Digital marketers dedicate a lot of their resources to social media and for good reason — brands can potentially reach all of the world’s social media users with a presence on just one or two of the larger platforms!

Of course, not all of these platforms are the best fit for every brand, so it’s important to review the differences and benefits of each one. Luckily, that’s exactly what this article is intended to do: evaluate the top social media apps for 2021.

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The Top Social Media Apps for 2021




Not surprisingly, Facebook remains the leading social media app with the most users worldwide. The largest user group includes those between 25-34 years of age, with 19.3 percent of males in that group and 13.1 percent of females. The age groups of 18- to 24-year-olds and 35- to 44-year-olds are not far behind, and Facebook reaches the largest number of users ages 13 to 17. Despite this data, it’s important to note older age groups (65 years and older) are the fastest-growing segment among these top platforms.

If you plan to engage in social media advertising, then you may also want to take note of Facebook’s growing advertising reach. It’s particularly expansive among users ages 65 and older. You can complete the Facebook Blueprint Digital Marketing Associate Certification when you enroll in any of Simplilearn’s Digital Marketing Courses.  

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The social media app with the second largest number of users worldwide, YouTube continues to dominate the online video landscape. In fact, 95 percent of the global population watches content on YouTube. It also happens to be the second most-trafficked website after Google.

In the U.S., where the second-highest amount of YouTube traffic originates, the largest user group falls between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. Yet more than half of users ages 56 and older watch content on the app.




Third in the list of most-used social media apps is WhatsApp, the messaging service owned by Facebook and the most popular around the globe. Despite it being banned in China, WeChat was the second most installed non-game app across the globe after social media app TikTok.

In terms of users, WhatsApp usage decreases with age. While one in five adults in the U.S. uses the app, usage is highest among those ages 18 to 24. The next largest user groups are those ages 25 to 29, and 30 to 49. 

Given this popularity, it will be interesting to watch if user behaviors change considering the latest updates to WhatsApp’s terms and conditions. Users are more concerned about what this means in terms of privacy and personal data protection (or the lack of it) through Facebook.

Facebook Messenger

Coming in fourth among the top social media apps for 2021, Facebook Messenger remains strong in terms of user count, expected to hit 2.4 billion global users this year. As a popular messaging service with people in emerging markets, Messenger is commonly used for product research and directly messaging businesses. Brands often incorporate chatbots with Messenger to answer the most frequently asked questions from customers, which offers a surface level of customer service and frees up the customer service team for other, more heavy-duty requests.

Instagram and Weixin/WeChat

While Instagram and Weixin/WeChat come in about the same in terms of most-used social apps, the two couldn’t be more different. Instagram largely focuses on image and video sharing while WeChat is considered the “Facebook of China” although it offers much more

Instagram users tend to skew on the younger side, with more than two-thirds of its total audience aged 34 years old and younger. It’s also one of the apps where Gen Z spends most of its social media time. The largest user group goes to the U.S. with India coming in second and Brazil in third.

WeChat offers a lot of opportunities for marketers focused on China. Users spend more than 70 minutes every day in the app, and there are numerous ways to connect with customers — whether it’s through messaging, shopping, payments, or just making appointments.

Up-and-Coming Social Media Apps for 2021

There probably wasn’t a lot of surprising news with the top-ranked apps currently, but I want to talk about one social app that’s quickly on the rise — Clubhouse. 

Clubhouse is a private, invitation-only (for now), live audio social media app. It’s been a breakout hit in terms of business incubation with recognizable names coming together to share ideas and learn from one another. There’s no private messaging and no written comments either, so it’s quite stripped down from the social media most of us are used to seeing. It has a little bit of a podcast-y vibe, and it’s a superb platform for educating your target audience without actually being that annoying salesperson. It could be a nice place to build a community — you know, kind of like a clubhouse would do.

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Improve Your Social Media Skills

Social media is an essential component of any company’s marketing strategy, meaning there are plenty of career opportunities for professionals who have the right skills. Begin your digital marketing career with Simplilearn’s Digital Marketing Course and transform into a complete digital marketer with expertise in the top eight domains — search engine optimization, social media, pay-per-click, conversion optimization, digital analytics, content, mobile, and email marketing. Simplilearn's Post Graduate Program in Digital Marketing in partnership with Purdue University and co-created with Facebook can also help you fast-track your digital marketing career.

About the Author

Rob SandersRob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience. During that time, Rob has helped a wide range of companies utilize new and emerging technologies to increase sales and profitability. As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob helps clients maximize their digital marketing efforts via SEO, SEM, SMO, and Web Analytics. He is responsible for many facets of the web analytics value chain, from identifying business goals and objectives to developing strategies and translating those into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rob also teaches digital marketing and analytics classes throughout the U.S. and abroad. As a contributor for Simplilearn, Rob creates expert thought leadership content on a variety of digital marketing and analytics topics.

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