First Lady Michelle Obama is set to appear at the annual American Magazine Media Conference next week with AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong and Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel. But those high-profile attendees mask the tough battle the magazine industry is fighting with Facebook.
The social network has usurped the magazine industry’s advertising revenue, L2 founder Scott Galloway told listeners at last week’s DLD Conference. In 2010, U.S. consumer magazines earned $15.3 billion from ads, while Facebook was at a mere $2 billion. Last year, those numbers were completely reversed, with magazines bringing in only $10.8 billion and Facebook $15.9 billion.
Facebook’s ad growth is fueled primarily by mobile, which makes up 78% of the company’s ad revenue, reflecting changing user behavior. In Q3 2015, a majority of users accessed the social platform through a mobile device.
Magazines are trying to outpace that threat by moving to digital. For the industry as a whole, digital advertising revenue will more than double between 2014 and 2019 and account for 37% of total revenue. However, Facebook’s dominance of the mobile advertising space represents a significant challenge. The company controls almost one-fifth of total mobile advertising revenues–second only to Google.
Moreover, Facebook is increasingly positioning itself as a content creator and direct rival to traditional magazines. Most Facebook users get news from the platform, and that percentage is likely to grow as a result of recent offerings like Instant Articles. It’s not impossible to imagine a future where Facebook supplants the magazine business altogether.