Consumption of digital content on PCs, tables and mobile handsets increase 13% year-over-year, in line with growth observed earlier this year, Pivotal Research analysts said, citing data from Nielsen.
The data is positive for Google (GOOG) but negative for Facebook (FB), the firm said.
“Looking at specific media owners we can see a continuing shift of share in consumption trends benefiting Google and related properties but also continuing erosion in Facebook’s share of time spent with digital media,” Pivotal analyst Brian Wieser said in a note to clients on Monday. “Snap’s (SNAP) trends are stable in aggregate, but weak on a per user basis while Twitter’s (TWTR) are relatively positive with growth in users and time spent per user.”
Wieser said he’s left his hold rating on Alphabet and sell ratings on Facebook, Snap and Twitter, along with price targets for all four companies, unchanged.
After reviewing Nielsen’s updated data on digital content ratings through July that became available last week, Wieser said digital consumption rose 13%. That’s in line with the double digit growth trends observed prior to April. Total digital consumption amounted to 32 billion hours, which compares with about 40 billion of conventional live television.
Excluding Google’s YouTube, however, consumption gained 9% as the company grew at a pace in the high-20s or better and accounted for 19% of digital content intake, he said. Google is on a roll as YouTube and Waze combined to account for 34% of time on digital media, Pivotal said.
“The share was noticeably higher versus what has been observed in most recent months on a comparable basis and further compares with 28.7% in July 2017,” Wieser said. “In total, Google-related properties accounted
for 72% of the growth in consumption of digital content.”
Supporting the trend is the fact that the measures include time spent with content that’s tagged with a Google URL, including AMP-delivered content for the other publishers’ properties, he said. Google doesn’t monetize even most of the AMP-associated growth, it’s still important as it reflects the degree to which the company is capturing data and enhancing ad technology and marketing tools.
Facebook, meanwhile, continues to move in the opposite direction as messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp were all flat on an annual basis. Nielsen data showed the number of Facebook users rose 3.5% in July, an increase from June, thought “well below” other periods, Wieser said. Average time per user also was down almost 7% for an aggregate decline in use of 3.4%.
Instagram was better as users grew 15% and time spent on the platform was up 38%, but the company only captures time from users equivalent to 15% of Facebook’s total, Pivotal said.
Including Facebook, messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, Facebook’s share of digital consumption stood at 15.2% versus 16.9% a year earlier, the firm said.
“While the declines for Facebook described here are more significant vs. other recent periods, it is impossible to identify whether or not Cambridge Analytica and concerns around data privacy had any impact here, nor if Facebook’s efforts to improve the quality of time spent (at the expense of volume of time) might be having a desired effect,” Wieser said.