As we look forward into 2014, it’s time we take a retrospective look into the updates of 2013’s most prominent social media networks. These popular social applications have found success by keeping us engaged, connected and informed everyday.
Factors like mobile-centric design, advertising incentives and a unique user experience influence how social networks proliferate into our daily lives, both as users and as marketers. These elements can give us insight into the social web expectations of 2014. Below you will find a summary of today’s most popular social networks and how they’ve grown this past year.
Recognized by the Pew Reseach Center as the top social network, Facebook boasts more than 1.9 billion monthly active users and is currently the second most visited website in the world. In February of 2012, Facebook filed for an initial public offering (IPO) and, thanks to the company’s focus on mobile, it set record increases in revenue and share value. Due to its dominate web authority, every change Facebook makes reverberates to users across the world. Here are just a few impactful updates made in 2013:
Next year, it will be important to watch Facebook and how it address growing privacy concerns, diminishing youth appeal and its intent to become the top intelligent content aggregator.
Twitter currently has an estimated 500 million registered users and more than 200 million active monthly users. The microblogging network has evolved into the third most visited social website in the U.S. on a daily basis, behind Facebook and Instagram. Twitter frequently updates via experimental A/B testing to optimize its mobile app; however, there are a few announcements that stood out this year:
Social media is recognized as a powerful metric of the second screen experience, easily measuring the online engagement of televised shows, sporting events and news. In 2014, Twitter will be intent on strengthening its image as a viable marketing and revival tool for broadcast television.
Google+ is considered the social branch of all Google related properties. In Oct. 2013, the social network recorded an estimated 540 million monthly active users worldwide, sharing 1.5 billion photos every week. Google+ is intent on integrating into all aspects of Google to solidify a dynamic social experience. Notable updates this year included the introductions of:
A strong Google+ presence in 2014 will be essential for those who want to increase the visibility and reach of their content on Google.
Initially launched in 2010, Instagram quickly grew as one of the most popular photo-sharing social apps. In April of 2012, it was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion and today, according to its press page, Instagram has 150 million active users who, on average, upload 55 billion photos per day. Notable 2013 updates included:
Looking forward, Instagram users should keep an eye on the social network’s most recent updates, sponsored photos and videos (Oct.) and Direct Messaging (Dec.), as it looks to cater sponsored content and contend with its closest, picture-sharing competitor—Snapchat
Pinterest launched in 2010 and soon emerged as one of the fastest growing social networks in history. Today, Pinterest has an estimated 70 million users thanks to its unique, organizational photo-sharing experience and awesome referral capabilities. According to a Shareaholic, Pinterest is the top social network for referral traffic, growing 66 percent from 2012 to 2013. These updates emphasize how Pinterest is a contending marketing tool:
Several other updates are being made every month to ensure the best user experience for businesses and individuals. Keep an eye on Rich Pins, pins made by companies, and how they strive to make Pinterest a popular information marketplace.
LinkedIn is the largest professional online social network designed to promote and create occupational networking. It has more than 259 million registered members worldwide and 30 million of them, students and recent grads, make up LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic. These 2013 updates reveal LinkedIn’s progress as a social powerhouse:
Both employers and future employees can use LinkedIn in 2014 to share news and market for the best talent or opportunities.
Initially launched in 2007, Tumblr is an established social network made popular thanks to its visually creative, customizable blogs and passionate teen userbase. In June 2013, Tumblr was acquired by Yahoo and has since grown to be an attractive publishing platform for brands and users alike. Notable 2013 updates include:
As of December 2013, Tumblr hosts 163 million blogs that post 100 million updates everyday—stats that should entice marketers to consider incorporating tumblr into their social media strategy.
Niche social networks and private messaging apps to keep an eye on:
This list only explores a few of the most well-known social media websites. Please share in the comment section below any other social networks that have grown in 2013 and look to make a big splash in 2014.
Andrew Osegi is a Content Associate with Kuno Creative and lives in the Live Music Capitol of the World, Austin, TX. His focus is in content publishing, social media management and community engagement. He likes breakfast tacos, barbecue and researching the ever-changing trends between technology and culture.
Photo Credits: Jason Howie, Cakehead Loves, Thomas Hawk, HowToStartABlogOnline.net, Nan Palmero, maaco