The final Verto Index of the year focuses on the biggest digital brands, based on monthly unique users (among U.S. adults, ages 18 and above). For the purposes of this Index, when Verto refers to a brand, it includes the main parent brand (eg., Facebook) as well as Verto’s data on the other digital properties or subsidiaries owned by that brand (eg., Instagram and WhatsApp).
Top 10 Brands: the Duopoly is Real
Our ranking of the 10 most popular brands underscores the dominant role that the so-called duopoly of Facebook and Google holds on consumer time and attention. Top-ranking Google is a virtually ubiquitous brand, with 99% reach and nearly 213 million monthly users who access its flagship search engine, Chrome internet browser, Maps, and other properties. Facebook is not far behind, with 96% reach and almost 205 million monthly users.
The rest of the top 10 includes e-commerce juggernauts like Amazon and Walmart, as well as tech giants like Apple and Microsoft. And although Verizon acquired Yahoo earlier this year under its new Oath digital content umbrella, we are including them as two separate brands for this year’s Index. In fact, the only brand in our rankings that is not explicitly a tech company is National Amusements, which was originally founded as a theater company in 1936; today, the corporation owns thousands of movie theaters around the globe and holds controlling stakes in media conglomerates like CBS and Viacom.
Facebook and Google Also Lead in Stickiness
When it comes to stickiness (Verto’s measure of user engagement) Google and Facebook again take the lead, with 84% and 71% stickiness ratings, respectively. Microsoft’s range of internet browsers and content portals, productivity tools, and communications properties – which include Bing, LinkedIn, and Skype in addition to Microsoft’s eponymous Office software – all contribute to high levels of consumer engagement and frequent use. And interestingly, two device manufacturers – Samsung and LG – also report high stickiness ratings based largely on high user engagement with the pre-installed suite of utilities and apps (internet browsers, camera and photo apps, email and communications tools) that come with each of their devices.
With the exception of Facebook, Verto Analytics data seems to indicate that the keys to developing a high stickiness rating and a highly engaged user base are to provide a full ecosystem of communications, content, and productivity tools and make them readily accessible to consumers. While Facebook’s existing offerings don’t fully align with this hypothesis, its recent efforts to scale into enterprise tools (eg., with the launch of Workplace by Facebook) indicate that Mark Zuckerberg’s company is keenly aware of this need.
Which Brands Attract the Most User Time?
According to Verto Analytics data, the 10 brands that attract the most user time highlight the importance of digital content, social media and communications, e-commerce, and mobile gaming – findings that we previously discussed in our 2018 Trend Report, published earlier this fall.
Unsurprisingly, Google and Facebook both hold leading positions on our list: the average consumer spends nearly two whole days on Google properties per month, which represents just a slight rise over last year’s figure (of about two days and 20 hours per month). Mozilla racked up almost 29 hours of user time per month, largely through use of its Firefox internet browser. And users spent more than an entire day on Microsoft’s various properties, including enterprise workhorses like Microsoft Word and Excel. Meanwhile, users spent nearly 19 hours and 40 minutes on Facebook properties (including Instagram and WhatsApp), a slight increase from last year’s total of 19 hours and 30 minutes.
Games, and particular mobile games, are also a huge draw for consumers: gaming brands comprise 40% of our list of brands that attract the most user time. Activision Blizzard is the leader here, garnering more than 10 hours of user time per month, largely based on the success of its Candy Crush franchise. And even without accounting for console users (our Verto Index data only includes usage on PCs, smartphones, and tablets), Nintendo still attracts almost 9.5 hours of user time a month, largely through mobile games like Animal Crossing and, of course, Pokémon GO. And EA’s gaming offerings, such as The Sims and Bejeweled, pull in nearly 9.25 hours of user time per month as well.