Social Media’s Evolution from 2009 to Today

This year Strategic Elements is celebrating its 15th year as a company! As you read this month’s Strategic Shifts, think back to what social media was like in 2009. Check out the last section for a bonus featuring the biggest changes in social media over the last 15 years.

Breaking Down Meta v. Apple Ad Fees

In a 2022 Apple Store update, Apple announced that a portion of the cost for “boost” advertisements — options primarily found on Facebook and Instagram — will now go to Apple as a “service charge.” Advertisers will now be billed through Apple which will take the 30% service charge, cutting Meta out of the full boost price.

This is the first time Apple has taxed advertising directly on iOS apps. This change primarily targets Meta apps Facebook and Instagram, continuing the decade-long conflict between the two companies.

To combat this fee, Meta announced a 30% fee for advertisers who purchase boosts through iOS apps. Meta’s decision to increase the boost cost likely won’t impact big advertisers, but rather small business owners and influencers who may only run ads as one-offs.

To bypass this price increase, Meta encourages advertisers to purchase boosts on desktop and mobile browsers — rather than the iOS apps.

Facebook Features

Continued Growth — This February, Facebook officially turns 20 years old. Facebook has more than 3 billion monthly users and 2 billion daily users. About 70% of the US population uses Facebook, but the app is successful worldwide with most users from India. Facebook continues to be a powerhouse app for marketers, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Cross-posting to Threads— Facebook is testing a new feature for users to automatically post to Facebook and Threads at the same time with the goal of creating strong ties between Threads and the “Meta” -verse. The feature is only available for iOS, so far.

Instagram Innovations

AI Backdrop Picture — Instagram is working on a new AI “Backdrop” sticker to replace the background of any feed and story posts. This is essentially the opposite of the new “Cutouts” feature introduced last month. Users could diversify their creative assets with little effort.

Meta Verified Comment Filter — Meta is aiming to prioritize engagement from celebrities and users who paid for verification by allowing users to sort comments by “Meta Verified” accounts only. The goal is to incentivize users to pay to play for the blue checkmark while also improving user experience.

Trendy Threads

As the platform steadily grows, Threads continues to adapt itself to include features like those available on its competitor X. Here are the latest additions:

  • Quick camera access — A new button provides access to your camera in Threads instead of switching apps.
  • Save draft posts — Save your drafts and come back to them later when clicking the compose button.

Maximizing LinkedIn Performance

LinkedIn recently made changes to its distribution systems after analyzing 1.5 million posts, 34,000 profiles, and 26,000 company pages. In this “LinkedIn Algorithm Insights” report, Richard van der Blom summarizes key findings and tips to maximize performance on the platform into these brief tips:

  1. Polls and documents are the highest-performing posts on individual profiles and company pages.
  2. For post-perfection, focus on a strong hook, a visual element, and clear consistency.
  3. Initiate and engage in comments consistently.
  4. Interact with others frequently to teach the algorithm what you like.
  5. Personal storytelling and thought leadership are the top two content pillars.
  6. Cut out link previews, don’t post too much content, and initial engagement makes the most difference.
  7. Aim for comments and reposts to grow engagement.

The Push for Video

As stated in last month’s Strategic Shifts, X is moving toward becoming a “video first” platform. These are the latest updates on X turning its “video-first” identity into reality.

  • Video Quality Control— The latest video playback control allows users to manually choose the video quality settings to customize their experience.
  • “Creator Targeting” Ad Option — Brands will now have more control and choice of which videos their ads run before with the option to sponsor selected creators. This option comes after X received backlash for ads being placed before hate-speech content.
  • Big 3 Partnership— X secured a partnership with the Big 3, a three-on-three basketball league for former professional players, to stream live games and other content of the teams and players on the platform.
  • WWE Speed Partnership— X is also partnering with WWE Speed for a weekly video series starting this spring that will include live, five-minute or less matches from WWE superstars.
  • Live Video for SpacesOne of X’s goals for 2024 was to implement a live video option for Spaces broadcasts – it’s now officially live! Audio and video options are available for all iOS users with the option to use the front or rear-facing camera.

How Social Media Has Changed in 15 Years

It’s no secret that social media has become a key part of our everyday personal and professional lives, but it may be hard to remember how different things were just a few years ago. In celebration of Strategic Elements’ 15-year anniversary, let’s travel back to 2009 and look at how social media has changed in the last 15 years…

In 2009, Facebook just reached 350 million usersand was taking over Myspace as the most popular social media site. Twitter (now X) was officially gaining traction among celebrities, tech leaders and companies. Other popular or recently introduced social networking sites around this time were YouTube, Reddit, Friendster, Hi5, Six Degrees, and Tumblr. At this point, some of the biggest players in the social media world — Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok — hadn’t even been introduced yet.

Very quickly after this point, social media became an integral part of everyday life. Social media is used for building relationships, spreading breaking news, general education, knowledge sharing, and overall connectivity from across the world. It’s hard to deny the impact that social media has had on our world, even in such a short period of time.

Check out some of the top social networking sites from 2009 compared to 2024.

Top 5 Social Networking Sites in 2009 (by monthly active users)

  1. Facebook (360M)
  2. Friendster (115M)
  3. Myspace (76M)
  4. Hi5 (60M)
  5. LinkedIn (55M)

Top 5 Social Networking Sites in 2024 (by monthly active users)

Source: Statista

  1. Facebook (3.049B)
  2. YouTube (2.491B)
  3. WhatsApp (2B)
  4. Instagram (2B)
  5. TikTok (1.562B)

Top 3 Social Networking Sites in 2009 (by % of American Adult Users)

Source: Pew Research Center

  1. Facebook (73%)
  2. Myspace (48%)
  3. LinkedIn (14%)

Top 3 Social Networking Sites in 2024 (by % of American Adult Users)

Source: Pew Research Center

  1. YouTube (83%)
  2. Facebook (68%)
  3. Instagram (47%)

Can you answer this? —How has social media changed your life since 2009? Was it Myspace falling behind, or maybe you were an early TikTok adapter? Share in a comment!

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and X for more monthly insights on the latest news in social media and public affairs.