Book publication

of the

In bookstores as of September 16th 2020

The authors, Cologne-based media scholar Martin Andree and Timo Thomsen from the German GfK (Society for Consumer Research), have measured the entire digital sphere. The Atlas of the Digital World remains almost as factual as a school atlas. Criticism is hidden between the lines - for example, when the authors note that digital companies hardly make their data available to researchers and the public. That’s why it's the perfect time to tap into a new source of data. The atlas does this clearly and in detail with a broad variety of graphics. It provides material and arguments for all those who want to change the digital world.
(leading national German weekly newspaper)
September 17th 2020
Thanks to the 'Atlas of the Digital World' that a little light is now shed on the digital darkness. The authors illustrate how we use the internet. Which sites are visited, for how long, and in which tech ecosystem. This is unique in its accuracy. And the book uncovers a real scandal: Competition in the digital sphere is even more distorted than in any other market.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
(leading German national weekly newspaper)
September 20th 2020
Which online services do Germans really use and how intensively? A team of researchers has set out to explore our digital galaxy. Take a look at their measurements and you will be surprised by the extent of their findings.
(German national daily newspaper)
October 7th 2020
The book covers an extremely broad spectrum - rich in detail and well structured. The brand-new work is not only fresh on the market; it also impresses with its up-to-date data, which does not even ignore the Covid19 crisis. The versatility and flexibility of digital media is particularly emphasized, and the book itself delivers on this promise.
(National Public German Broadcasting), book recommendation
September 20th 2020
The Atlas of the Digital World has the potential to overturn several findings about the internet and its big data machine. The fact that people, companies, and service providers produce an incredible amount of data is a truism in the digital age. 'But why isn't there actually an established standard that makes digital media accessible in a holistic and coherent way?' Martin Andree and Timo Thomsen asked themselves. Their answer: a book that will not only generate discussion among market researchers.
(Professional journal for marketing, advertising and media)
Editor-in-chief Volker Schütz
September 17th 2020
The strength of Andree’s and Thomsen's atlas lies in the fact that their findings encourage readers to reflect on their own area. Through the introductions of the chapters and cartographic illstrations from different areas of use on the Internet, they provide an interesting focus with sometimes new insights into certain fields. In addition, the layout of the book as well as the infographics, illustrations and tables are good, in a pleasant format and on polished paper. Overall: A successful non-fiction book!
(Information Association for the Determination of the Distribution of Advertising Media)
Martin Krieg
December 2nd 2020
The claim is huge, but it is also fulfilled. With the figures presented in the book, you can say goodbye to some cherished insights.
(Professional journal for marketing, advertising, and media)
October 13th 2020
An exciting and useful book for anyone looking for well-founded figures on the digital world. The excellently prepared work saves a lot of time when doing your own research. At the same time, the book is highly entertaining and definitely invites you to browse through it.”.
October 13th 2020
Digitalization is 'uncharted territory' in many respects. Andrees and Thomsen's book is the best telescope to explore this digital cosmos.
(popular science monthly magazine)
October 13th 2020
The new book ‘Atlas of the Digital World’ provides a comprehensive overview of digital companies, activities, end devices and user profiles. Exciting!
(Professional journal for the communications and media industry)
October 7th 2020
The ‘Atlas of the Digital World’ regards itself as fundamental research. It provides figures on the current situation. And an incentive to continue researching, to stay awake and not to drift passively into the digital world.
(Swiss radio and television)
December 7th 2020
In the ‘Atlas of the Digital World’, Martin Andree and Timo Thomsen have mapped the Internet, its providers and our usage behavior. The content is illustrated in countless infographics. An eye-opening reference work that makes the various aspects of the digital transformation of our society tangible.
(book magazine for forward-looking debates)
December 1st 2020
Until now, it has been difficult to quantify the real concentration of power held by internet companies. Now the GfK (Society for Consumer Research) has made data available for the book ‘Atlas of the Digital World’, which it continuously collects from 16,000 representative Germans. They impressively demonstrate the dominance of a few tech giants.
Euro am Sonntag
(weekly German financial and business newspaper)
December 10th 2020
The book provides an overview that has been missing for a long time. So far, people have searched in vain for a source that provides an overview of what is actually happening on the internet. The atlas answers these questions. The presentation of the results with many graphics is outstanding. Anyone working in the media industry would do well to always have this atlas within reach.
Ad Alliance,
Dirk Engel
December 10th 2020


  • First 360° representation of the digital universe
  • New factual basis for key social issues, including …
    • Dominance of the large digital corporations
    • Consumption of political news via digital channels
    • Social significance of social media platforms
  • High-quality scientific data, publicly accessible for the first time
  • Clearly written, vividly illustrated (more than 150 infographics)


The first 360° survey of the digital universe

Even if it sounds unbelievable: To date, there has been no coherent representation of digital media usage. This book closes this gap for the first time - based on scientific data of highest quality.

Why do we know so little about the digital world?

Anyone who deals with the various aspects of digital media lives in a paradoxical world: there is no field in which more data, information and statistics exist. But at the same time, we always know isolated, tiny particles and fragments that cannot be integrated. The problem is that we don't have a holistic view of digital media usage. There is no coherent representation of digital media based on one and the same database – and considering the various end devices used by the people (desktop or laptop, smartphone, tablet).

