In the ongoing race for social media active users world domination, everybody wants to know the statistics. Specifically, how many active users are on a given social media network?
Well I’ve done some homework, vetted some more popular claims that were floating around, and created the ultimate list of the six most active social networks. And as always, I made a pretty little graphic to go along with all the info. You might just call it an ‘infographic’.
A Brief Word About ‘Active Users’
Just like my previous infographic stating the number of registered users on social networks, the active user base is a great metric to know and understand. When you’re deciding where to invest your time on social media, it’s crucial to know where the buzz is and where you’re going to get the most bang for your buck.
With that said, it is my belief that the overall numbers aren’t nearly as important as the audience-specific numbers. What audience? Your audience.
The first question you need to ask is not “How many active users are on a platform,” but rather, “what platform is my audience on?”
You can have tons of success on the least of the social networks if you find your audience and pour into them on their preferred platform. Give so much value to that specific audience that they can’t help but keep coming back for more. And that’s all that matters.
People can argue “my network is bigger than your network” all day long. In fact, those people usually look like this:
What they can’t argue with are raw results.
All that said, these stats are still fun to know and helpful to understand social media trends as they continue to shape the future of online marketing and human connection.
Social Media Active User Stats
Without further ado, here are the quick and dirty statistics that you’ve scanned all the way through this article for:
And for those of you who like reading more than big pretty pictures:
- Facebook – 1.19 Billion active users
- Google+ – 540 Million active users
- LinkedIn – 259 Million active users
- Twitter – 232 Million active users
- Instagram – 150 Million active users
- Pinterest – 70 Million active users
Digging A Bit Deeper
Now since some will want to debate how these Monthly Active Users (MAU) are calculated (especially the Google+ naysayers) let’s dig a little deeper on these numbers.
A MAU according to Facebook is anyone who has been logged into Facebook in a given month and taken some sort of action (shared a post, clicked ‘Like’, etc.). To clarify, these ‘actions’ don’t even have to be from within Facebook as they count third-party app activity or a simple clicking of a ‘Like’ button on a website as active use.
This takes a bit of steam out of the gigantic number of 1.19 Billion ‘active’ users and makes one wonder just how many people are actually using Facebook within the web property and mobile app. Even still, this number is nothing to scoff at.
Most people want to debate that Google is counting Gmail users and YouTube users as active Google+ users. This is just a fun thing that all those Negative Nancy’s made up to make themselves feel better. There’s no truth in it.
However, it’s safe to assume that Google may be using a similar method as Facebook in counting off-site activity such as +1ing, sharing, or even commenting (through a Google+ comments plugin). However there are significantly less third-party apps when compared to Facebook since Google+ has limited its API access to only a handful of developers.
Google has also been more transparent about its active users by declaring how many users are active in just the stream alone— 300 Million. I appreciate this extra layer of transparency as you won’t find it on any of the other networks.
According to LinkedIn’s official release, they’re not clear on the term ‘active’. In fact, they don’t mention it at all. It is assumed that this is the number of active users, but the term LinkedIn uses is “members”.
The active users according to Twitter is included in their public filing for their IPO. These are the most recent and up to date numbers and there is no clarification of how an active user is defined.
As far as I could find, there is no clear definition of an active user according to Instagram. Though being that they’re owned by Facebook, I would bet their measurements are similar.
The only difference is that there aren’t any Instagram buttons floating around the internet and not many of third-party apps in which users can be ‘active’ with.
The Pinterest statistics were gathered by third-party research companies and no official active user numbers has been released by the company.
One Last Thing
In my infographic I found it interesting to note the age of each network. From oldest to youngest:
- LinkedIn – 10 years old, launched in May 2003
- Facebook – 9 years old, launched in February 2004
- Twitter – 7 years old, launched in July 2006
- Pinterest – 3 years old, launched in March 2010
- Instagram – 3 years old, launched in October 2010
- Google+ – 2 years old, launched in June 2011
This really puts into perspective just how quickly Google+ is rising, despite opposition and unmerited (often ignorant) criticism. While the growth of Pinterest is rather impressive and often talked about (the fact that it’s a goldmine for bloggers), it is funny to know that most people didn’t even hear about it until it had already been around for nearly 2 years.
Numbers are fun to chat about, and even more fun to share when they’re made into beautiful infographics (hint hint). Social media is not about the numbers though, it’s about the people and the relationships that come out of it.
Know and understand the numbers, but focus on and add value to the people.
What was most interesting to you about these active user statistics? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Bonus for all you source junkies:
- Official Facebook Active User Numbers
- Official Google+ Active User Numbers
- Official LinkedIn Member Numbers
- Official Twitter Active User Numbers
- Official Instagram Active User Numbers
- Pinterest Active User Numbers
There were other various sources that I tirelessly sought out for all this info, but c’mon… #aintnobodygottimeforthat.