Without a doubt, 2013 was an interesting year in the social media world. New features, trends, and transformations poured left and right, at times changing various platforms’ popularity and functionality. The adjustments aimed to interest and engage the public, thus skillfully overshadow the competition. How did some major social media channels perform in 2013? Were there any specific winners or losers? Review the following facts and stats and be the judge.
Facebook connects people around the world, letting them exchange information and maintain contacts. It provides various tools and allows members to create posts, like others people’s updates, customize their own profiles, and promote their businesses. In 2013, Facebook
- remained the largest public platform, thanks to its 1.19 billion users, a jump from approximately 1.06 billion in 2012,
- let members produce more than 500 million likes daily,
- reached about 800 million monthly unique visitors, including more than167.4 million U.S. visitors at its peak,
- brought a growth of 58.81 percent in traffic referrals, and
- engaged 43 percent of Internet users worldwide.
Facebook introduced significant changes last year. Its Graph Search allowed users to look for interest-specific expressions in posts, comments, groups, apps, and pages. The Hashtag feature turned phrases into links, helping millions of daily conversations connect. Also, its Edge Rank Algorithm update required all images in ads to include less than 20 percent of text. And, Facebook’s Custom Audience let companies market directly to online customers. But, businesses still had challenges to expand organic reach without using their ads.
Pinterest allows individuals to pin, re-pin, share, and create content – such as photos, links and text – related to their events, interests or hobbies. It also has standard social networking characteristics to help people connect. In 2013, Pinterest
- became a very popular image-sharing networking site and soared its user base to 70 million from 11.7 million in 2012,
- reached 2.5 billion page views monthly,
- got more than 140 million monthly unique visitors, with approximately 36.7 million U.S. visitors at its highest point,
- generated an increase of 66 percent in traffic referrals, and
- interested 6 percent of all Internet consumers.
Last year, Pinterest incorporated three effective and marketing-friendly updates. Its Web Analytics tool allowed businesses to monitor their metrics for free. The Promoted Pins update let companies advertise products and reach greater audiences. And, the company’s Rich Pins offered a new set of pins for places, products, recipes, and more. However, because some of these pins looked like regular ones, they confused or spammed some members.
Twitter lets users create, read and share tweets – short messages that are limited to 140 characters and include symbols like #, to refer to topics, and @, to mention users. It allows for an instant and obstacle-free transfer and exchange of information. In 2013, Twitter
- maintained its prestige with 554.7 million registered users, a growth from around 500 million in 2012,
- let people generate about 500 million tweets daily,
- had 250 million monthly unique visitors, counting more than 42.2 million U.S. visitors at its top,
- produced a 54.12 percent jump in traffic referrals, and
- absorbed 22 percent of Internet users globally.
Twitter’s changes were crucial last year. The company finally went public by offering its shares on the stock market, which may help repair the $134 million net loss. It also enhanced its visual content delivery by enabling images to show directly in people’s streams. Also, the company’s Lead Generation Cards allowed individuals to get more leads straight from the posts. People liked Twitter’s easy interface, but some still found it hard to convey their messages in 140 characters.
LinkedIn allows individuals to build professional profiles and engaging content. It connects coworkers, classmates, employers, and job seekers; gives people chances to get insights into their careers; and lets them establish professional contacts and discover new jobs. In 2013, LinkedIn
- continued to be the biggest professional network and increased its member base to more than 259 million from around 187 million in 2012,
- welcomed 172,800 new users daily,
- reached about 200 million monthly unique visitors, including around 42.3 million U.S. visitors at its peak,
- increased its traffic referrals by 34.51 percent, and
- attracted 9 percent of the world’s Internet users.
Last year, LinkedIn introduced three significant features. The LinkedIn Contacts tool let people create and maintain important contacts, thus establish better professional relations. Its Showcase Pages allowed visitors to check out a company’s brand, services or products in detail. Also, the company’s Sponsored Updates let businesses promote and deliver information in their feed straight to relevant viewers. Yet, with the amount of personal data provided, some individuals worried LinkedIn could cause privacy problems.
Google+ not only connects individuals, letting them share visual and written content, but it also associates Web texts with their creators. It helps build partnerships based on people’s interests. Its products include Gmail, Google Play, and You Tube. In 2013, Google+
- continued to be a major influencer in the digital world, reaching around 1 billion registered users, an expansion from more than 500 million in 2012,
- had its +1 button used 5 million times daily,
- got 150 million monthly unique visitors, with more than 49.5 million U.S. visitors at its highest point,
- created a small rise of 6.97 percent in traffic referrals, and
- captivated 22 percent of Internet consumers internationally.
Last year’s updates were successful and innovative for Google+. The company presented Hangouts, a unifying messaging system for Maps, and Related Hashtags, to let people browse relevant content. It redesigned its layout by introducing multiple columns. Also, Google+ developed a centralized Dashboard to let members manage their searches, notifications, maps, and updates. However, some users didn’t like the inability to customize their profile page’s URL.
Deciding on who the loser or winner was in 2013 may be hard. And, it may not be needed. Clearly, each of the above social media platforms showed some stronger and weaker sides. Yet, there seems to be a balance in their performances. Now, would you dare to make predictions for this year? With all the changes happening, 2014 will surely be interesting.