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The Top 10 Social Media Sites & Platforms 2022

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The Top 10 Social Media Sites & Platforms 2022

Social media is a pillar of many people’s daily lives.

The Digital 2022 April Global Statshot Report found that there are 4.65 billion social media users on the planet. That’s 58.7% of the global population, many of whom are using social media as a primary source of information.

From news (and disinformation) to lifestyle tips, decision-making to product research, social media users can gather all the information they need, without ever leaving their platform of choice.

And it’s not just in the U.S. (though 84% of Americans use at least one social media network). China now has more than 1 billion social media users, despite still having roughly 415 million citizens without internet access.

For marketers, these are more than just eye-catching numbers – they’re potential customers. And if you have a proper social media strategy, they can become realized customers.

Unfortunately, it’s not just as easy as hanging out your shingle on Facebook and waiting for the business to come rolling in.

You have to have a strategy to raise brand awareness, connect with potential customers, and engage with your audience. And a key part of that is being in the right place.

For example, if you’re selling retirement homes, TikTok probably isn’t the place for you, as 47.4% of users are under 30.

Similarly, if you want to target native Chinese speakers, Facebook probably isn’t the right platform for you, as it only has 3.3 million users in China.

So, how do you choose where to spend your time (and potential ad spend)?

Unless your company has deep pockets and doesn’t care about results, a shotgun approach, where you try to target everyone, everywhere, at the same time isn’t effective.

You need to consider which channels are right for your audience.

Before you go all-in on one social media site, test several out. See if you’re getting the results you want, and then strategically choose which ones you want to double down on.

In this piece, we’ll look at some of the most popular social media platforms, give you a quick overview of them, and make suggestions about what type of business they might work for.

Top 10 Social Media Platforms Compared

MAU* Revenue Launched Headquarters
1 Facebook 2.9 billion $85.96 billion 2004 Menlo Park, CA
2 YouTube 2.2 billion $28.8 billion 2005 San Bruno, California
3 WhatsApp 2 billion $5.5 billion 2009 Menlo Park, California
4 Instagram 2 billion $24 billion 2010 Menlo Park, CA
5 TikTok 1 billion $11 billion 2016 Culver City, CA
6 Snapchat 538 million $1.06 billion 2011 Los Angeles, CA
7 Pinterest 444 million $575 million 2005 San Francisco, CA
8 Reddit 430 million $289.9 million 2010 San Francisco, CA
9 LinkedIn 250 million $12. 4 billion 2006 San Francisco, CA
10 Twitter 217 million $5.42 billion 2003 Mountain View, CA

*Number of monthly active users worldwide

The Top 10 Social Media Apps By Monthly Active Users

MAU*
1 Facebook 2.9 billion
2 YouTube 2.2 billion
3 WhatsApp 2 billion
4 Instagram 2 billion
5 TikTok 1 billion
6 Snapchat 538 million
7 Pinterest 444 million
8 Reddit 430 million
9 LinkedIn 250 million
10 Twitter 217 million

*Number of monthly active users worldwide

The Top 10 Social Media Sites And Platforms

1. Facebook

Screenshot by author, May 2022FB Page sample

Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA

Launched: 2004

Monthly Active Users: 2.9 billion

Founders: Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes

Revenue: $86 billion (2022)

Facebook isn’t number one anymore. Sure, the platform that you connect with your mom, third-grade teacher, and neighbor is still there, and still as popular as ever (even more so, actually).

But now it’s Meta. Or at least the company that owns it, Instagram, and WhatsApp are now Meta, Inc.

The platform has seen a demographic shift, but it’s still the big dog on the social media block.

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

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

However, if you really want to drive action from your audience, Facebook ads are a great way to do it.

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


2. YouTube

SEJ Youtube home pageScreenshot by author, May 2022SEJ Youtube home page

Launched: 2005

Headquarters: San Bruno, California

Monthly Active Users: 2.2 billion

Revenue: $28.8 billion (2022)

Founders: Jawed Karim, Steve Chen, Chad Hurley

The original video social media platform, YouTube maintains dominance in that market. It is currently the second most used platform with 2.2 billion monthly active users.

