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Rates of increase in digital media consumption continue to slow, according to projections by eMarketer.

What it means: Because the number of hours in a day doesn't increase, media consumption becomes a zero-sum game. Per eMarketer, "increased time spent with one medium will tend to come at the expense of time spent with another." Slowing digital growth could mean users aren't ready to fully give up other mediums (radio, TV, print, etc.).

Expand chart

Data: eMarketer; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

While time spent is expected to plateau, so is user adoption of new mediums and sources of information.

  • Apps: As comScore identified last year, we are now at or nearing "peak app" usage, meaning that most smartphone users download zero or only one new app per month.
  • Social media users and penetration: eMarketer's projected growth for social media users and global penetration has been steadily declining and is only set to increase by 5% by 2020, compared to the 12% year over year increases in 2014 and 2015.

On the business side, scaled marketing is also showing signs of stagnation:

  • Facebook newsfeed: Facebook CFO David Wehner said in 2016, they expect their Newsfeed ad load to hit saturation by the middle of this year, (which is why we're seeing such an emphasis on video advertising).
  • Banner ads: An increase in ad blockers globally suggests that the digital display ecosystem has become too intrusive and crowded. The latest estimates show advertisers spending more money on native campaigns than standard display for the first time ever. Next year, native is set to make up over 67% of digital ad spend.
  • Brand emojis: "2015 potentially saw an overload of poor emoji integrations that didn't add much value," said John Ohara, SVP at Giant Spoon to Digiday. "A lot of brands moved into the space too quickly, and ended up neither being true to their core brand identity nor adding to it in a meaningful way."

Why it matters: Because our media diet is becoming more saturated, all of the players in the ecosystem will have to work harder to produce better content and experiences to maintain our attention, whether that be via digital ads, social personalization algorithms, videos or articles.

Go deeper

29 mins ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.

Exclusive: Hundreds of kids held in Border Patrol stations

Migrants cross the Rio Bravo to get to El Paso, Texas. Photo: Herika Martinez/AFP via Getty Images

More than 700 children who crossed from Mexico into the United States without their parents were in Border Patrol custody as of Sunday, according to an internal Customs and Border Protection document obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The current backup is yet another sign of a brewing crisis for President Biden — and a worsening dilemma for these vulnerable children. Biden is finding it's easier to talk about preventing warehousing kids at the southern border than solving the problem.