Over a Quarter of UK Internet Time Spent on Google and Facebook

Sarah McInerney

Head of Content

Sarah has almost three decades of experience in crafting compelling, engaging content specifically designed to boost sales and enhance brand loyalty. She’s also an expert in developing unique tone of voice that helps brands connect with their audiences. Her marketing and client service background has given Sarah a natural understanding of how to write content that makes readers take action. Whether it’s signing up to a mailing list, making an enquiry or donation or clicking the buy button, Sarah knows precisely how to convert with words. Pen down, Sarah is a proud member of the Essex Wildlife Trust and spends most of her free time enjoying inspiring walks through her local woodland and nature reserves, admiring everything that flaps, flutters and flowers.

Facebook and Google recently declared quarterly income totalling £27 billion. Whilst this sounds like quite a substantial amount of money, the fact that the search giant and social media icon account for one in every three and a half minutes of time spent online by Brits clearly explains the reason behind the sky-high turnover.

Measurement specialists Verto Analytics carried out a study of internet behaviour amongst adults in the UK and found that some 42.7 million days a month are spent on Google-owned sites, including the search engine itself as well as Gmail and YouTube. This equates to one in every six minutes, or 17 per cent of UK internet time.

Google Search

More than a quarter of UK internet time is spent on Google or Facebook.

As for Facebook, which includes the organisations’ bought-in brands Instagram and WhatsApp as well as Facebook itself, the figure is 28.4 million days, or 11 per cent of internet time.

Hannu Verkasalo is CEO of the company behind the study. She says that according to estimates, Google and Facebook account for 50 to 75 per cent of advertising revenue, but are consuming 80 to 99 per cent of every new pound spent, which means their revenue share is double their share of time. Reasoning, Verkasalo comments, “That’s because they’ve been highly innovative and make it much easier for advertisers to spend with them, such as providing both measurement tools and economies of scale. In contrast, the likes of the newspaper industry, who rejected a joint ad sales venture to combat declining revenues, aren’t offering advertisers the same path of least resistance and effectiveness.”

Want a Piece of the Action?

The figures are very interesting and really quite striking when you put them into context. But for us, the key question we should all be asking ourselves is, how do we get involved and enjoy a piece of the action?

Considering that more than a quarter of UK internet time is spent on Google or Facebook, is it not clearly obvious that for the UK business owner, serious consideration has to be given to ensuring a strong presence across the various assets of these platforms?

Piece of Action

How to get a piece of the Google and Facebook action?

Whether you’re a paying advertiser, or working on an organic strategy or social media campaign, surely in light of these statistics, you’ve got to admit that it would be foolish not to invest some resources into achieving a presence on what represents the UK’s most dominant internet giants?

It’s Strategy Time

So, it’s time to devise a strategy to make sure you’ve got a presence across the platforms that come under the wings of Google and Facebook.

Step 1: Ascertain the right platforms

The first step is to work out precisely which of these platforms are right for your audience. We’ve looked at social media in a previous post, discussing the importance of not doing it ‘just because’ and how whilst certain channels work well for some businesses, the very same ones may be complete non-starters for others. The key message here therefore is to do your research. Work out whether the internet time commanded by the various Google and Facebook platforms can actually be attributed to your target audiences. If it can, make yourself aware of precisely which ones. Don’t forget that YouTube may work for some industry sectors, whilst Instagram could be a much more effective channel for others.


What platforms will your audience like?

Step 2: Set goals and priorities

For the smaller business, it is impossible to do everything. By setting yourself objectives and working out priorities, you’ll be able to work out how best to allocate your budget. For example, you may want to go all-out to drive sales, but on the other hand, reputation development and engaging with existing customers in order to cross and up-sell could well be more important – and lucrative – to you. The beauty of Facebook and Google is that they offer, via different platforms and tactics, the opportunity to achieve all of the above. Work out what’s important to you then you’ll be able to shape your strategy around your end game.

For example, if you want to engage with customers, you may wish to run an interactive YouTube or Facebook campaign that gets followers involved. Great examples of interactive campaigns include Hot Wheels on YouTube where you actually get to race for the Custom Motors Cup, and Audi’s A6 interactive driving video which allows you to create your own driving experience.

If you’re going all-out to grow your sales, then targeted advertising campaigns on your chosen platforms are perhaps the best route for you. There really is so much you can do on this front. We’ve previously talked about Lookalike Audiences; Local Pack advertising (and/or organic Local Pack optimisation), Google Shopping Campaigns and Facebook’s Dynamic Ads for Retail (covered via the same link). Of course you also have Google AdWords and all that offers including remarketing and display advertising across its YouTube platform.

Step 3: Measure

As Verto Analtyics’ Hannu Verkasalo said, Google and Facebook make it easy for advertisers with measurement tools. You MUST use these tools to monitor the success of your campaigns so that you can ascertain whether they are delivering you a tangible return and, of course, meeting those goals you set in step 2. You can learn more about Facebook Insights here, and Google Analytics here.


Be sure to use all available tools to measure the success of your campaigns.

What to do Next?

There really is so much you can do to optimise your presence across Google and Facebook and you’ll find literally tonnes of advice right here on our blog to help you do just that. And of course, we can help too! If you’d like an expert helping hand from a team with a proven track record of success in setting strategies and meeting objectives, why not give Figment a call? We’d love to help you get a piece of the Google and Facebook action!

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