Today, billions of people around the world connect through social media. They use mainly Facebook, Twitter and (Facebook-owned) Instagram, which are known as the most prominent social networking platforms. The three internet giants attract different types of users. Facebook is suitable for everyone regardless of their age, Instagram is popular among the younger generation, and Twitter has rich college grads as its most active users.
There are 7.6 billion people on earth. What’s fantastic is that, around 2.5 billion of those people access Facebook at least once a month. With such a huge number of users, it’s safe to say that Facebook targets the global market in its entirety.
It does make sense that every person is a target market of Facebook. In late 2019, the platform had 248 million monthly active users in the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. itself has 68% of its adult citizens using Facebook. Minor differences do exist in regard to demographics. For instance, the percentage of adult women who use Facebook is 74%, which is higher than that of men. As for younger adults in general (18 to 49 years old), 80% of them have an account. In another age category, 65% of older Americans (50 to 64 years old) are also Facebook users. Even 41% of those older than 64 are also present on the social network.
Ethnicity is not a differentiator between one group of Facebook users and the other, although the social networking service is not so popular among Americans living in rural areas. In addition, college graduates are more likely to use the platform than high-school graduates. That still doesn’t change the fact that Facebook is the most highly used social media channel, though, with almost everyone who is actively connected to the internet being its user.
Facebook’s primary source of revenue is none other than targeted digital advertising. Its annual revenue for 2019 was $70.7 billion, up from $55.84 billion in the previous year. But its earnings dropped to $18.48 billion from $22.11 billion previously due to rising costs and expenses.
Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, who is also the company’s chairman, chief executive officer and majority shareholder. As of April 2019, Zuckerberg’s Class A shares and Class B shares amounted to 12.17 million and 365.72 million respectively, granting him 53% of Facebook’s voting power.
The company’s public debut was followed by its acquisition of Instagram for about $1 billion in 2012. It also bought WhatsApp Messenger for $19 billion two years later, a purchase that grew to $22 billion because of the higher value of the social network’s stock.
As one of the most popular forms of social media, Twitter is highly used by a lot of adult Americans, or more precisely about 24% of them. Male and female users are almost equal in number. But the majority of users are younger people. In the age group of 18-24, 45% say they have an account. As a comparison, other age categories such as 25-29, 30-49 and 50-64 are represented by 33%, 27% and 19% of users respectively. Twitter is more popular among wealthy individuals who live in the city. College graduates are also more likely to use it than high school graduates.
Twitter made its global debut in November 2013 and reached a market value of $25 billion on its first day of trading. Its annual revenue came to $3.46 billion in 2019, up from $3.04 billion in the year before. Promoted tweets are the number one contributor to the company’s revenue followed by data licensing.
The co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey controls more than 18 million shares (or 2.34%) of Twitter.
For young people, there’s almost no fun without Instagram. The photo- and video-sharing app is used by 71% of people aged from 18 to 24. There are also 54% of Americans in the age group of 25-29 who have an Instagram account, in addition to 40% of those from 30 to 49 and 21% of those from 50 to 64.
According to Facebook, Instagram has 1 billion active users every month, with 500 million of them don’t seem to be able to live a day without logging into the app. This platform also absorbs 47% of Facebook users. 39% of women report they use Instagram, compared with 30% of men. Users are dominated by college graduates, who are also tend to be affluent.
Instagram was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012. While the purchase was considered a brave bet due to the fact that the photo-sharing service was still new and didn’t generate any serious revenue at that time, everything has changed since then. Over time, Instagram’s popularity began to skyrocket, proving that the deal struck by Facebook was indeed a strategic one. In fact, the platform’s value topped $100 billion in 2018, according to Bloomberg analysts, with revenue exceeding $10 billion. Since Instagram is an app, it facilitated Facebook’s entry into the mobile device market.