The Top 10 Social Media Sites & Platforms 2021

The top social media sites have seen plenty of movement in the the last few years.

Facebook might still be dominant, but TikTok has seen the fastest growth of any social media platform. From launch only five years ago, the video-based platform is now fifth for most monthly active users (MAU).

Meanwhile, Instagram has seen impressive growth and holds the number four position for MAU.

This means for brands wanting to reach an audience, the choice of social media platforms is growing and shifting. And attention must be paid to where your demographic might be moving to.

Facebook was once the place for all advertising but is now favored by an older user group. Gen Z and Millenials have migrated to Instagram, and watch this space for TikTok.

With that in mind, how do you choose where to invest your time (and potentially ad spend)?

The best move is to consider which channels are right for your audience. Test a presence on the relevant social media sites, and from results, strategically choose which ones to double down on.

We’re going to take a look at the most popular social media platforms in our social media guide: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest, Reddit, YouTube, and WhatsApp.

Top 10 Social Media Platforms Compared

MAU Revenue Launched Headquarters
1 Facebook 2.7 billion $86 billion 2004 Menlo Park, CA
2 YouTube 2 billion $19.8 billion 2005 San Bruno, California
3 Whatsapp 2 billion $5 billion 2009 Menlo Park, California
4 Instagram 1.16 billion $6.8 billion 2010 Menlo Park, CA
5 TikTok 689 million $35 billion 2016 Culver City, CA
6 Snapchat 433 million $911 million 2011 Los Angeles, CA
7 Reddit 430 million $212.5 million 2005 San Francisco, CA
8 Pinterest 416 million $1,693 million 2010 San Francisco, CA
9 Twitter 353 million $3.72 billion 2006 San Francisco, CA
10 LinkedIn 310 million $8.05 billion 2003 Mountain View, CA

The Top 10 Social Media Apps by Monthly Active Users

1 Facebook 2.7 billion
2 YouTube 2 billion
3 Whatsapp 2 billion
4 Instagram 1.16 billion
5 TikTok 689 million
6 Snapchat 433 million
7 Reddit 430 million
8 Pinterest 416 million
9 Twitter 353 million
10 LinkedIn 310 million

The Top 10 Social Media Sites and Platforms

1. Facebook

Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA
Launched: 2004
Monthly Active Users: 2.7 billion
Founders: Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes
Revenue: $86 billion (2020)

Despite a shifting demographic, no matter your industry, there’s a space for you on Facebook.

Some of the leading industries on Facebook include financial services, ecommerce, retail, gaming, entertainment, media, telecom, technology, consumer goods, and automotive businesses.

While the News Feed increasingly suppresses business posts, there are still ways to bolster engagement without investing in ads.

Consider joining (or creating) groups, using a Facebook Messenger chatbot, or using live video to up your engagement.

2. YouTube

Launched: 2005
Headquarters: San Bruno, California
Monthly Active Users: 2 billion
Revenue: $19.8 billion (2020)
Founders: Jawed Karim, Steve Chen, Chad Hurley

YouTube is the original video social media platform that boasts a dominance in the market, holding second place for monthly active users at 2 billion.

The potential for reach on YouTube is unrivaled, with 73% of US adults using the platform. Numbers that can’t be ignored.

YouTube has a strong user base across all age groups. Including the difficult-to-reach 65+ demographic and with 38% of US adults using the platform, it’s second only to Facebook.

YouTube covers all genres from beauty, gaming, education to DIY home improvements. This is the platform for most brands to invest in, with video being the growing medium for content marketing.

3. WhatsApp

Launched: 2009
Headquarters: Menlo Park, California
Monthly Active Users: 2 billion
Revenue: $5 billion (2020) estimated
Founders: Brian Acton, Jan Koum

WhatsApp remains the most popular social messaging app, way out in front of Facebook Messenger.

The closed messaging app might not seem the obvious choice for brands. But, consider that SMS has a 98% open rate compared to 20% of email; you realize it’s a captive audience. And, unlike SMS, WhatsApp messages are free to send.

If you use WhatsApp for customer services and retention, you begin to realize the potential for brands is huge on a distinctly underleveraged platform. If you can crack WhatsApp, you have a direct marketing channel to your audience.

4. Instagram

Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA
Launched: 2010
Monthly Active Users: 1.16 billion
Founders: Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger
Revenue: $6.8 billion (2020)

Instagram is a social network where product-based businesses, influencers, and coaches can thrive.

