Hashtags are also very used.
5. WhatsApp (350 million MAUs)
It’s no longer news; Facebook recently bought WhatsApp for US$ 19 billions. This instant messaging service allows smartphones users to send worldwide text messages, images, videos and vocal messages to other WhatsApp users. It is free and only requires an Internet connexion. Created in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, two former employees of Yahoo!, WhatsApp is now in fierce concurrence with the giant Skype since it started to offer a free call service.
6. Google+ (327 million MAUs)
Google+ is a social network created in 2011 in response to Facebook. It is gaining more and more popularity and counted more than 320 million monthly active users by October 2013. Owned by Google Inc, Google+ has the particularity to offer an authorship tool that associates web-content with the author’s profile.
7. Tumblr (300 million Monthly Unique Visitors)
Tumblr was founded in 2007 by David Karp but is actually owned by Yahoo! Inc (it has been bought in May 2013 for US$1,1 billion). This micro blogging platform and social networking website allows users to blog or micro-blog text, images, links, videos or audio content. Users can post content on their private blog and follow others blog.
8. LINE (275 million Total Active Users)
LINE is a Japanese instant messaging application for smartphones and computers. Launched in 2011, it became Japan’s largest social network in 2013 with over 50 million users and near 300 million total active users worldwide. It allows users to exchange multimedia content as well as the possibility to make free VoIP calls.
9. Twitter (240 million MAUs)
Twitter is probably the most famous micro-blogging service in the world. It enables registered users to share content limited to 140 characters called “tweets”. Unregistered users can still read these tweets but cannot post any. It was created in 2006 and counted more than 240 million monthly active users by October 2013.
10. WeChat (236 million MAUs)
WeChat was launched by Tencent Company in 2011. It is an instant messaging mobile service like WhatsApp, QQ or LINE. It allows users to exchange multimedia messages and offers additional paid services. With over 230 million monthly active users in 2013, WeChat is getting more and more popular.
11. Tencent Weibo, (220 million MAUs)
Tencent Weibo is one more Chinese micro-blogging website launched by Tencent in 2010. It works like Twitter: users can send 140 Chinese characters long messages.
12. LinkedIn, (184 million MAUs)
LinkedIn was launched in 2003 and clearly differentiates itself from the others: it is business-oriented. As the years passed, LinkedIn became more and more popular. It includes multimedia content sharing, profile customizing and connections between users. It counted more than 180 monthly active users by the end 2013.
13. Youku,(175 million MAUs)
Youku is a Chinese video hosting service created in 2003 by Victor Koo, former President of Internal Portal Sohu. It’s actually working just like YouTube, enabling users to have their own channel and to watch/share videos.
14. Instagram, (150 million MAUs)
Instagram was launched in 2010 and bought by Facebook for US$1billion in 2012. Its popularity grew over years and has nowadays more than 150 million monthly active users. It is an online social networking service allowing users to share pictures, videos and appreciations (comments and likes). Its particularity: it enables users to apply a variety of filters on their photo or video very easily and then share them on different social networks.
15. Tudou, (114 million MAUs)
Tudou is another Chinese video-sharing website (working like YouTube). It was created in 2005 and it is now the second largest video host of China (right after Youku).
16. RenRen, (54 million MAUs)
Until 2009, RenRen used to be called Xianoei since it’s creation in 2005. It is a Chinese social networking service very similar to Facebook and very popular in China, far more than Facebook itself.
17. Pinterest, (50 million MAUs)
Pinterest was founded by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp. It is very different from other social network. It differentiates by its visual bookmarking feature. Indeed, it enables users to “pin” a variety of content (mostly pictures) and then organize them in different collections (called “boards”). These collections can be private or public and of course shared very easily to other social media.
18. Badoo, (45 million MAUs)
__Founded in 2006, Badoo is a dating-focused social networking service allowing users to meet other people. It is owned by Andrey Andreev, a Russian entrepreneur based in Cyprus. Controversial for privacy matters and promotional tactics, Badoo remains very popular and has more than 45 million monthly active users.
19. Orkut, (44 million MAUs)
Orkut is a social networking website which was created in 2004 by Orkut Büyükkökten, a Google employee. It is very similar to Facebook and extremely popular in Brazil and quite popular in India.
20. Foursquare, (40 million MAUs)
Foursquare is another very distinctive social networking website based on location. It is only available for mobile devices and works with a geolocalization system. Users “check in” different places and each of these check-in grants points and sometimes badges. A user can become the “mayor” of a specific place if he’s the one who checked in the most to that venue. Users also have the possibility to like or comment places.
