A new report from watchdog Ofcom has revealed that nearly half the country does not know that online giant Google, along with other similar tech giants, generates its revenue through advertising.
The report, which is the company’s first Online Nation study, has reported that there is a widespread lack of knowledge when it comes to understanding how search engines are funded. The study revealed that 46% of the public are unaware that advertising is Google’s main source of income. This figure consists of 18% that gave a wrong answer and 28% that simply did not know.
Nearly all of the UK’s online population uses Google for their internet search needs, with 97% making use of Google, in comparison to second placed Bing, which only 14% use.
Advertising is the main income stream for most in the online sector, with online advertising generating £13.4bn in the UK in 2018, which was up 13% on the figure from 2017. This accounts for over half of the total ad revenue for the UK at 57%.
Google and social media titan Facebook generated a combined 61% of the UK’s online ad revenue in 2018 between them, according to the Ofcom report. These websites are the most visited by the UK’s adult population, with their share of the revenue being greater than time spent on these sites.
The report also highlighted that 90%, or nine in 10, internet users visit video site YouTube on a monthly basis and spend an average of 27 minutes per day on it. A similar number visited Facebook, with users spending an average time of 23 minutes on the social network site. Despite this, the report states that Facebook use is in decline in this country, even though usage remains high. It is still the largest social network in terms of revenue, use and reach, but the figures are falling, from 95% in 2016 to 88% last year.
Despite this, 70% of Brits have social media accounts, with an average of one in every five minutes spend on the internet being on social media applications. The UK spends an average of 39 minutes a day on social media, including Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit and LinkedIn.
The report shows that 13% of Brits still do not use the internet, and this has remained unchanged for five years. The main reason for these people choosing not to make use of the world’s biggest information centre is a perceived lack of need for it, which was cited by 47% of those taking part in the study.