Social Media Titans that Defined 2023

The indomitable influence of these platforms continues to shape online interactions, content consumption, and the way we connect with the world

By Kushmita Bose

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Published: Wed 31 Jan 2024, 12:30 PM

In the digital age, communication has evolved from traditional face-to-face interactions to instant messaging platforms that connect people around the globe. Messaging apps have become an integral part of our daily lives, facilitating real-time conversations, file sharing, and even video calls. In the ever-evolving realm of social media, trends come and go, but certain platforms have cemented their presence and influence in the digital space. When assessing the most widely used social media platforms, you can rest assured that Meta-owned platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp will appear somewhere on the list. These massive social media platforms not only secure prominent spots on the list but also dominate it.

WhatsApp Dominates Global Social Media Scene

Market leader Facebook was the first social network to surpass one billion registered accounts and currently sits at more than three billion monthly active users. Meta Platforms owns four of the biggest social media platforms, all with over one billion monthly active users each: Facebook (core platform), WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. In the second quarter of 2023, Facebook reported over 3.8 billion monthly, according to a report by Statista.

It’s easy to get started on Facebook because almost all content formats work great on Facebook — text, images, video content, and Stories. But the Facebook algorithm prioritises content that sparks conversations and meaningful interactions between people, especially those from family and friends.

Notably, WhatsApp has achieved a milestone by delivering approximately 100 billion messages daily, as revealed by the company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. This extends beyond personal use, with WhatsApp Business reaching 200 million monthly active users in June 2023, as TechCrunch reported by quoting an analyst at AllianceBernstein.

Within the realm of messaging apps, WhatsApp maintains its position as the leading OTT messaging app. Following closely is the Chinese app WeChat, boasting 1.3 billion users, and Meta's Messenger, which experienced substantial growth in the second and third quarter of 2023. Facebook Messenger's user base increased from about 900 million at the beginning of the year to 1.036 billion.

Instagram too exhibited remarkable growth as well, surging from 1.1 billion users in October 2020 to an impressive two billion users by October 2023. Highlighting substantial expansion among smaller players, Telegram stands out with the most robust user growth, elevating its active user count from 550 million in 2020 to 800 million in 2023.

Users Spend Almost 34 Hours Per Month On TikTok

While Facebook boasts the highest number of users and Instagram holds the lead in popularity, neither of these platforms can rival the dominance of TikTok, which has unquestionably become the most used social media platform. According to OnlyAccounts.io, users are dedicating nearly 34 hours per month to TikTok, marking a significant increase of ten hours compared to the previous year.

TikTok's supremacy in the short video content arena continues to challenge other social media giants, with a global surge in demand for this type of content. Six years post-launch, TikTok maintains its stronghold in the market, propelled by a vast user base of 1.9 billion. The app is poised for record downloads and the highest in-app purchase revenue to date. According to the Digital Global Overview Report from DataReportal, TikTok not only boasts staggering user numbers but also reigns supreme in average monthly usage time. In 2023, Android users worldwide spent an average of 33 hours and 28 minutes on TikTok each month, reflecting a remarkable ten-hour increase from the previous year—the most substantial growth among the top social media platforms. This statistic becomes even more noteworthy when compared to the average time spent on social media giants Facebook and Instagram, revealing that users dedicate twice as much time to TikTok.

Instagram Leads the Way in Popularity, TikTok Tops in Usage Time

Despite TikTok commanding the highest usage time, Instagram, positioned as the third-largest platform in the realm of social media, remains the preferred choice among users.

According to the DataReportal survey, nearly 16 per cent of social media users identified Instagram as their number one social media platform, 1.5% more than six months ago.

Facebook ranked as the second position in popularity, capturing a 13 per cent share among respondents. However, the statistics indicate a slight decline in Facebook's popularity since April when 14.2% of social media users designated it as their primary choice.

Instagram's popularity significantly outstrips that of TikTok, with the former holding a 7 per cent share among respondents. Despite this, there has been a growth from the 6.1 per cent share recorded six months ago for the short-form video platform. X, previously known as Twitter, secured a mid-level position with a 3.2 per cent share among social media users, maintaining a similar standing as in April. The survey highlighted Snapchat as the least favored platform, with only 1.3 per cent of respondents selecting it as their preferred choice.

—kushmita@khaleejtimes.com


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