21. Vine, (40 million MAUs)
Vine is a very recent mobile application that was founded in 2012. It is actually free and it is owned by Twitter. Vine hosts short looping videos (6 seconds) and allows users to share them very easily to other social networks, especially Twitter. Vine allows users to add a description to their video as well as “hashtags”. It is getting more and more popular.
22. vKontakte, (31 million MAUs)
vKontakte is the “Russian Facebook”. It was launched in 2006 by Pavel Dourov. Just like Facebook, vKontakte was initially created for students but quickly became open to everyone. It is now the most used social networking service in Russia with more than 30 million monthly active users.
23. Myspace, (30 million MAUs)
Founded in 2003 by Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson, Myspace is one of the first social networking service. It allows users to create their own personal space and to create and share content, with an emphasis on music. It was bought by News Corporation (Rupert Murdoch) in 2005 for US$ 580 million. It is now owned by Specific Media LLC and Justin Timberlake, pop singer and actor. Until 2008, Myspace was extremely successful and was actually one of the most popular social networks in the world. However, Myspace could not keep pace with Facebook tremendous success. Consequently, its popularity started to decrease drastically despite many efforts.
24. Snapchat (20 million MAUs in the U.S.)
Launched in 2011, Snapchat was developed by Stanford University students Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy. It is a very particular photo messaging mobile application that allows users to send photos and videos that can be personified (possibility to add text, drawings, stickers to content). Unlike other photo services, Snapchat has the particularity to ask the sender to set a time limit (1 to 10 seconds) for how long his message (“snap”) can be viewed. After being seen by the recipient, the content is totally deleted from Snapchat’s servers. It is essentially used by teenagers and is becoming more and more popular.
A plethora of different social networks…
As we can see, some of these social networks are trying to offer some very specific feature(s) in order to diversify from the others. Vine, Snapchat, or Foursquare, for example, are real innovation as they all have all their specificities and can be used in complement with other “regular” networking service.
On the other hand, many of these social networks are actually true alternatives to Facebook for many countries: RenRen (China), vKontakte (Russia) or Orkut (Brazil) for example.
We also notice alternatives to Twitter, like Weibo (China) or to instant messaging service like WeChat (China) or LINE (Japan). Actually, we can see that Asia has its own social networking services and does not need to rely on any western social platform.
How are their apps doing?
What about their mobile applications? How high are they placed in the App Store?
It is interesting to look more closely at their global rank by country. AppTweak offers a (free) unique functionality that displays any app’s ranking position in the world by country in a very legible way.
You can find these maps on AppTweak for any app, in any of the 60 countries that we follow. Furthermore, if you mouse-over any country of the map on AppTweak website, you can directly have the app’s global ranking position in that specific country.
For example, let’s look at Facebook app:
Facebook app’s take over is not surprising. We can see that the app is highly ranked (<10 or 10-25) in the App Store in most of the developed countries. Canada, United States (19), South America (surpassed Orkut), Europe, South Africa (5), India (8), Australia… Facebook seems to be “the king”. However, if we look closer, we can see that Facebook is not that high in the global ranking position of China (293) and Russia (55)…
Now, let’s look at RenRen, the “Chinese Facebook”:
This explains what we’ve just seen with Facebook: RenRen has a higher ranking position in China (245). However, we can see that RenRen is totally insignificant in the rest of the world.
If we look at vKontakte, the “Russian Facebook”, we can see that the situation is exactly the same than with RenRen compared to Facebook. In Russia, vKontakte is undoubtedly the leader and has a high ranking position in the Russian App Store (15). However, in the rest of the world, vKontakte is totally irrelevant.
Let’s look at Twitter:
We can see that Twitter is globally well ranked in most of the developed countries (0>80). It is also present in the Asian continent, however, it seems totally absent from China’s App Store.
However, Weibo, the “Chinese Twitter” is heavily used in China (84) and nowhere else, except a bit in Malaysia and Taiwan.
Let’s look at Whatsapp:
The famous instant messaging service seems to be very popular in most countries. It is 13th in Russia, 8th in Brazil, 7th in France, 6th in India…actually very successful pretty much everywhere. However, we notice a decline of ranking position in China (357) and Japan, as usual.
If we look at LINE, the Japanese alternative of WhatsApp, we can notice that it is much more widely popular than other Asian social networking services. 16th in Japan and 128th in China, it is however surprisingly 57th in the USA.
Actually, every social networking service of the list has an app in the App Store (some of them being exclusively apps; like Snapchat or WhatsApp for example). It seems that they are all pretty much well ranked globally, except Apps developed in and for China in order to keep the lead in their country.
How many of these social networking services did you know? Do you think that there’s more to come? Do you think that one day Facebook will be overthrown? Leave your impressions in the comment section below!
Source: Business Insider - Note: keep in mind that these figures were calculated end 2013, they may have evolved since then.
By Laurie Galazzo