Social Media Research in 2016

January 4, 2017
By Zack Poelwijk

It’s the beginning of the year and we started to wonder about what the social media research in 2016 turned up. We know that Facebook is still king of the heap. Social media hasn’t changed THAT much, unlike the year between 2009 and 2010 when we watched in real time how MySpace crumpled as Facebook took over.

We wanted to know if any social media research in 2016 showed us significant changes in user demographics. Here’s what we found.

The top 5 social networks haven’t changed.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook rules the roost. The leading social media outlets worldwide as of April 2016 with their number of users (in millions) are:

  1. Facebook (1,590)
  2. Tumblr (555)
  3. Instagram (400)
  4. Twitter (320)
  5. Snapchat (200)

Looking at this image shows other social media applications that I didn’t consider in this top 5 list, because, like Facebook’s closest competitor, WhatsApp, they’re not really “networks.” WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and is a messenging service.

All the way down there at 200 million users is Pinterest. This is the right place for a lot of businesses to be so don’t be discouraged just because it seems like there are a lot of networks in front of it. Read on and you’ll see why most of these aren’t really “networks.”

social media research in 2016

Tubmlr recently began allowing ads on its blogs. It’s as of now an untapped resource for advertising, but users can opt out of the ads. And in an environment like this where users have for years not had ads, the sudden onslaught of monetization could be a turn off.

1.6 billion active users on Facebook. It’s a mind-boggling number. If you can figure out the strategy to reach a lot of people on Facebook, you’ll be doing pretty good. That’s a secret we all want to know.

QQ is a messenging service used in China. Q Zone is also Chinese and is like Facebook in that it lets people share photos, write diaries, watch videos and listen to music.

WeChat is a free messenging and calling service. Baidu Tieba is also Chinese, kind of like the Chinese Google, and Viber is an instant messenging and VoIP service.

Sina Weibo is a microblogging platform that is like the Chinese Twitter. LINE is a calls and messenging service, and yy is a Chinese video network, like YouTube. BBM and Telegram are both messenger services.

So, if your target market is China, you have a lot more opportunities. So far, it looks like United States users are going to be sticking with Facebook for a while.