Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has revealed that over 100 million Alexa-enabled units have been sold in the just more than four years since the digital voice assistant first launched, according to a Jan. 4 article from The Verge. Some of the devices were sold by Amazon, like the Echo or Dot, while others were made by third-party manufacturers.
Reaching the 100 million mark is an important milestone. Knowing that Amazon needed four years to hit this goal made me wonder how long it took other companies to reach that mark. Here's how long it took the six fastest-growing social media platforms to reach 100 million users, according to data compiled by MyVoucherCodes.
1. Google+: 1 year, 2 months
Yes, that's right. The social media site that hit 100 million users the fastest is the one from Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) Google that never took off and will be shut down this year. When it launched in 2011, everyone was sure Google+ would become the new Facebook, so they rushed to establish a presence on the platform.
Twice in 2018, Google+ was found to have serious security flaws that exposed user data. After the public learned about the second data leak, which impacted over 50 million users, Google announced that it had decided to shut Google+ down in April 2019, rather than August 2019 as it had originally planned.
2. Instagram: 2 years, 4 months
Instagram's popularity was evident early on as it only took a little over two years for it to hit 100 million users. The photo-sharing platform was launched in late 2010 and quickly scooped up by Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) in early 2012, about a year before Instagram hit the 100 million mark in early 2013. This past June, Instagram hit another milestone: 1 billion monthly users.
3. Myspace: 3 years
You might be surprised to hear that Myspace still exists in 2019 and has a group of loyal users. However, it was once the go-to platform for young people to connect on, racking up 100 million users in three years. That's faster than Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat. This is especially impressive because it came during a time when people were still warming up to the idea of social media and sharing their lives online.
If you're wondering what happened to Myspace, it was sold to News Corp. for $580 million in 2009 and then to Viant in 2011 for $35 million. A few months later, it was sold one last time when Time Inc. bought Viant's assets for an undisclosed amount. It's hard to believe what Myspace sold for when you remember that its worth was once thought to be in the billions back around 2007.
4. Snapchat: 3 years, 8 months
Snap's (NYSE:SNAP) Snapchat had a strong start as the social media platform that popularized the concept of photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. The app hit 100 million users in a little over three-and-a-half years.
In October 2018, Snap said 186 million users logged into its app in the most recent quarter, down from 188 million users in the previous period. The company has taken a hit from users flocking to Instagram now that it offers a feature that allows pictures and videos to disappear after a day.
The struggling company said that the drop-off in usage mainly came from Android users and should stop once the updated Android app comes out. Snap has been promising a new Android app for some time, but there's still no definitive launch date.
5. Facebook: 4 years, 6 months
Facebook needed four-and-a-half years to reach 100 million users. Today, it boasts over 2 billion monthly active users. However, the once-revered social media company has seen its reputation tarnished in the past year due to a series of data and privacy issues.
In addition, Facebook's user growth has largely stalled. Last quarter, the company's monthly users grew by just 1.8% to 2.27 billion. And the previous quarter was Facebook's worst quarter ever for user growth at just 1.54%.
On Jan. 8, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that his goal for 2019 was to hold public conversations about the future of technology in society. This announcement came after a year of intense public discourse about Facebook's data-sharing policies and the addictive nature of both Facebook and Instagram.
6. Twitter: 5 years, 5 months
If you haven't noticed yet, 2018 was a rough year for social media platforms, and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) was no exception. The company said it lost 9 million monthly users last quarter, mostly because it's been purging the site of bots. The site's 326 million monthly users are a far cry from Facebook and Instagram, which are both measuring users in the billions now. But despite the loss of users, Twitter's revenue did grow by 29% to $758.1 million, mainly thanks to ads.
As you can see, the rise of social media platforms has been quick. Just 10 years ago, people were understandably suspicious and used them sparingly. Now, kids and parents alike use social media as part of their daily life, and many would even say they're addicted to it. In 2019, we can expect to see more debates about the negative effects social media has on our mental health, as well as whether they should be put under new data privacy regulations.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Natalie Walters has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.