You’re probably well aware of the rise and fall of various and countless social platforms. But even now as you read, the earth under your seemingly well-established social platforms is shifting violently towards what’s new and trendy.
Obviously, there isn’t a single platform out there that wants to be yesterday’s news. But the ground on which these brands stand is composed of fickle, restless users to whom the concept of brand loyalty is absolutely foreign.
The future of many a leading or emerging company may rely solely on their ability to predict and understand their users’ rapidly changing expectations and keep up through customer-centric innovation. The battle of social networks is at an all-time high. So, who are the crowd favorites, the contenders, the has-beens? Read on to find out.
The #trending Front-runners
YouTube, Reddit, and TikTok are all social platforms enjoying their prime. Not to mention the booming livestreaming market. There’s a platform for every niche.
- YouTube is the second biggest search-engine after Google. After dropping in popularity after its big peak in 2016, YouTube seems to have risen from the land of the dead (or, just the unpopular) and is riding the wave of video popularity big time.
- Reddit, a huge multimedia discussion forum, and the so-called “front page of the internet”, has enjoyed increasing usership and now rivals Twitter for active users. It recently started experimenting with its new RPAN (Reddit Public Access Network), which enables livestreaming.
- TikTok is the spiritual successor of Vine, a micro-video platform that died in 2016. After acquiring and merging with the ultra-popular platform Musicaly last year, TikTok’s insane growth and popularity among the youngest generations has made it a prime target for new advertising and the newest shiny object for marketers all over the globe.
- Special mention for Twitter, which has managed to stay near the top for an extended period despite having the most limited content depth.
Food for thought: notice how all of these platforms are frontlining video content? Even Twitter now allows videos up to 2:20 in length.
Ripe for Disruption
Instagram is on the cusp of the danger zone. It’s that edge case where people still use it (and let’s be honest, we all use it massively), but basically because there’s no better alternative out there…yet.
In our minds, it’s just a matter of time before some worthier platform snatches the glory of the short-video and picture format out from under the Facebook-owned property. In fact, we think Facebook itself is the reason Insta is no longer clearing expectations. Instagram is also ticking off its large-scale content feeders, the so-called “influencers”, by moving forward with its plan to remove likes.
Between its confounding algorithms (which users hate), lack of response to complaints about said algorithms (which compounds users’ hate) and the fact that there’s no viable competitor, Insta is ripe for disruption. It’s just a question of who’s bold enough to make the move. Ultimately, either they’ll adjust to the speed of change, or become the next victim of a rapidly changing market.
Head Above Water
Facebook, Snapchat, and Tumblr are the less-favored children of the social hierarchy, the ones who are either bleeding market share, losing out to stronger competitors, or are just plain jaded.
- Facebook may still boast the largest active user base, but that also means it has the most to lose. Quick social experiment: ask anyone under the age of 30 how they feel about Facebook. We’ll wait…
- Snapchat gained popularity in 2011, and quickly became the “in” thing with the young crowd (seeing a pattern here?). The fate of Snapchat is controversial with some experts thinking it’s a matter of time and others believing it is steady in place. Once again, it’s all about adapting to the speed of change. Snap might just come back into favor with those pesky kids. It could happen next week! Who knows?
- Tumblr is a microblogging platform that is losing popularity since its peak in 2016, with over 500 million users, which has since dropped to 400 million. At the time, it was extremely popular among the 13-18 and 18-25 brackets. They’re bleeding market share for a variety of reasons, partly being owned by Yahoo, partly because of an aging user base, and partly because…reasons.
Anyone remember MySpace? Just kidding, lol. Of course you don’t.
You know, the ones that make us Millennials feel old. These are the “in” media of the up-and-coming Gen Z, whose choice of apps will determine who gets the fleeting teenage spotlight this time around.
- Houseparty lets users video call up to 8 people at once, but the way it works is people can trickle in and out of the room, like, you know, a house party. It’s also popular among teens, which of course means that all the parents are putting it under extra scrutiny.
- Vero is a unique social platform that’s going subscriber-only. The reason? They’re trying to eliminate all the things that social media gets flak for – bending to investors, ads, data mining, and algorithms. It’s a small contender with a big idea, and the big social networks should keep an eye on it.
- Messaging Yep. Not an app, just plain and simple messaging. Folks want to be able to chat to whomever they want, whenever they want; with no timeline, no sponsored content, in an advertising-free space. The world is staging a rebellion against marketing, folks. (Stay tuned for next week’s podcast featuring Mark Schaefer discussing his book, “Marketing Rebellion“)
Who killed my social media?
The irony of the situation isn’t lost on us. Social media allowed people the connectivity and access to information that makes today’s markets so volatile. But they’ve found themselves fighting the very speed of change that they helped create, and the market is only getting faster.
Who’s going to keep up and stick around? We’ll find out soon enough (too soon, mind you).
I’m Worthix’s Head of Content, editor and producer of the Voices of CX Blog and Podcast and backup watercooler comedian (see Peter Sooter). I’m a Film Major who enjoys good writing (books, too), martial arts and competitive games, virtual or not.