Digital ads, newspaper circulation, iPad sales, social media, reading habits, mobile trends, and business magazines are among the topics covered in this month’s installment of TFP’s Media Metrics roundup.

We compile excerpts from some of the key stories covering issues affecting the publishing and media industries each month to help you keep up with current media industry trends and prepare for changes that are just around the corner. See our top picks below.

As Digital Ad Sales Grow, News Outlets Get a Smaller Share (Pew Research Center)Chart: Display Ad Dollars

  • In 2013, overall digital display advertising accounted for $17.7 billion, up from $14.8 in 2012. But five major technology companies—Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL—accounted for 51% of that nearly $18 billion in revenue in 2013.
  • Facebook has sprinted past Google to become the biggest player in the digital display ad market, bringing in $3.17 billion in revenue in 2013 compared with $2.99 billion for Google.
  • Banner ads make up 23% of all digital ad revenue. In 2013, banner ads accounted for $9.6 billion in digital ad sales, up 12% from 2012.
  • Mobile advertising more than doubled from 2012 ($4.4 billion) to 2013 ($9.6 billion).

Business Model Evolving, Circulation Revenue Rising (Newspaper Association of America)

  • Circulation revenue for U.S. newspapers recorded a second consecutive year of growth, rising 3.7% to $10.87 billion in 2013, according to preliminary data compiled by the Newspaper Association of America.
  • Within the circulation revenue total of $10.87 billion, digital-only circulation revenue grew 47%, and print and digital bundled circulation increased 108%.
  • Overall, total revenue for the multiplatform U.S. newspaper media business amounted to $37.59 billion in 2013, a slight decline from $38.60 billion in 2012.
  • Traditional print advertising was reduced by 8.6% to $17.3 billion, and makes up less than half of total revenue.
  • Revenue from digital channels—advertising, circulation, digital marketing services, and other—rose 5.8% and accounted for 12% of total industry revenue.
  • An estimated 24% of the $3.42 billion in digital advertising is “pure-play” digital advertising.

Survey: 62% Can’t Recall Anything From Native Ads (Digiday)

  • Online marketing firm HubShout found that two-thirds of readers surveyed have read a native ad, but almost an equal number didn’t remember what it was about or who the advertiser was.
  • 20.9% of respondents said that they find more value in a sponsored article versus a non-sponsored article; 51.9% said they find equal value, while 27.1% said they find them less valuable

Tapped Out: A Few Reasons Why Apple iPad Sales Have Slowed (Gigaom)

  • In Apple’s second quarter, 16.4 million iPads were sold, down from the 19.5 million during the same period a year ago; that’s a big drop from the 26 million iPads purchased in the first quarter.
  • Just two years ago, nine out of 10 tablet purchases were Wi-Fi models. That’s changing, according to industry analyst Chetan Sharma, who says shared data plans are boosting LTE tablet sales over Wi-Fi slates in the U.S.
  • Demand for phones is still higher than the demand for tablets. Apple’s own sales figures show this: The company sold 43.7 million iPhones, or roughly 2.67 iPhones for every iPad sold last quarter.
  • Of the 195 million tablets sold in 2013 worldwide, Android devices accounted for 62% of them.
  • According to IDC, “device vendors shipped 25.2 million phablets in 2013 Q2, compared with 12.6 million tablets, and 12.7 million portable PCs. Phablets made a significant jump, up by 100% quarter on quarter, and up 620% for the same quarter in 2012.”

The Proven Ideal Length of Every Tweet, Facebook Post, and Headline Online (Fast Company)

  • Chart: Retweets by Length of TweetTwitter’s best practices reference research by Buddy Media about tweet length: 100 characters is the engagement sweet spot for a tweet. Track Social also found that the perfect Tweet length was right around 100 characters.
  • Their analysis saw a spike in retweets among those in the 71-100 character range—so-called medium-length tweets.
  • In Jeff Bullas’ study of retail brands on Facebook, he measured engagement of posts, defined by “like” rate and comment rate. The ultra-short 40-character posts received 86% higher engagement than others; posts with 80 characters or fewer received 66% higher engagement.
  • Medium’s research on says that the ideal blog post is seven minutes long.
  • We tend to absorb only the first three words and the last three words of a headline. If you want to maximize the chance that your entire headline gets read, keep your headline to six words.

