By David HaggertyBloomberg—Facebook and Twitter are the dominant online media companies, with roughly 40% each of all digital traffic and the largest advertising dollars.
That’s according to a new study by the consulting firm Nielsen, which is examining the ways that Facebook and Google influence online media usage.
The research, titled The Digital Age, was conducted for the Digital Media Research Alliance (DMRDA) by the firm of KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The findings come as Facebook and the other online media players seek to compete in the digital ad space.
Nielsen’s research, which has not been independently verified, was done in January.
It found that Facebook’s audience and revenue grew by a quarter and 37% between January and April.
That growth was driven by increased engagement and usage of the site on smartphones and tablets, which helped generate an estimated $12.5 billion in digital advertising revenue.
Google’s audience grew by 4.2%, the study found, while YouTube’s audience dropped by 4%.
Twitter’s audience was down by 1.7%, Nielsen found.
“Facebook and Google are driving the growth of the internet, but the internet has been a product of the dominant social media companies for a long time,” said DMRDA CEO Robert Hickey.
“We need to reevaluate how we use these platforms and their users, to better understand how people engage with them.”
Hickey said his organization has been looking at how online media use is changing.
He cited Google’s growing audience, the increasing use of apps and video streaming services like YouTube and Snapchat, and a shift toward mobile and tablet use as possible reasons for the increase in online media consumption.
The findings, which come in the wake of the FCC’s announcement that it would regulate social media as a telecommunications service in January, are an important first step toward addressing the growing influence of online platforms in the media industry.
Hickey noted that Nielsen’s data is based on a survey conducted in March, which found that 60% of the US population uses social media, compared to 30% who do not.
Nielsen says the study is an opportunity to understand the relationship between the media companies and the people they target.
The report is the latest in a series of studies conducted by Nielsen and Pricewea.
In April, Nielsen released its findings from a survey of consumers about how they use the internet.
The firm also released its “Next Generation Nielsen” study in January that tracked Internet usage and advertiser spending from 2009 to 2020.