The potential for reach on YouTube is unrivaled, with 81% of U.S. adults using the platform. The numbers can’t be ignored.

YouTube has a strong user base across all age groups. This includes the difficult-to-reach 65+ demographic, 49% of whom use the platform, second only to Facebook.

YouTube covers all genres from beauty, gaming, and 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

WhatsApp homepageScreenshot by author, May 2022WhatsApp homepage

Launched: 2009

Headquarters: Menlo Park, California

Monthly Active Users: 2 billion

Revenue: $5.5 billion (2022) 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% for email. It’s a captive audience. And, unlike SMS, WhatsApp messages are free to send.

If you use WhatsApp for customer service and retention, you probably already realize its potential for brands is huge and distinctly under-leveraged.

If you can crack WhatsApp, you’ll have a direct marketing channel to your audience.


4. Instagram

SEJ IG Screenshot by author, May 2022SEJ IG

Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA

Launched: 2010

Monthly Active Users: 2 billion

Founders: Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger

Revenue: $24 billion (2022)

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: 67% of 18-24-year-olds use Instagram, with 67% of Generation Z and 58% of Millennials using the app daily.

Read more Instagram Statistics and Facts for 2021.


5. TikTok

TikTok Official AccountScreenshot by author, May 2022TikTok Official Account

Launched: 2016

Headquarters: Culver City, California

Monthly Active Users: 1 billion

Founders: ByteDance Ltd, Zhang Yiming, Toutiao

Revenue: $11 billion (2022)

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 U.S. and being banned in India, as of 2021, the app had been downloaded more than 3 billion times globally.

If you want to connect with Generation Z, TikTok is the platform to check out.

In the U.S., 25% of the audience is a teenager or younger. Those users are highly engaged, too; with an average user session of nearly 11 minutes, which is twice as long as Pinterest, the next closest app.


6. Snapchat

Snapchat HomepageScreenshot by author, May 2022Snapchat Homepage

Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA

Launched: 2011

Monthly Active Users: 538 million

Founders: Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, Daniel Smith, David Kravitz, Leo Noah Katz

Revenue: $1.06 billion  (2022)

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

SEJ on RedditScreenshot by author, May 2022SEJ on Reddit

Launched: 2005

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

Monthly Active Users: 430 million

Founders: Steve Huffman, Alexis Ohanian, Aaron Swartz

Revenue: $289.9 million (2022)

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 2.8 million communities or subreddits, 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

SEJ on PinterestScreenshot by author, May 2022SEJ on Pinterest

Launched: 2010

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

Monthly Active Users: 444 million

Founders: Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp

Revenue: $574 million (2022)

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, 60% 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 – it has a male audience percentage of 40%.


9. Twitter

SEJ on TwitterScreenshot by author, May 2022SEJ on Twitter

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

Launched: 2006

Monthly Active Users: 217 million (2021)

Founders: Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, Noah Glass

Revenue: $1.2 billion (2022)

Unlike other social media platforms, Twitter saw a decrease in the number of users in the past year. This may be attributed to the banning of former president Donald Trump and fears of conservative censorship.

As of this writing, the site is in the process of completing a $44 billion sale to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. This announcement led to large fluctuations in follower numbers as the political makeup of the users changed, a process Twitter referred to as “organic” in nature.

In spite of a clear understanding of what the future holds for the platform, if your business is related to entertainment, sports, politics, tech, or marketing, you stand to earn tremendous engagement on this app.

On Twitter, brands have an opportunity to craft and hone their voice. There’s room to be clever and personable, while still being informative and helpful.

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


10. LinkedIn

SEJ on LinkedInScreenshot by author, May 2022SEJ on LinkedIn

Headquarters: Sunnyvale, CA

Launched: 2003

Monthly Active Users: 830 million (2022)

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 the average LinkedIn user has an income more than $2,000 above the national median? Or that 50 million people use it to search for jobs every week?

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.

Which Platform(s) Should You Use?

