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REPORT: What’s the Most Efficient Social Network?

While social media platforms like Pinterest and Twitter are on the rise, they aren’t exactly in a position to challenge Facebook’s 1.06 billion users any time soon. But how do all these sites stack up in terms of users and revenue? What makes a social network truly efficient? A recent report by Pingdom, takes a look at two metrics that can help us define efficiency: users per employee and revenue per employee.

 

Pinterest leads the pack

Founded in March 2010, Pinterest is a relatively young company growing rapidly by the minute. During 2012, Pinterest grew from 20 to 100 employees as it’s user base quadrupled from 9 million up to about 40 million. This makes Pinterest the largest social media platform in users per employee (400,000). Pinterest has almost twice a many users as the second largest company Facebook, with 249,000 users per employee. Facebook, with 1.06 billion is still the largest social network in terms of active users though. LinkedIn has about as many users as Twitter, however they have about 3500 employees compared to only 900 working for Twitter.
users per employee
 

Instagram could be the real leader

However, Pinterest might not be the real leader in social network user efficiency since both Tumblr and Instagram could have bigger user bases per employee. Looking at the numbers from when Facebook bought Instagram in April of 2012, it’s clear that Instagram would crush every other network with an enormous 2.3 million users per employee. Unfortunately though, Facebook has not released any new numbers that show how many employees Instagram really has today.

Tumblr has 95.5 million blogs, which translates to over 500K blogs per employee. But the number of blogs doesn’t tell us how many active users Tumblr really has, but it’s still quite an impressive overall reach.

estimated users per employee
 

Facebook is still the top earner

The number of users per employee could be misleading when grading efficiency though. If you have the revenue model to back it up, more employees may just mean you are a bigger company than most. This seems to be the case with Facebook as the site generates a staggering $1.1 million dollars per employee. Interestingly, Twitter and LinkedIn have similar revenue despite Twitter having only 900 employees compared to LinkedIn’s 3,500 people on staff.
revenue per employee
 

So which social network is most efficient?

Well it looks like Facebook is the most efficient social network in terms of revenue per employee, while Pinterest officially leads the way for most users per employee (with Instagram unofficially ahead or in the mix). Now Pinterest doesn’t have any revenue yet for comparison, but according to the Wall Street Journal, Pinterest is planning to double its number of employees in 2013 with a valuation of $2.5 billion dollars. So Facebook gets the top billing for now, but it will be interesting to see if Pinterest can maintain its rapid growth per employee and eventually establish an efficient revenue model to compete.

Aside from efficiency though, which social network do you like best?

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Detlev Artelt
cool stuff.... thx
Smart Startup
Pinterest? That's interesting.
Liz Pullen
Really interesting to see some data on this! Thanks!
Daniel Zeevi
Thanks Liz, I'm so glad these stats could be of use!
Harold Gardner
I still struggle with PI...Do you think their numbers reflect that it is a site dominated by women with extra time & money?
Daniel Zeevi
I think Pinterest's numbers reflect that it's the fastest growing social network regardless of demographics. You can get a ton of referral traffic from Pinterest because of the visual nature of the site.
Slikk Tim
love how google + aint even on here
 
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