The reference measurement for digital media use

For the first time, the Atlas of the Digital World, provides a general frame of reference that maps all the different digital offerings (e.g. Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, etc.), activities (e.g. content consumption, shopping, search, social media, etc.), the different end device categories (desktop, smartphone, tablet) and the different user profiles in a 360° representation.

This analysis was made possible by the evaluation of the GfK (Society for Consumer Research) CrossMedia Link Panel, which records the real media usage of 16,000 people in Germany (i.e. the book’s findings are not the results of surveys, but document real usage behavior).

For the first time, this type of data is being made available to the public here. The outcomes and analyses are clearly presented and illustrated with descriptive infographics, making the content understandable and accessible to everyone.

Overview of important new findings

The analysis of this data provides far-reaching new insights and surprising discoveries. Here are just a few examples:

  • The concentration of total traffic on just a very few corporations is extreme and significantly greater than suspected: Google (or Alphabet) and Facebook alone bundle more than a third of the total digital attention of all digital players combined; from millions of different offerings, the top 7 players generate more than 50% of all digital traffic.
  • The exact extent of this concentration is calculated scientifically - on a scale between 0 (equal distribution - all players generate the same amount of traffic) and 1 (one player attracts all the traffic, all other players in the market have zero traffic), the value for digital concentration is 0.988 (gini coefficient).
  • The growth in digital media usage is most dynamic where it is least expected, namely among older users (age 60+). Here, the increase is more than 5 times higher than in the overall market.
  • The usage time of instant messaging is surprisingly high. WhatsApp achieves a similar level of duration as Facebook. Facebook, on the other hand, is losing significant usage - the deficit cannot be compensated for even by the dynamic growth of Instagram within the Meta ecosystem.
  • TikTok is growing rapidly and has more than quadrupled its usage duration within a year.
  • The importance of blogs is so low that it can often hardly be measured empirically. Only around 14% of the German population use blogs at all. These users then spend an average of less than 2 minutes a month on such offerings.
  • Even big brands do not manage to build up significant traffic on their own domains, even after decades of investment.
  • GenZ is less political than expected. The young people use significantly fewer political domains than the rest of the population.

Overall, almost all analyses show that the usual market considerations based on reach are misleading. The decisive factor is the consideration of the duration of use, which is holistically measured and published here for the first time.

Fact is: Only the real duration of use measured here can determine the "stickiness" of the various digital offerings. Here is an example: although Apple achieves "only" 44.5 % penetration in terms of reach, it can attract such intensive use that it is one of the biggest players in the overall market, another surprising finding (8.0% of total usage time!).

Detailed empirical findings in relation to current social debates

The Atlas of the Digital World makes a key contribution to current debates, such as:

  • Quantifying precisely the supremacy of the large digital corporations
  • Elimination of fair competition under the conditions of digital markets
  • Consumption of political news via digital channels
  • Significance of social media platforms for the public
  • Problematic lack of public access to data inside the walled gardens of Big Tech

The problem with these debates is that they are often conducted based on insufficient facts and data. Here is an example: How can we rationally assess the issue of the overwhelming power of large digital corporations if there is no precise knowledge of the exact extent of this concentration?

The Atlas of the Digital World is intended to provide the first 360° orientation through comprehensive, scientifically measured data. At the same time, the publication is only the first step towards providing the public with such a reference framework. We can only hope that in the future, additional partners from the digital economy will make their data available in order to further improve the precision of the observations and measurements in the public interest.


I. Measuring the digital universe 17

  1. The digital universe as a whole: distribution and concentration 18
  2. Digital media: usage in our society 38
  3. Market: How is the digital universe growing? 43
  4. Devices: Access to the digital world 52

II. Activities: What do people do in the digital world? 61

  1. Overview of the various activities in digital media 62
  2. Video and audio use 67
  3. Gaming 81
  4. Communication and social networking 90
  5. News, information; web search; on-site search 94
  6. Shopping, auctions; banking, money; product/price comparison; file sharing, web space 105
  7. Pornographic content; gambling, betting 117
  8. Conclusion: All activities at a glance 123

III. The sphere of social media 133

  1. Overview: The dimensions 135
  2. Facebook and Instagram 148
    • Facebook 148
    • Instagram 153
  3. YouTube as a hybrid 157
  4. The territories of the challengers 163
    • Pinterest 163
    • Twitter 168
    • Reddit 170
  1. Disruptive platforms for young target groups 173
    • Snapchat 173
    • TikTok 178
    • Tumblr 182
    • Jodel 184
  2. Career networks 186
    • XING 187
    • LinkedIn 188
  3. Instant messenger services 189
    • WhatsApp 189
    • Facebook Messenger 191
  4. Conclusion: Social media at a glance 193

IV. Deep dives: areas of particular interest 199

  1. The "Big 4: Meta, Alphabet, Apple, Amazon 200
    • The Meta Group (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp) 201
    • The Alphabet Group (Google, YouTube) 207
    • The Apple Group 217
    • The Amazon Group 221
    • Conclusion: The "Big 4" at a glance 228
  2. The sphere of blogs 231
  3. How politically interested is GenZ? 236
  4. Big brands on the web 239
  5. Love on the net? Dating platforms 244

The most important thing at the end: Our digital world knowledge 249

  1. How digital media construct our world 250

Appendix 260

  1. Method, approach and limitations of this study 261
  2. Notes, references, further reading 264

Video of the presentation @ DMEXCO


If you are interested in interviews, guest articles etc., please contact Campus Verlag,
Margit Knauer (Pressesprecherin)
Phone: +49 (0)69 97651621