Social media is a business that is part of every aspect of our lives: news, shopping, relationships, employment and recreation. All the sites we use today were once mere ideas in the minds of innovative entrepreneurs. Let’s look at a few popular social networking sites and how they changed everything.
Social Media at a Glance
Number of social media users worldwide (1)
Most popular sites (2)
Site: % of online users
Advertising rundown (3)
We all know these sites are free to use. So how do social media sites make so much money for their CEOs or investors?
Users log in to social media site
Users share content about their interests and daily lives
Advertisers buy ad space on the site, either through a subscription or one-time basis
Companies provide special offers or products through site
More users are encouraged to sign up for site to receive offers and ads
More users mean more ad sales and more revenue for site
Founder: Mark Zuckerberg
Founded in: 2004 (4)
Estimated worth: $200 billion (5)
Estimated monthly visitors: 1,100,000,000 (6)
At just 19 years old, Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook as a social media site for Harvard University. Today, the site is the second most visited property online, and it has a habit of buying out those who threaten to dismantle it.
In 2012 … (7)
… Facebook acquired Instagram for approximately $1 billion.
… Facebook also became a publicly traded company with a valuation of $104 billion.
In 2014 … (7)
… Facebook bought virtual-reality company Oculus for $2 billion.
… Facebook bought the mobile messaging app WhatsApp for $19 billion.
Social media revolutionized (8)
Facebook redefined the word “friend,” also making it a verb.
Facebook created millions of jobs, not only within the company but for marketing on the site as well.
Facebook changed the way people get their news and keep track of politics.
Facebook helps organize demonstrations and protests of cultural or political importance.
Facebook changed the way advertisers reach customers.
Founder: Jack Dorsey
Founded in: 2006 (4)
Estimated worth: $23 billion (5)
Estimated monthly visitors: 310,000,000 (6)
Originally known as “twttr,” Twitter began as an SMS mobile platform that revolved around texting groups of friends. When the company found its home on the web, the 140-character limit remained. Now the words “tweet,” “retweet” and “hashtag” are part of everyday vernacular. (9)
Twitter has changed the way we … (8)
… view and interact with celebrities and politicians.
… share in social movements using hashtags.
… find and use marketing promotions.
… connect to other artists.
… interact with businesses.
Founder: Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger
Founded in: 2010 (4)
Estimated worth: $35 billion (5)
Estimated monthly visitors: 100,000,000 (6)
Instagram was made to focus on user photo exchange. With unique photo filters and limited space for text, the site encourages its users to tap into their creative side. It is now owned by Facebook.
Global ad revenue (10)
2015: $595 million
2017 (projected): $2.81 billion
Founder: Ben Silbermann
Founded in: 2010 (4)
Estimated worth: $11 billion (5)
Estimated monthly visitors: 250,000,000 (6)
Created as a “catalog of ideas,” Pinterest encourages users to get crafty. Though the site is not your typical social network, it still brings people together based on shared interests. Find recipes, craft ideas, song lists, decoration techniques, and photo albums.
A hotbed of brand promotion (11)
83% of active users prefer to follow a brand than a notable celebrity.
73% of active users prefer to follow a beauty brand than a notable makeup artist.
70% of active users prefer to follow a hair care brand rather than a notable hair stylist.
Founder: Reid Hoffman
Founded in: 2002 (4)
Estimated worth: $2 billion (5)
Estimated monthly visitors: 255,000,000 (6)
LinkedIn is one of few social networking sites that focuses on B2B communication and job searches. What started out as a very small, colleague-to-colleague messaging site has turned into a massive employment-oriented endeavor that reached 225,000,000 members in 2013. The company was bought by Microsoft for $26.2 billion. (12)
LinkedIn currently … (12)
… boasts 1 billion endorsements on the site.
… operates in 200 countries and territories and in 20 different languages.
… owns 4% of global social sharing.
… is home to 39 million college students or recent graduates.