comScore released the 2013 Digital Future in Focus report. This annual report examines how the prevailing trends in social media, search, online video, digital advertising, mobile and e-commerce are defining the current digital marketplace and what these trends mean for the year ahead.
“2013 is poised to be digital’s most exciting year yet as the growing ubiquity of digital platforms presents marketers with nearly endless opportunities to connect and engage with consumers,” said Linda Abraham, comScore CMO and EVP of Global Product Development. “It’s clear that the dynamics of the marketplace have fundamentally evolved through the adoption of smartphones and tablets and the increasingly ‘digital’ nature of all media. Navigating this changing landscape requires a holistic understanding of the key trends, underlying drivers and new opportunities that the digital ecosystem will bring in the year ahead.”
Key insights from the 2013 U.S. Digital Future in Focus include:
Social Media Market Matures as Focus Turns Toward Building Business Models and Financial Success
Americans’ usage of Social Networking sites continued to be dominated by Facebook, which accounted for 5 out of every 6 minutes spent online on these sites. Facebook’s 2012 IPO signaled a maturation of the social media market with a renewed focus on building strong business models and monetization streams. Several other social media players also made waves in the public markets this year, including LinkedIn, Yelp, Zynga and Groupon. Several other notable social media players like Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram (now part of Facebook) have all posted strong user growth as they begin to ramp up their revenue engines.
Google Leads While Bing Grows Share in Search Market
Google continued its strong lead in the U.S. search market, while Bing managed to gain ground as the #2 search engine in 2012. The desktop-based U.S. core search market saw its first signs of flattening as an increasing number of searches shift to vertical-specific searches and mobile platforms.
Online Video Brings TV Dollars to Digital as Consumers Become More Platform Agnostic
The U.S. online video market also shows signs of maturing from a consumption standpoint, but monetization is picking up steam as YouTube ramps up advertising efforts while traditional media players find success with TV commercial content. Because the demand for high-impact video advertising exceeds the available inventory, look for continued momentum on the advertising side – particularly as targeting improves.
Digital Advertising Improves Accountability in Quest for Print and TV Ad Dollars
Nearly 6 trillion display ad impressions were delivered across the web in 2012 as brand marketers have become increasingly comfortable with a medium capable of delivering strong marketing ROI. Despite delivering so many impressions, comScore research showed that an average of 3 in 10 ads are never rendered in-view, leading to significant waste, weaker campaign performance and a glut of poor-performing inventory that imbalances the supply-and-demand equation and depresses CPMs. Through the continued adoption of a viewable impressions standard, the market is beginning to embrace a digital scarcity model that better aligns monetization with the value created by the inventory.
Smartphone and Tablets Carve Out Space in Multi-Platform Digital Media Landscape
Smartphones continued to drive the mobile landscape in 2012, finally reaching 50-percent market penetration in 2012. The Android platform also hit a 50-percent milestone as it captured the majority of the smartphone market for the first time. Meanwhile, tablets continued to gain traction, with 52.4 million U.S. tablet owners as of December 2012. The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets, and consumers’ increasing use thereof, has resulted in a fragmented digital media landscape where the typical consumer now shares his time across multiple screens.
E-Commerce Gains at Expense of Brick-And-Mortar While Consumers Experiment with M-Commerce
Despite the backdrop of continued economic uncertainty, 2012 was a strong year for retail e-commerce. Throughout the year, growth rates versus the prior year remained in the mid-teens to outpace growth at brick-and-mortar retail by a factor of approximately 4x. Total U.S. retail and travel-related e-commerce reached $289 billion in 2012, up 13 percent from the previous year. While e-commerce continues to gain share from traditional retail, the first signs of mobile commerce affecting the digital commerce landscape are starting to emerge. In Q4 2012, comScore estimates that m-commerce transactions (from both smartphones and tablets) now represent approximately 11 percent of corresponding e-commerce spending.