According to measurement firm Verto Analytics, British adults accumulate 42.7 million days a month across Google properties – primarily search, YouTube and Gmail – the equivalent of more than 1 in every 6 minutes (17%) of UK internet time.
Around 11% of time (28.4 million days) is spent on Facebook-owned properties which include WhatsApp and Instagram.
Microsoft (7%) and Apple (5%) take third and fourth place respectively before a media company enters the picture. The BBC claims 2% of internet time, marginally more than e-commerce behemoth Amazon.
Alongside the BBC, Sky is the only other UK company featured in the 20 most-heavily used sites in the UK.
“Google and Facebook’s share of internet time and ad revenue is staggering considering the internet’s near-infinite long tail,” said Hannu Verkasalo, CEO of Verto Analytics.
He attributed their success to being “highly innovative” and making it easy for advertisers to spend with them – by providing both measurement tools and economies of scale, for example.
“In contrast, the likes of the newspaper industry, which rejected a joint ad sales venture to combat declining revenues, aren’t offering advertisers the same path of least resistance and effectiveness,” he said.
Verkasalo added that the implications “go beyond simply which sites we surf.
“You have fewer sites increasingly controlling not only what you see and hear but where advertising revenue goes,” he explained. “The erosion of newspapers, magazines and high street retailers plus the web giants' sway over political elections is just the beginning.”
Advertising money , he argued, not only has an impact on what products and technologies get developed by these giants, but concentrating power and wealth in fewer hands means it becomes easier for them to move into other business models and industries and influence society in new ways – as Google is doing with driverless cars, for example.
“It used to be the likes of NASA that drove the future, now it’s down to what search engine and social network you use,” Verkasalo said.
Data sourced from Verto Analytics; additional content by WARC staff