Over the past two decades, advertisers have gradually shifted their budgets away from traditional media (e.g. TV, newspapers and magazines) towards online ads. The rise of the smartphone has only accelerated this shift, as smartphones have fundamentally changed the way that people consume content. Ad dollars have always followed eyeballs and thus it doesn’t come as a surprise that mobile ad spending is currently growing a breathtaking rate.
One consequence of the shift towards online advertising is the fact that fewer companies command a larger share of advertising dollars spent. In fact, two companies, you may know them by the names of Google and Facebook, are so dominant in the online world that they account for more than 60 percent of global online ad revenues. According to advertising research company WARC that means the market leaders in search and social media will pocket 1 in 4 dollars spent on media advertising worldwide this year.
Last Thursday, President Trump lit the national Christmas tree in Washington, wishing everyone a very merry Christmas. Trump remarked about the unseasonably warm weather which was hovering in the mid-50s, saying it the best it’s been in the past 25 years. That hasn’t lasted with temperatures dropping sharply this week. That December reality will force many Americans to push their home heating systems up to full power. That prompts the question: which parts of the country will have the highest energy bills this winter?
Energy costs can account from anywhere from 5 to 22 percent of a families’ total after-tax income with the nation’s 25 million poorest households paying biggest slice of their earnings towards electricity and heating. Earlier this year, WalletHub analyzed monthly electricity, natural gas, motor fuel and heating oil to calculate energy costs by state. As soon as winter really bites, people in Connecticut face the highest monthly energy costs at $380. Alaska has far more brutal winters and the bill there averaged $332 every month. More northeastern states come third and fourth with Rhode Island and Massachusetts residents facing bills in excess of $320. Washington state and DC are at the opposite end of the scale with energy costs only averaging $226 and $219 respectively by comparison.
Facebook has again flown past expectations in its latest quarterly earnings report. As our infographic shows, in Q3, the company posted a year-on-year increase in net income of 79 percent. Moving up from the $2.6 billion in 2016, the last three months put $4.7 billion in Facebook’s coffers. Revenue is a similar story, with a 47 percent year-on-year increase to $10.3 billion.
Investors have nevertheless been spooked though, driving share prices down by as much as 2 percent in response to Zuckerberg’s warning that operating expenses in 2018 will rise by up to 60 percent. Citing the need to protect the company’s services from the kind of misuse seen during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, he said the company is “serious about preventing abuse on our platforms. We’re investing so much in security that it will impact our profitability. Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits.”
The top ten Android apps in the world last month had a combined download figure of over 306 million. According to Priori Data, at the top of the list was the ever popular WhatsApp with 73 million. In fact, apps developed by Facebook account for the lion’s share of the list, with WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger and Facebook/Facebook Lite hauling in a combined 225 million downloads.
When it comes to their social media preferences, U.S. teens are about as loyal as Brutus was to Caesar. Back in 2013, Facebook was still their social network of choice. In 2014, Instagram took the throne for a while before being replaced by Snapchat in 2016.
Now, in the fall of 2017, Snapchat is the clear number 1 for teens in the United States, with nearly half of the 6,000+ teenagers polled for PiperJaffray’s bi-annual “Taking Stock With Teens” survey naming it their favorite social platform. 24 percent of the teenage respondents called Instagram their favorite, while Facebook and Twitter are losing touch with the teen demographic.
So how do these numbers translate into actual usage? Are teenagers really abandoning Facebook in droves? Not quite, apparently. According to this year’s spring edition of PiperJaffray’s report, more than half of U.S. teens still use Facebook at least once a month. The same holds true for Twitter, which is used regularly by 56 percent of U.S. teens. Snapchat and Instagram hold their ground in terms of usage as well: both are used at least monthly by around 80 percent of young Americans.
It’s a common conception that everybody finds everything online via a Google search. According to research by Parse.ly, though, this is actually far from the case. All told, the lion’s share of referral traffic comes from Facebook (although it should be noted that Google AMP is not included in the analysis).
Where the picture becomes a little less clear is when we break down the referrals by topic. Lifestyle page referrals, for example, are dominated by Facebook (87 percent) whereas people generally find job postings through Google Search (84 percent).
Facebook itself came under fire during and after the U.S. presidential election for allowing so-called fake news to circulate freely on its site. With 59 percent of referrals to pages on this topic in 2016 coming from the social network, the political power of Mark Zuckerberg’s company is clear to see.