The following statistics provide fascinating context:
“We already know, from a Pew poll last year, that nearly half of the adults who use the Internet report getting their news from Facebook alone. Now consider some of the latest numbers from Pew, in its annual State of the Media report, which came out on Wednesday:
• As in previous years, just five companies generate the majority (61 percent) of digital ad revenue: Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL.
• Facebook more than doubled digital ad revenue over the course of two years. It made $5 billion in ad money last year. That represents 10 percent of all digital ad revenue.
• Facebook is getting a quarter of all display ad revenue and more than a third (37 percent) of display ads on mobile.
This last point—Facebook’s mobile ad revenue dominance—is worth lingering on for a moment. Facebook has succeeded in thriving financially on mobile while leaving desktop behind. That’s exactly what consumers are doing, but it was unclear for years that money would follow on mobile. (It’s still unclear, for news sites especially, whether mobile revenue will be enough.) Facebook’s share of revenue on desktop dropped 20 percentage points last year, while its share of mobile revenue went up 20 percentage points.