Gig Economy
June 1, 2024

What Is An Online Platform? Definition, Types & Best To Try

Online platforms are a crucial part of modern society and businesses. Here's what you should know about online platforms and what they can do for you.

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You’ve probably heard the word online platform, even if you’re new to the internet.

While most have a general idea of what an online platform is, not many consider the possibilities of what online platforms can do for you.

Today, online platforms enable the ever-growing freelance and online labor market.

Understanding online platforms will prove vital in your search for business opportunities.

Here’s an overview of online platforms, why people use them, and how you can benefit from them.

What Is an Online Platform

At its core, an online platform is any website that facilitates a service or interaction between itself and the visitor.

Online platforms include search engines, marketplaces, social media, online financial systems, informative websites, and more.

Why Is an Online Platform in Business?

Online platforms play a big role in business.

Online services have become extremely popular, and these online services, such as Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook (Meta), provide value for consumers.

For example, Amazon provides users with an online shopping experience, while Facebook provides opportunities for users to connect with friends and families.

Retailers and digital marketers can take advantage of both platforms to earn a profit from the services.

Why Do People Use Online Platforms?

Every online platform provides something different to the visitor.

Depending on the platform, you’ll find people use online platforms to earn a profit, interact with others, gain knowledge, or better themselves.

What Are the Different Types of Online Platforms?

The incredible thing about the internet is the variety of online platforms.

You can find an online platform for most, if not all, of your basic needs.

Here are a few online platforms you can expect to find when using the internet.

  • Social Media Platforms: These platforms provide a method of communication for people to connect with others and cultivate communities or share stories. Social media is one of the most popular online platforms, and it’s the most accessible to people.
  • Online Marketplaces: Online marketplaces exist to provide more business opportunities for businesses and everyday people. Regardless of business affiliation, people can sell their products and services directly to other people or businesses.
  • Knowledge Platforms: These platforms exist to provide information to the public. Knowledge platforms allow users to learn about complex topics or stay updated with trends and news. Not all knowledge platforms are free, but most are free.
  • Streaming Platforms: Online streaming platforms are extremely popular. These platforms often provide media entertainment like movies and videos, but some are informative and useful for companies and general consumers.
  • Service Platforms: Service platforms provide users with paid services to deliver goods, information, or a unique service. Transportation and food delivery is the most widespread use of service platforms. Examples of this platform include DoorDash and Uber.
  • Search Engine Platform: For many, Google is the default search engine of choice, but other search engines lead you to the same websites but with a different algorithm. Search engines are a gateway to websites and other platforms, so it’s essentially the platform hub.

These platforms provide value to the visitor, whether they are dedicated to knowledge, profit, entertainment, or a service.

Examples of Online Platforms

Most online platforms have found viable ways to monetize their operation.

Even knowledge platforms and social media platforms have found various methods of monetization.

While it’s great to know the many types of online platforms, it’s good to have examples of these platforms.

Facebook is a well-known social media platform that generates profit through ad revenue and its Facebook marketplace.

Facebook is rare as it acts as both a social media platform and a marketplace.

Like Facebook, LinkedIn offers marketing services while also serving as a knowledge platform and a social media or job-searching platform for business professionals.

LinkedIn is also a great way to find gigs if you’re a freelancer looking for independent work.

Popular service platforms include DoorDash, Uber, Lyft, and SaaS-based services like Grammarly and Adobe products.

They make money from monthly subscriptions or transaction fees for their services.

What Are the Benefits of Online Platforms?

Online platforms allow ordinary people to showcase their skills and provide a service independently from businesses, creating an online service economy.

Essentially, online platforms support the gig model.

This new gig economy provides ample work opportunities for individuals who want to sell their skills to the public and other businesses.

Because of its need for online platforms, the gig economy is also referred to as a platform economy.

Independent contractors and freelancers aren’t the only people that benefit.

Businesses, large and small, get value from this platform economy.

Businesses can hire workers as needed without the stress of training, benefits, or payroll problems.

Additionally, ongoing relationships with independent workers provide consistent value when a business needs it.

New jobs form from these online platforms and will continue to increase within the immense gig economy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are questions that people typically have about online platforms.

Is Facebook an online platform?

Facebook is indeed an online platform.

Not only that, Facebook is one of the biggest online platforms on the internet.

Facebook provides social media and business advertisement space.

Additionally, Facebook provides a marketplace for people to sell their products and services.

Is Google an online platform?

While a search engine, Google is an online platform that anyone can use to find work, advertise, and sell products and services.

You can even use Google to create your own online platform if you don’t want to use other platforms like Facebook, Amazon, and Fiverr.

Wrapping Up

Online platforms aren’t difficult to understand, but people often struggle to utilize them properly.

Do some research into some online platforms that truly interest you.

Think about what opportunities they can provide and how you can benefit from them.

Ensure that you understand and use online platforms to their fullest.

Business opportunities await those who seek them out.

The gig economy is rising, so don’t hesitate to try out one of these popular platforms.