Digital Innovation Top Stories
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10 essential media stats from April 2019

Podcasting’s ascendancy, Apple’s monthly cloud spend, WPP’s Amazon ad spend, a mixed month for social media, UK digital ads hit record high, and just how much American teens love iPhones.

This is the latest in our monthly series highlighting key developments from the past month. Here’s 10 findings from April 2019 which caught our eye:

1: 83% of U.S. teens have an iPhone

Moreover, 86% plan to buy one as their next phone, according to Piper Jaffray’s 37th semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens survey. The study also highlights how popular, and aspirational, the Apple brand is in other areas too. The Apple Watch is the top smartwatch among teens, with 20% share, ahead of the Samsung Gear at 2%.

Other notable findings included that half of all teens rank Amazon as their preferred website, 37% watch Netflix daily, and Snapchat is their “favorite” social network.

Image: Technology & Social Media use among U.S. teens. Source: Piper Jaffray

2: Social media use among U.S. adults plateaus

“The share of U.S. adults who say they use certain online platforms or apps is statistically unchanged from where it stood in early 2018 despite a long stretch of controversies over privacy, fake news and censorship on social media,” reported the Pew Research Center, using data from survey conducted in January and February this year.

Their research revealed that the number of “adults who say they use Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter are each largely the same as in 2016, with only Instagram showing an uptick in use during this time period.”

Within this, they also found “substantial age-related differences in platform use,” particularly with regard to Instagram and Snapchat.

People aged “18 to 24 are substantially more likely than those ages 25 to 29 to say they use Snapchat (73% vs. 47%) and Instagram (75% vs. 57%),” the authors note.

3: Pinterest’s IPO values it at $10 billion

Described by NewsWhip’s Gabriele Boland as “an underdog platform for publishers,” Pinterest’s recent IPO documentation (their S1) states how valuable their audience is:

“Pinterest reaches more than 250 million monthly active users, two thirds of whom are female. In the United States, our total audience includes 43% of internet users, according to an independent study by Comscore based on total unique visitors to our service. This includes eight out of 10 moms, who are often the primary decision-makers when it comes to buying products and services for their household, as well as more than half of all U.S. millennials. We expect to continue to grow our user base over time, especially in international markets.”

At the end of last year their generated revenue of $755.9 million, compared to $472.9 million for the same period in 2017.

“Pinterest is not a pure media channel, nor is it a pure utility,” their prospectus says. “It’s a media-rich utility that satisfies both emotional and functional needs by solving a widespread consumer problem that is unaddressed by many other platforms. We call it discovery.”

Data published last year by NewsWhip, showed how a range of publishers – from BuzzFeed to the Daily Mail, New York Times and Vogue – were all enjoying engagement on the platform; while writing for FIPP Olga Nasalskaya has outlined some of the benefits of the platform for advertisers and marketers.

Image: Top Publishers on Pinterest, Q1 2018. Source: Newswhip

4: Snapchat is growing again – revenue up 39% on last year

The ephemeral social network, which has stalled – and even seen its user base decline – in the past year, had a busy (and better) month.

In launched a revamped Snapchat app for Android, which matters, Digital Trends’ Trevor Mogg said, because “the social media app has always been a bit of a nightmare to use on Android, its slow and buggy performance causing much frustration and annoyance among users.”

Separately, Casey Newton at The Verge wrote how, “In a bid to attract more users and advertisers,” the network is going to make Snapchat Stories available in other apps. “Tinder and video chat app Houseparty are two of the companies that have agreed to put Snap Stories into their own products, with the Tinder integration expected sometime this summer.”

Meanwhile, with the network adding four million users in the past quarter, taking it to 190 million daily active users, almost back to the 191 million daily active users is had a year ago, it’s stock price (at the time of writing) jumped 8%.

The network reaches 75% of 13-34 year-olds in the U.S. Hargreaves Lansdown, a FTSE 100 company investment company, notes that:

“Millions of millennial eyeballs make Snapchat very attractive to advertisers…Average revenue per user reached $1.68 last quarter, a fraction of what Facebook achieves, suggesting advertisers could dig deeper still if offered the right product.”