Social media is everywhere. And everyone is using it, from your teenage neighbor who’s trying to go viral on TikTok with the latest dance, to your 86-year-old grandmother who’s using Facebook to track down long-lost friends.

But, not all platforms work for every business. So, if you were hoping you’d reach the end of this piece and there would be an easy answer as to which ones your company should be on, well, you’re out of luck.

That’s not to say there isn’t an answer, it’s just that every social media mix will be unique.

Different platforms have different functionality which often makes them more suitable for specific brands and industries.

Are you looking to boost customer engagement? Increase your reach? Create unforgettable brand experiences?

You need to figure out what you want to get out of your social media presence and then determine which strategy will help you achieve those goals.

Be selective, find the platform or platforms your audience is using, and then customize your campaign to reach them.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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7 Ways To Use Google Trends For SEO & Content Marketing

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7 Ways To Use Google Trends For SEO & Content Marketing

Google Trends is a surprisingly useful tool for keyword research, especially when using advanced search options that are virtually hidden in plain sight.

Explore the different Google Trends menus and options and discover seemingly endless ways to gain more keyword search volume insights.

Learn new ways to unlock the power of one of Google’s most important SEO tools.

The Value Of Google Trends

While Google Trends is accurate, it doesn’t show the amount of traffic in actual numbers.

It shows the numbers of queries made in relative percentages on a scale of zero to 100.

Unlike Google Trends, paid SEO tools provide traffic volume numbers for keywords.

But those numbers are only estimates that are extrapolated from a mix of internet traffic data providers, Google Keyword Planner, scraped search results, and other sources.

The clickstream data usually comes from anonymized traffic data acquired from users of certain pop-up blockers, browser plugins, and some free anti-virus software.

The SEO tools then apply a calculation that corresponds to their best guess of how that data correlates with Google keyword search and traffic volume.

So, even though paid SEO tools provide estimates of keyword traffic, the data presented by Google Trends is based on actual search queries and not guesses.

That’s not to say that Google Trends is better than paid keyword tools. When used together with paid keyword tools, one can obtain a near-accurate idea of true keyword search volume.

There are other functions in Google Trends that can help dial in accurate segmentation of the keyword data that helps to understand what geographic locations are best for promotional efforts and also discover new and trending keywords.

How To Use Google Trends For SEO

1. Get More Accurate Data By Comparing Keywords

Google Trends shows a relative visualization of traffic on a scale of zero to 100.

You can’t really know if the trend is reporting hundreds of keyword searches or thousands because the graph is on a relative scale of zero to one hundred.

However, the relative numbers can have more meaning when they are compared with keywords for which there are known traffic levels from another keyword phrase.

One way to do this is to compare keyword search volume with a keyword whose accurate traffic numbers are already known, for example, from a PPC campaign.

If the keyword volume is especially large for which you don’t have a keyword to compare, there’s another way to find a keyword to use for comparison.

A comparison keyword doesn’t have to be related. It can be in a completely different vertical and could even be the name of a trending celebrity.

The important thing is the general keyword volume data.

Google publishes a Google Trends Daily Trends webpage that shows trending search queries.

What’s useful about this page is that Google provides keyword volumes in numbers, like 100,000+ searches per day, etc.

Example Of How To Pinpoint Search Volume

I’m going to use the search phrase [how to lose weight] as an example of how to use Google Trends to get a close idea of actual search volume.

The way I do it is by using known search volumes and comparing them to the target keyword phrase.

Google provides search volumes on its trending searches page, which can be adjusted for what’s trending in any country.

On this particular day (September 22, 2022), the actress Ana De Armas was trending with 50,000+ searches, and the American ex-football player (keyword phrase [Bret Favre News]) was trending with 20,000+ searches.

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Step 1. Find Search Trends For Target Keyword Phrases

The target keyword phrase we’re researching is [how to lose weight].

Below is a screenshot of the one-year trend for the target keyword phrase:

Screenshot from Google Trends, September 2022

As you can see, it’s a fairly stable trend line from September 2021 to September 2022.

Then I added the two keyword phrases for which we have a close search volume count to compare all three, but for a 24-hour time period.

