The social networks are, in the strict sense of the word marketing of the term , « all websites that allow you to build a network of friends or professional acquaintances and provide their members with tools and interfaces for interaction, presentation and communication » ( definition-marketing.com ). It should be noted that this same source specifies that the term "social network" often has a broader meaning in sociology. However, we will limit ourselves here to the marketing definition of the object, which is undoubtedly the most relevant for the purposes of this study.
Social networks are now a growing market as the leader's (Facebook) turnover reached more than 55 billion dollars at the end of 2018. The sector has experienced a uninterrupted growth since 2008 and continues to expand with the arrival of new players and new functionalities.
In 2016, social networks accounted for a significant proportion of Internet use and most of their use was made on mobile phones for 18-24 years old .
The relative emergence of the sector and its high potential of innovation allow the arrival of new players who come to ensure the growth of a market that, for the moment, does not show clear signs of saturation. The growth of some players can be dazzling, such as Pinterest, which sees its number of users soar between 2016 and 2018.
Most of the companies in the sector have set up in the United States, in particular by California but their activities are expanding globally through the web. The size difference between the players in the sector generates takeover and merger opportunities that suggest a significant concentration of the sector in the medium term Facebook has bought out a number of emerging players (Instagram and WhatsApp in particular) in order to limit competition in a business characterized by fashion effects that can lead to rapid changes in consumption
Companies in the sector are structured around the same business model online advertising . According to Statista, social network revenues from online advertising amounted to several tens of billions of euros in 2018. The most profitable companies are those with the largest number of active members.
In the long term, the stagnation in the number of users is a significant risk because it could have a direct impact on companies' revenues. As a result, companies in the sector continue to invest a significant portion of their revenues in R&D feature development to maintain interest among their customers and users.
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