5: UK advertisers spent £13.44 billion on digital in 2018

This represents a 15 percent year-on-year increase “and demonstrates continued confidence in the power of digital advertising,” the latest IAB UK and PwC Digital Adspend study claims.

According to a press release for the study (the latter of which is only available for registered users) last year was the first time ad spend for smartphones accounted for more than half (51% )of total U.K. advertising.

Beyond mobile, video now accounts for 44% percent of the total display market.

Read more of What’s New In Publishing’s coverage of this report.

6: Sony has sold 4.2m Playstation VR systems worldwide

“Nearly three years after consumer virtual reality became a real thing, the market is still trying to determine whether it’s a growing market niche or a dwindling technological fad,” wrote Kyle Orland for Ars Technica, noting “while 4.2 million is certainly a big number in and of itself, its actual import depends a lot on what you’re comparing it to.”

Orland demonstrated this by showing the length of time it had taken Sony to hit this target. Sony has sold 91 million PlayStation 4 consoles, globally, in all its different forms.

The company is releasing 14 new VR games in Spring and Summer 2019.

Image: Time to hit sales milestones. Souce: Ars Technica

7: WPP spent c.$300 million on Amazon search ads last year

According to the Wall Street Journal (paywall):

“WPP PLC, the world’s largest ad buyer, spent about $300 million on behalf of its clients on Amazon search ads last year, and about 75% of that money came from Google search budgets, according to people familiar with the matter. It spent between $100 million and $150 million on Amazon search in 2017, the people said.”

Late last year, Amazon’s CFO Brian Olsavsky stated that advertising is now a “multibillion-dollar program” for Amazon.

Image: Examples of paid search marketing. Source: Catalyst.

8: Apple spends more than $30 million on Amazon’s cloud every month

According to CNBC, “In the past few months, Apple signed an agreement that includes a commitment to spend at least $1.5 billion on AWS [Amazon Web Services] over the course of five years.

In doing this, the article points out, they’re not alone.

“Lyft has agreed to pay AWS at least $300 million for cloud services through the end of 2021, while Pinterest said it has committed to spending at least $750 million on AWS in a six-year period that ends in mid-2023.”

Earlier this year, The Information showed just how much cloud costs eat up for some of Silicon Valley’s tech unicorns.

“In 2018,” CNBC notes, “AWS delivered $25.66 billion in revenue, or 11 percent of Amazon’s total annual revenue, and nearly 59 percent of Amazon’s operating income.”

Image: Amazon Web Service costs for select companies. Source: The Information.

9: Podcasting’s share of audio listening has more than doubled in five years

This was the stand out stat from Edison Research’s “The Podcast Consumer 2019,” which featured new, and previously unreleased, data.

“The audience for podcasting grew significantly in the past year,” the company observed, adding that “51% of Americans 12+ have ever listened to a podcast, with 32% having listened in the past month, and 22% in the past week.”

“Podcasting’s Share of Ear has more than doubled in five years,” they found, “increasing 122% since 2014.” Much of the growth is driven by listeners aged 12-24.

As in previous years, the research outlines a huge difference between casual podcast consumers and more active listeners, the latter typically listen to seven podcasts (presumably espides) a week.

Overall, around 90 million Americans, akin to just under a third of those aged over 12, listen to podcasts each month.

10: BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) will close on May 31st

It’s not that long ago that BBM, BlackBerry’s pioneering messenger service, was one of the world’s most popular chat apps. However, times change.

Although still popular in some markets such as Indonesia, BBM has typically been eclipsed by other products, such as WhatsApp (with more than 1.6 billion monthly active users) WeChat and others.

The Verge shared that “Emtek (the company that has taken over running the BBM app since 2016) has announced that it will end support for the messaging app on May 31st.” Emtek posted separately – in Bahasa Indonesia – to inform Indonesian users of the same news.

That said, Natt Garun noted, “those using the enterprise version of the app, called BBMe, will continue operations as normal,” adding that  “you can also download the enterprise version on Android and iOS for free, but there is a $2.50 subscription fee for every six months.”

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