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Investing in social media stocks

They’re trending, but stiff competition may give way to volatility.

It’s exciting to say you own a slice of the technology you interact with on a daily basis. But social media stocks are far from secure investments. While the industry is on an upward trajectory, fierce competition may lead to increased volatility and company acquisitions.

13 social media stocks

There are plenty of pure-play social media stocks on the market, like Facebook and Twitter. But you can also opt for larger tech companies with social media platforms under their belt, like Amazon or Google. See how the following stocks are performing, and view details like market capitalization, the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, price/earnings-to-growth (PEG) ratio and dividend yield.

What ETFs track the social media category?

If you’re seeking a broader approach to the social media category, consider the Global X Social Media Index ETF (SOCL). This technology sector ETF was founded in 2011 and boasts net assets of over $471 million. It primarily invests in the Nasdaq and focuses on social media stocks from the US and around the world, including Facebook, Naver, Spotify, Tencent, Twitter and Yandex.

Why invest in social media stocks?

As our world becomes more connected and reliant on the Internet, it’s little wonder that tech sector subcategories like social media are on the up-and-up. With more brick-and-mortar businesses migrating to e-commerce sales channels, online advertising has become a booming business. And in the online advertising space, social media is a sizzling slice of real estate.
Overall, the social media category is doing well. Facebook reported an 8% year-over-year increase in daily active users in its Q1 2021 earnings report. Twitter is also seeing healthy growth, reporting a 20% year-over-year increase in monetizable daily active users in Q1 2021.
And the new kids on the block are thriving, too. TikTok amassed some 178 million downloads in the first quarter of 2021, according to Sensor Tower, this is lower year-over-year but still an impressive number.

Risks of investing in social media

The biggest threat to an investment in social media is the inherent competition that dominates the industry — and the tech sector as a whole. This tech category moves fast and is highly competitive. And while competition can drive growth, it can also promote volatility, driving some stocks up, while crippling others.
Competition also paves the path for company mergers and acquisitions. If another company acquiresthe social media stock you’ve invested in, you might be reimbursed with cash or find your shares swapped for shares in the acquiring company, potentially disrupting your investment strategy or throwing off the balance of your portfolio.
Another consideration is the vulnerability of social media stocks to government jurisdiction. Tech companies have come under fire in recent years for infringing on data privacy rights.
Former President Donald Trump’s TikTok altercation is a prime example of this type of legislation at work. Companies may find themselves banned, limited or forced to rethink platform features in response to emerging governmental regulations.

Bottom line

The social media subcategory is growing — and fast. But industry competition and emerging data regulations may put a damper on profits.
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Written by

Shannon Terrell

Shannon Terrell is a lead writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet and a former editor at Finder, specializing in personal finance. Her writing and analysis on investing and banking has been featured in Bloomberg, Global News, Yahoo Finance, GoBankingRates and Black Enterprise. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and English literature from the University of Toronto Mississauga. See full profile

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