Since introducing shoppable posts in 2018, the potential ROI for product-based businesses is higher than ever – not only can B2B’s connect with a massive audience, they can link the product information and sales straight from the Gram.

If your target demographic is under 35, Instagram is a gold mine: 75% of 18-24-year-olds use Instagram, with 67% Generation Z and 57% Millennials using the app daily.

Read more Instagram Statistics and Facts for 2021.

5. TikTok

Launched: 2016
Headquarters: Culver City, California
Monthly Active Users: 689 million
Founders: ByteDance Ltd, Zhang Yiming, Toutiao
Revenue: $35 billion (2020)

TikTok bills itself as “the leading destination for short-form mobile video” with a company mission to inspire creativity and bring joy.

TikTok has certainly struck a chord as it’s the youngest app to market, but has already seen incredible growth. In 2017, after only one year, the app became the fastest growing app worldwide. Despite attempts to ban TikTok in the US and being banned in India, as of 2020, the app had been downloaded 2 billion times globally.

If you want to connect with Generation Z, TikTok is the platform to check out. In the US, 25% of the audience is a teenager or younger. Those users are highly engaged, too; as of January 2021, time per user spent on TikTok exceeded that for Facebook.

6. Snapchat

Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA
Launched: 2011
Monthly Active Users: 433 million
Founders: Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, Daniel Smith, David Kravitz, Leo Noah Katz
Revenue: $911 million (2020)

If your target demographic is young, you definitely want to get in on Snapchat.

The most active users on Snapchat are 13-year-olds, and they’re spending upwards of 30 minutes a day on the app.

Snapchat is a haven for user-generated content, behind-the-scenes videos, exclusive offers, and influencer takeovers.

7. Reddit

Launched: 2005
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
Monthly Active Users: 430 million
Founders: Steve Huffman, Alexis Ohanian, Aaron Swartz
Revenue: $212.5 million (2020)

Reddit heralds itself as “the front page of the internet,” and according to Alexa rankings, Reddit is one of the top 20 most-visited sites.

Reddit has a unique blend of content and community, with more than 150,000 communities dedicated to every topic imaginable.

With so many niches, there’s a place for every brand and business – it’s a matter of finding the niches where your potential customers are active and diving in.

However, be warned, Reddit is a fickle place and won’t tolerate blatant self-promotion. Tread lightly as you begin to navigate because if you get the tone wrong, commentators are quick to jump in and can trash a brand.

8. Pinterest

Launched: 2010
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
Monthly Active Users: 416 million
Founders: Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp
Revenue: $1,693 million (2020)

Some of the most popular content on Pinterest includes fashion, food, decor, wedding, workout, and DIY-related pins.

In addition, anything with rich visuals can thrive on Pinterest.

Notably, 81% of Pinterest users are female – if you have a predominantly female audience, that’s a compelling reason to invest time in social media marketing on Pinterest.

That’s not to say that men aren’t on Pinterest – 40% of new Pinterest signups are male.

9. Twitter

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
Launched: 2006
Monthly Active Users: 353 million
Founders: Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, Noah Glass
Revenue: $3.72 billion (2020)

If your business is related to entertainment, sports, politics, tech, or marketing, you stand to earn tremendous engagement on Twitter.

On Twitter, brands have an opportunity to craft and hone their voice – there’s room to be clever and personable in addition to informative and helpful.

Jump into threads, provide value, share your own content as well as others, and join the nonstop conversation.

10. LinkedIn

Headquarters: Sunnyvale, CA
Launched: 2003
Monthly Active Users: 310 million (estimated 2019)
Founders: Reid Hoffman, Konstantin Guericke, Allen Blue, Jean-Luc Vaillant, Eric Ly
Revenue: $8.05 billion (2020)

Within its massive network of professionals, you’ll find more than 61 million users in senior positions on LinkedIn.

If you’re looking for decision-makers who have the power to hire your company, stock your product, or partner with you, LinkedIn is the place to be.

Did you know that 44% of LinkedIn users have an income above the national median? Or that more than 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a very focused social media platform, and because of that,  it has unlimited potential for connecting with an elite group of professionals who can make a difference for your business.

Image Credits

Featured image: Paulo Bobita
All screenshots taken by author, June 2021