More and more, to stay current with many of the trends impacting consumer habits, you might focus on just three companies: Apple, Facebook and Google. As they compete against each other for users, they drive much of the technological changes that, in turn, shape consumer media habits.
Consider consumption of news content for example. The three brands have been unveiling features and options that make finding and consuming the news an almost effortless task.
Apple’s Hardware Gives It a Strong Lead
With more than 880 million of its computers and iOS devices in circulation, Apple has a formidable distribution network for news content. It also has plenty of fuel for this network thanks to iTunes, the App Store, Apple TV and, more recently, the Apple News app. Its recent focus on improving Spotlight search as a tool to help users find content seamlessly across all of these devices will only improve its position.
Facebook Dominates Social Content Delivery
Facebook doesn’t have a hardware platform — not yet anyway. But it obviously dominates this three-brand race as a social media platform. And its stream-of-content experience is so popular it’s influencing website design as Facebook relentlessly tweaks its algorithm to serve more relevant, quality content to its users.
The brand is focused on mobile and owning the content experience from start to finish. To do this, it’s making content even easier to consume through Instant Articles, and it’s forging deals with publishers to post their content directly to Facebook. It also recently introduced Signal for journalists. This tool helps them discover and curate content from Facebook and Instagram for use in their articles.
Google’s Early Lead Is Fading
Google is also going upstream to focus on content creation. Its YouTube News Lab will offer video tools to journalists. The brand also continues to extend the Google experience across devices, an easier task with its Android operating system. Unfortunately, while Google News was an early leader in news content distribution, it hasn’t held onto this lead. And Google also appears to be giving up on Google Plus as a competitive social media platform. Perhaps the search giant’s expanding focus is not a good thing when it comes to news content. While all three brands compete across a variety of areas, when it comes to news and content delivery, Google is a distant third.
The marketing industry’s success depends on how well it understands fast-changing consumer habits. Apple, Facebook and Google are shaping their ecosystems to ensure consumers spend their time with, and give their data to, each brand. So by paying attention to these companies, you can more easily understand consumers.