Publishing Giants vs. Up and Coming Contenders

There has long been a struggle within the business world between the titans of industry vs. the up and coming contenders. It is a challenge for companies to rise to the top and dominate a market to become a brand name. Names like Twitter make one think of a tiny blue bird, or Google brightly colored letters that morph into clever themes. Regardless it is a war with opposing sides – a struggle to constantly claim a part of the market – and publishers are in the heat of the fray.

David vs. Goliath: It’s about Reach

Media consumption and the multiple devices consumers use to access it has become a key factor in measuring reach, especially on mobile. As of May 2015, Google and Facebook alone have the highest net reach at 228 million users and 222 million users, respectfully, as well as the highest mobile reach with 150 million and 143 million users monthly among properties in the US. There are some up and coming contenders emerging, however. Wikipedia, Instagram, and Pinterest, for example, are among properties for which mobile-only reach is especially high compared to PC user reach.  This data shows that while top publishers seem to have a clear advantage, smaller publishers have their niches where they are growing within the device market.

It’s a Popularity Contest: Time Spent

Part of what makes a publisher successful is the amount of users who access their content and spend time using it. Our data also shows that the more popular a property is, the more likely people are to access it using multiple devices. In terms of mobile apps, this means different things to both publishing giants and up and coming contenders. An average Facebook app user spends around 14 hours per month using the app, while smaller publishers like Pinterest users only access the mobile app around two hours per month. Consumers’ preferences obviously play a role in mobile app publisher data, and changing consumers’ habits over time affects which mobile apps are on top. Smaller publishers can grab more of the market by optimizing their platforms for mobile, and paying close attention to market trends and consumer demands.

It’s Not Really a Battle: Male vs. Female

Demographics shouldn’t be ignored when looking at the publishing giants vs. the up and coming contenders. It is noteworthy that from a demographic distribution point-of-view, similar properties attract different demographic groups. For instance, Facebook has slightly more female than male users but uniform age distribution.  Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram claim a higher female user base, with Pinterest’s female user share reaching 79%. Alternatively, LinkedIn and WhatsApp share a higher male user base. Publisher preference for Snapchat and WhatsApp also varies with a younger user base of 64% and 43%, respectively for ages 18 to 29. When it comes to male vs. female in the battle of publishers, again, it is a wide distribution dependent on user preference and age.

While it is clear big publishers continue to dominate, it’s important to keep an eye on the up and coming contenders. Data matters in this battle, and as publishers analyze, innovate, and extend their reach, time could change who is on top. Smaller publishers need to continue to deepen their reach by optimizing for mobile, evolving their technology, and marketing their services to a wide range of ages and genders. Top publishers cannot become complacent and must continue to make their services relevant as new devices hit the market, and the app world expands.  Whether it is a major publishing giant or up and coming contender, what is clear is that it will continue to be a high-stakes battle.