Biz Magazines Underperform Industry in First Quarter (Talking Biz News)

  • The 14 business magazines underperformed the rest of the magazine industry in the first quarter, according to data from Publishers Information Bureau.
  • Combined, the business titles reported a 2.95% decrease in advertising revenue and a 5.9% drop in advertising pages. That compares to a 1.6% decrease in ad revenue and a 4% decrease in ad pages for the overall industry.
  • The business magazines’ 2013 ad revenue was down 4.8% from 2012, according to data from the Publishers Information Bureau. In comparison, the consumer magazine industry reported a 1.1% increase in 2013.
  • The best performing business magazine for the first three months of 2014 was Inc., which reported a 25.9% increase in advertising revenue and a 24.1% increase in ad pages.

Led by Digital, B2B Media Revenue Up 5% in ’13 (Folio)

  • The B2B media business grew 5% from 2012, generating $26.9 billion, according to ABM’s 2013 BIN report.
  • The revenue total is about even with the 2008 figures but, adjusting for inflation, earnings have fallen close to 8%. There’s reason for optimism though—the industry has enjoyed steady growth since a dramatic fall-off in 2009.
  • Digital advertising was the industry’s biggest growth area in 2013, increasing 22% to $5 billion, with income from data products rising 10% to $2.8 billion.
  • At $7 billion, print advertising—though down 4.4% last year and, adjusting for inflation, a whopping 36% since 2008—still commands a quarter of the industry’s revenue, however.

New Poll Finds Majority of Americans Read Ebooks (Digital Book World)

  • Some 54% of Americans currently read ebooks, according to according to a poll from Harris Interactive conducted in March 2014 among 2,234 U.S. adults.
  • About a third of those who read ebooks exclusively or more than print read more than 20 books a year, while about a fifth of those who read more print books read more than 20 books a year.
  • Ebook readers also purchase more books—about double what other readers buy.

Men Simply Don’t Read Books Anymore (Good E-Reader)

  • In a poll of of 2,000 young and adult men conducted on behalf of U.K.-based Reading Agency, 63% of men admitted that they simply don’t read as much as they think they should.
  • Forty-six percent of the men reported reading fewer books now than they did in the past; a third prefer the Internet, and 30% engage more with film and TV.
  • Not surprisingly, a staggering one in five men confessed that they have pretended to have read a specific title in order to appear more intelligent.
  • Meanwhile, 30% stated that they have not read a single book unless it was mandatory reading in school.
  • Many blamed a lack of time while, a fifth said they find it difficult or don’t enjoy it.

Newspapers Are Lagging Behind in the Mobile Traffic Boom (Digiday)

  • Nearly a quarter (23.3%) of Americans’ daily media consumption will be on mobile in 2014, compared to 18% on desktop, according to an eMarketer report released in April.
  • Social constitutes nearly a quarter of Web time spent on smartphones (24.5%) and tablets (23%), compared with 15.6% of users’ time on desktop.
  • Newspapers constitute just 0.9% of desktop browsing time, and even less on smartphones (0.2%) and tablets (0.4%).
  • Ttwo of the top players appear to be doing fine on mobile in terms of unique visitors. The Wall Street Journal’s number of mobile uniques increased to 11.7 million this March from 8.1 million the same month last year. The New York Times’ mobile audience jumped from 19.7 million last March to 27.4 million this March.

The Rise of ‘The Multi-platform Majority’ (Internet Retailer)

  • In December 2010, 26.2% of time spent online occurred on smartphones and very nascent tablets; in December 2013, 56.9% of time spent online occurred on mobile devices, according to a new comScore Inc. report entitled “U.S. Digital Future in Focus 2014.”
  • Today, 56% of U.S. Internet users use both desktops and mobile devices to search the web, shop online, engage in social networking, stream video and more, comScore says. Thirty-six percent only use desktops, and 8% only use mobile devices.
  • Use of mobile devices has skyrocketed during the last three years. Time spent online on tablets has soared a startling 1,040%, while time spent online on now ubiquitous smartphones has jumped 237%, comScore says. Time spent online on desktops has grown a paltry 7%.
  • Today, 65% of U.S.consumers 13 and older use smartphones and 34% use tablets, comScore says.
  • Fifty-one percent of smartphones run the Android mobile operating system, 42% are iPhones running iOS, and 7% run  mobile operating systems from BlackBerry, Microsoft Windows and others, comScore reports.