I use a 24-hour time period because the search volume for our comparison keywords is trending for this one day.

Google Trends ComparisonScreenshot from Google Trends, September 2022

Our target keyword phrase, with a red trend line, is right in the middle, in between the keyword phrases [Ana De Armas] (blue) and [Bret Favre News] (yellow).

What the above comparison tells us is that the phrase [how to lose weight] has a keyword volume of more than 20,000+ searches but less than 50,000+ searches.

The relative search volume of [how to lose weight] is 50% of the keyword phrase [Ana De Armas]. 

Because we know that [Ana De Armas] has a search volume of approximately 50,000+ searches on this particular day, and [Bret Favre News] has a search volume of 20,000+ queries on the same day, we can say with reasonable accuracy that the keyword phrase, [how to lose weight] has approximately a daily search volume of around 30,000 on an average day, give or take a few thousand.

The actual numbers could be higher because Google Trends shows the highs and lows at particular points of the day. The total for the day is very likely higher.

The above hack isn’t 100% accurate. But it’s enough to give a strong ballpark idea and can be used to compare with and validate extrapolated data from a paid keyword research tool.

Related: How To Do Keyword Research For SEO

2. Discover Insights From Time-based Trends

There are two general ways to look at the keyword data: stretched across over longer periods of time and shorter time periods.

Long Period Trends

You can set Google Trends to show you the traffic trends stretching back to 2004. This is valuable for showing you the audience trends.

  • Upward Long-Term Trends: If a trend is consistently going up, this means you need to focus energy on creating content for this trend.
  • Downward Long-Term Trends: If the trend line is steadily moving down, then it may be a signal that audience content consumption is changing.

For example, review this five-year trend for [WordPress] the search term, WordPress the software, and WordPress the website:

An image of Google Trends tool showing a five year trend.Screenshot from Google Trends, September 2022

There’s a clear downward trend for WordPress in all three variations.

The downward trend extends to related phrases such as:

  • WordPress themes.
  • WordPress plugin.
  • WordPress hosting.

There are many reasons why search trends go down. It can be that people lost interest, that the interest went somewhere else or that the trend is obsolete.

The digital camera product category is a good example of a downward spiral caused by a product being replaced by something else.

  • The digital camera caused the downturn in searches for traditional analog cameras.
  • The iPhone started the downward spiral of the digital camera.

Knowing which way the wind is blowing could help a content marketer or publisher understand when it’s time to bail on a topic or product category and to pivot to upward-trending ones.

Related: Content Marketing: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

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3. Related Topics And Queries

Google Trends has two great features, one called Related Topics and the other Related Queries.

Topics

Topics are search queries that share a concept.

Identifying related topics that are trending upwards is useful for learning how an audience or consumer demand is shifting.

This information can, in turn, provide ideas for content generation or new product selections.

According to Google:

Related Topics

Users searching for your term also searched for these topics.

You Can View by the Following Metrics

Top – The most popular topics. Scoring is on a relative scale where a value of 100 is the most commonly searched topic and a value of 50 is a topic searched half as often as the most popular term, and so on.

Rising – Related topics with the biggest increase in search frequency since the last time period.

Results marked “Breakout” had a tremendous increase, probably because these topics are new and had few (if any) prior searches.”

Related Queries

The description of Related Queries is similar to that of the Related Topics.

Top queries are generally the most popular searches. Rising Queries are queries that are becoming popular.

Screenshot of Google Trends Related Queries feature.Screenshot from Google Trends, September 2022

The data from Rising Queries are great for staying ahead of the competition.

4. Short-Term Trends Can Bring Massive Traffic

Viewing keyword trends in the short view, such as the 90-day or even 30-day view, can reveal valuable insights for capitalizing on rapidly changing search trends.

There is a ton of traffic in Google Discover as well as in Google News.

Google Discover is tied to trending topics related to searches.

Google News is of the moment in terms of current events.

Sites that target either of those traffic channels benefit from knowing what the short-term trends are.

A benefit of viewing short-term trends (30 days and 90 trends) is that certain days of the week stand out when those searches are popular.

