Digital Media Consumption Up, Facebook Slipping

MediaPost’s reporting of Pivotal Media Research’s analysis of Nielson shows a 15% growth in digital media consumption for 2018, but it’s not looking good for Facebook.

Liam Handford

Liam Handford

December 13th, 2018 | Reading Time: 2 mins
commuters consuming content on smartphones

MediaPost’s reporting of Pivotal Media Research’s analysis of Nielson shows a 15% growth in digital media consumption for August 2018.

Rising year on year, 2018 was maybe the first time there were some fair predictions that digital media consumption growth might slow down slightly, hit by platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram hitting their peaks Instead, we see digital media consumption still climbing, but not everywhere we’d expect. Facebook’s properties have been seeing decreased consumption year on year, but a fall this significant combined with the first ever fall in average time spent per user, makes us question the relevancy of Facebook in the future.

With the recent data breach, and other concerns around data privacy, it is hard to ignore the timing of the decline.

Fast Company

The decline of Facebook and other social platforms isn’t necessarily anything new though. Besides the fake-news scandal and privacy concerns, the audience that launched them to stellar heights have grown up, Facebook isn’t the cool young person platform anymore. What’s interesting is that Facebook’s huge 13% company-wide decline and a 6.7% average decline of time spent per person hints at a larger trend. Consumers may be taking a step back, recognising that quality well-sourced content they can trust may be further away than just their social news feeds.

Google’s properties continue to top the charts, making up 32.8% of all digital media consumption – YouTube alone growing consumption more than 20% year on year. In the advertising war, squeezing maximum ads per minute to increase revenue, Facebook are starting to hurt.



What it means for Publishers

For Publishers, this should be a sign to double-down on audience engagement and building an infallible brand reputation. Becoming a trusted, respected source in their niche and owning their readership needs to be the top priority, not just being another panel in an endless feed.

Another stark reality the report shines light on is the fact that the Top 5 media companies account for 54% of all digital media consumption. None of the rest topping more than 1.5%, showing just how fragmented the rest of the traffic is. And while they’re much smaller opportunities, there are undoubtedly gems in that pile that publishers should be looking at for reader acquisition. With much lower competition, and flexibility to be creative that large platforms just don’t have, the long tail is still where smaller publishers should be.

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