How Big Viral Publishers Stack Up Against Each Other (Digiday)

  • Over the past 12 months, six of the most notable viral publisher sites—BuzzFeed, Distractify, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Upworthy and Viral Nova—saw unprecedented gains in audience, according to comScore.
  • But some of those sites saw their traffic fluctuate wildly over the past half-year, showing that the flip-side to successfully using social networks to build an audience is that traffic patterns can be quite unreliable.
  • Upworthy saw its number of U.S. uniques increase from 11.6 million in October 2013 to 17.9 million in November 2013, a 54% increase. Then traffic decreased to 14.6 million uniques in December and 11.5 million in January before experiencing a slight rebound in February and March.
  • Viral Nova saw a similar drop and rebound. After debuting on comScore’s metrics in January with a staggering 20.3 million uniques, its traffic was more than halved in February, declining to 8.7 million. That number climbed to 9.2 million in March.

Why Is Facebook Page Reach Decreasing? More Competition and Limited Attention (TechCrunch)

  • The total number of pages “liked” by the typical Facebook user grew more than 50% last year—a new stat that came from a 45-minute interview with Facebook’s head of News Feed.
  • A study from News Feed optimization service EdgeRank Checker of 50,000 posts by 1,000 pages shows organic reach per fan (median) has steadily declined, from 16% in February 2012 to 6.51% in March 2014.
  • The roughly 50% decline in reach over the past year matches the 50% increase in page likes per typical Facebook user over the same time period. As people “like” more pages, the organic reach of each drops.
  • News outlets and others that publish their real product to Facebook, like news articles, tend to see more reach than Pages that merely publish marketing messages for their products, as shown in a study of the reach of 1,000 pages in March commissioned from EdgeRank Checker.

Forecast: Right Healthy 2014 Ad Spending (Media Life Magazine)

  • ZenithOptimedia now forecasts that U.S. ad spending will grow 4.9% this year, up from its December forecast of 4.7% growth.
  • It forecasts 18.4% growth for digital in 2014, paced by social media, video and mobile.
  • Social media advertising will soar 35% this year, with mobile helping to drive much of that spending.
  • Online video ad spending will shoot up 27% this year.
  • Spending will grow by more than 50% across each major mobile subcategory, and that will only speed up over the next few years, as mobile becomes the No. 1 way to use the web.

App Use Dominates Mobile Browser Use, but What Does That Mean for News Content? (Poynter)

  • The latest report from Flurry shows mobile users are spending the vast majority of their time with mobile apps, not with mobile web browsers.
  • So far in 2014, iOS and Android users have spent 86% of time with their devices using apps, up from 80% in 2013.
  • In January, Flurry reported that overall mobile use grew 115% in 2013, while the news and magazines category grew just 31%.
  • Facebook alone commands 17% of mobile users’ time, according to Flurry.

AAP Says eBook Sales Increased by 3.8%, but Indies Ignored (Good E-Reader)

  • According to a survey by the Association of American Publishers of more than 1,200 U.S. publishers on sales data, ebook sales in the adult trade fiction category increased in 2013 over 2012, up 3.8%.
  • Children’s ebook sales dropped 26.7% from 2012 to 2013, an industry fact that has repeatedly been explained by the lack of a runaway blockbuster like The Hunger Games in 2013.
  • Hardcover sales in adult trade fiction and non-fiction combined increased to a total of $1.5 billion in 2013; ebooks in fiction-only sold almost as much as hardcover for both fiction and non-fiction for adults–despite the typically lower price point of ebooks compared to hardcover and paperback.
  • However, while small press and indie press publishers who are members of the AAP were included in the sales data, self-published authors and their ebooks were not counted.

Media Metrics is a monthly feature from Technology for Publishing, aimed at keeping you armed with the latest industry data. If you’d like to share something you’ve read, drop us a note. And keep up with the latest industry news coverage by signing up for our This Week in Publishing emails or our monthly Publishing Trends newsletter.

Posted by: Margot Knorr Mancini

A thought leader in the publishing industry, Margot Knorr Mancini has helped numerous publishers redefine their missions to become nimble content generators with the ability to repurpose content easily and efficiently. As Founder & CEO of Technology for Publishing, her analytical mind allows her to remain a step ahead of the industry, recognizing early trends and developing pivotal best practices.