Social Networks and their Competitors

Social platforms – not only social networks

The active audience of social networks is 44% of the global Internet audience, which has almost 4.2 billion people. During the year, 320 million users registered on social networks, that is, the growth rate was 10%.

SimilarWeb has four social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and VKontakte), Alexa has six (Reddit and the Chinese Weibo project are added to those already mentioned). Facebook remains the largest, Hootsuite and We Are Social put YouTube in the second place, WhatsApp – third place.

It is noteworthy that the Telegram closes the twenty with a 200 million active audience and in general almost half of the Top 20 are messengers, chat and VOIP services: in addition to WhatsApp and Telegram, this is FB Messenger, WeChat, ∞, Skype, Snapchat, Viber and Line.

In Russia, the main social platforms are VKontakte, WhatsApp, YouTube, Instagram, Viber, Odnoklassniki, Facebook and Telegram, according to data from Mediascope Web-Index. In September, the daily audience of VKontakte was 22.2 million people, or 42% of the population (12–64, cities with a population of 100k +, desktop + mobile).

By the number of messages and active (writing) users in Russia, “VKontakte”, “Odnoklassniki” and Instagram lead. Over the past year, the number of authors in social media has increased by almost 30% – from 35 million to 46 million, according to a study by Brand Analytics. The content is generated almost three times as much – 1.8 billion messages per month against 625 million in 2017.

A Russian user spends on the Internet an average of 3 hours a day. On desktop devices, users spend on social networks 30 minutes, on mobile – 48 minutes (not counting the communication in instant messengers, which takes 16 minutes for gadget owners).

Cooling to social networks

Analysts see cooling to social networks and aggregators as to distribution channels. The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, in its Digital News Report, notes that users no longer view Facebook as a news site (42% in 2016, 36% in 2017).

This trend is observed in a number of countries, and this is largely due to changes in the Facebook algorithm. But the services WhatsApp, Instagram, and Snapchat show a positive trend.

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, the audience loses trust in the media. The level of confidence in the news “in general” is 44%, in the news in the search – 34%, in the news in social networks – 23%. It’s not necessary to look for a long time: for a year we witnessed several large scandals at once and saw the opposite side of sociality in all its glory.

Transferring data from Cambridge Analytica, Facebook’s accusations of advertising surveillance, criminal cases for the repost of VKontakte publications – there are a thousand and one ways to use social networks for unattractive purposes.

As a result, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg was the only American in the list of the main losers of the year, according to Forbes. In April 2018, when it became known that Facebook had leaked data to 50 million users, the head of the company lost almost $ 8 billion in a couple of days.

In July, Zuckerberg’s fortune declined by $ 15 billion after Facebook failed to meet investor expectations for revenue growth. And in November, The New York Times published an investigation into how Zuckerberg and social network top managers paid for negative publications in the media about George Soros, who criticized Facebook. According to Forbes, all these failures cost the businessman $ 18.7 billion.