What are the top brands in the UK?

Earlier this month, Verto Analytics launched in the UK, with new insights on the UK’s digital consumer market. This week, we took a look at some of the biggest brands in the UK and identified a few key trends around user behavior and the growth of digital publishers.

Global Brands are Also Some of the UK’s Biggest Brands

Verto Analytics looked at the top 30 brands in the UK based on monthly users (among UK adults, ages 18+). The list includes many familiar global names: YouTube, Facebook, and Google, which each claim more than 40 million users per month, are all top-ranking brands, similar to the position they hold among U.S. consumers. Ecommerce and financial transaction brands are also important: Amazon, eBay, and Paypal all hold prominent places in the top 10.
And while global social media, search, and ecommerce brands are popular in the UK, we noticed some interesting trends when it comes to communication apps and locally-owned media companies and digital publishers.

WhatsApp is the UK’s Messaging App Brand of Choice

While several messaging properties made it onto the list, we see distinct consumer preference for WhatsApp, which has the highest stickiness rating of all messaging apps on our list (Verto’s stickiness compares daily users to monthly users to quantify the most engaged users). In the UK, the average user spends nearly three and a half hours with WhatsApp every month, spread across 154 sessions.

That’s a huge jump compared to user behavior with rival apps such as Skype or Facebook Messenger: in the UK, both apps have nearly comparable numbers of monthly users and identical reach. While Skype users spend far more time with the brand per month (averaging six hours monthly), their sessions tend to be longer and less frequent – perhaps an indicator of Skype’s prominence in enterprise environments, where it is often used to video conferencing and business calls. Facebook Messenger fares even worse: its users spend a mere 54 minutes per month with the brand.

UK Brands Dominate Media and Publishing

When it comes to the five British-owned brands on our list, there’s a clear trend towards media and digital publishing properties: the BBC and its news and sports brands are the highest-ranking, followed by Sky and the Mirror UK. The BBC’s main brand outranks Wikipedia, while BBC News outranks both MSN and Yahoo, emphasizing the importance of locally-owned media and publishing portals.

Stickiness Matters

But when it comes to user engagement, British-owned properties have room for improvement. When compared to Facebook, the stickiest brand on our list (with a stickiness rating of 76%), the BBC, Sky, and the Mirror all lag significantly. As our research has revealed, British users are increasingly mobile-first: it’s 47% of their total time spent online, and 35% of Brits use online services only on mobiles. While the BBC News, BBC Sport, and the Mirror are clearly developing significant mobile-only audiences (and outrank their British competitors in terms of user sessions per month), their next step should focus on increasing the amount of time that users spend with their brands, as well as the number of user sessions per month. It’s also a lesson that other British brands can learn from as well: developing for an increasingly mobile audience will appeal to a growing segment of the UK’s consumer population, and ultimately will help British companies knock a few global competitors off our next Top-30 list.

Interested in our data on UK digital consumers? Download our newest report, The UK Digital Consumer. For additional insights and updates, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.