Knowing which days of the week interest spikes for a given topic can help in planning when to publish certain kinds of topics, so the content is right there when the audience is searching for it.

5. Keywords By Category

Google Trends has the functionality for narrowing down keyword search query inventory according to category topics.

This provides more accurate keyword data.

The Categories tab is important because it refines your keyword research to the correct context.

If your keyword context is [automobiles], then it makes sense to appropriately refine Google Trends to show just the data for the context of auto.

By narrowing the Google Trends data by category, you will be able to find more accurate information related to the topics you are researching for content within the correct context.

6. Identify Keyword Data By Geography

Google Trends keyword information by geographic location can be used for determining what areas are the best to outreach to for site promotion or for tailoring the content to specific regions.

For example, if certain kinds of products are popular in Washington D.C. and Texas, it makes sense to aim promotional activity and localized content to those areas.

In fact, it might be useful to focus link-building promotional activities in those areas first since the interest is higher in those parts of the country.

Keyword popularity information by region is valuable for link building, content creation, content promotion, and pay-per-click.

Localizing content (and the promotion of that content) can make it more relevant to the people who are interested in that content (or product).

See also  10 Key Steps To Ranking Higher In Google Maps

Google ranks pages according to who it’s most relevant, so incorporating geographic nuance into your content can help it rank for the most people.

7. Target Search Intents With Search Types

Google Trends gives you the ability to further refine the keyword data by segmenting it by the type of search the data comes from, the Search Type.

Refining your Google Trends research by the type of search allows you to remove the “noise” that might be making your keyword research fuzzy and help it become more accurate and meaningful.

Google Trends data can be refined by:

  • Web Search.
  • Image Search.
  • News Search.
  • Google Shopping.
  • YouTube Search.
Screenshot of Google Trends showing the different kinds of searchesScreenshot from Google Trends, September 2022

YouTube search is a fantastic way to identify search trends for content with the word “how” because a lot of people search on YouTube using phrases with the words “how” in them.

Although these are searches conducted on YouTube, the trends data is useful because it shows what users are looking for.

A Google Trends search for how, what, where, when, why, and who shows that search queries beginning with the word “how” are by far the most popular on YouTube.

Google Trends limits comparisons to five keywords, so the following screenshot omits that word.

Screenshot of Keyword Popularity on YouTube.Screenshot from Google Trends, September 2022

If your keyword phrases involve instructional content that uses words like “how to,” refining your research with the YouTube search type may provide useful insights.

For example, I have found that YouTube Search shows more relevant “related topics” and “related queries” data than researching with “web search” selected.

Here’s another example of how using different kinds of search types helps refine Google Trends data.

I did the same how, what, where, when, why, and who searches but this time using the News Search refinement.

Screenshot of Google Trends with News Search refinement selectedScreenshot from Google Trends, September 2022

The search trends in Google News are remarkably different than the search patterns on YouTube. That’s because people want to know the “what” and “how” types of information in Google News.

When creating content related to news, identifying the correct angle to report a news item is important.

Knowing that the words “what” or “who” are most relevant to a topic can be useful for crafting the title to what the readers are most interested in.

The above is the view of search queries for the past 90 days.

When the same keywords are searched using the 5-year perspective, it becomes clear that the “who” type keywords tend to spike according to current events.

As an example of how current events influence trends, the biggest spike in searches with the word “who” occurred in the days after the 2020 presidential election.

Every Search Type query refinement shows a different help to refine the results so that they show more accurate information.

So, give the Search Type selections a try because the information that is provided may be more accurate and useful than the more general and potentially noisy “web search” version.

Unlock The Hidden Power Of Google Trends

Free tools are generally considered to be less useful than paid tools. That’s not necessarily the case with Google Trends.

This article lists seven ways to discover useful search-related trends and patterns that are absolutely accurate, more than some search-related data from paid tools.

What’s especially notable is that this article only begins to scratch the surface of all the information that’s available.

Check out Google Trends and learn additional ways to mix different search patterns to obtain even more useful information.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Studio Romantic/Shutterstock



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