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comScore’s 2014 Digital Future in Focus Report: Native, Mobile, & Multi-Platform

At 7,105 words and 41 pages, comScore’s 2014 US Digital Future in Focus report is a hefty read. Luckily, it’s also chock full of interesting data and takeaways for marketers interested in multi-platform, digital media, mobile, social monetization, online video, ad performance, search engine and eCommerce trends (that should be all of us, right?). If you don’t have the time to read the whole thing, here’s a snapshot of what mobile disruption means for digital advertisers and where you should be focusing your attention.

1. Most Disruptive Shift: Multi-Platform

In February 2013, the balance between multi-platform (people using desktop + mobile devices) and desktop-only users was almost an even split. By April 2013, the number of people who use both mobile and desktop devices became greater than the number of people who solely use desktops. By the end of the year, the majority percentage had shifted further to 56% in favor of multi-platform. This chart signifies a fast-growing trend of blurred device lines that marketers need to take into account when targeting their ad campaigns and putting together creative.

Fun Fact: Google rival Bing has taken a more human approach to search by pulling related social content from Facebook and Twitter into the sidebar of the results page.

comScore multi-platform majority

2. The Race to Conquer the Mobile Market is On

The US boasted 156 million smartphone owners in December 2013, a 24% increase over the past year.  For marketers — especially app advertisers — targeting specific operating systems, the outcome of the race between Android and iOS to claim the platform market majority is of particular interest. While Android has 51%, Apple’s 42% is considerable — and gaining fast.

Native advertising is allowing social networks to court ad dollars by making mobile campaigns seamless. Facebook’s Mobile App Install Ads, Twitter’s Promoted Tweets and Linkedin’s Sponsored Update ad units have demonstrated the effectiveness of in-stream content delivery. Given the rise of multi-platform users, the ability to reach desktop and mobile users with ads that adapt to each environment is a huge advantage.

Fun Fact: According to comScore, mobile ads are best for brands seeking to drive purchase intent (28%) and boost user likelihood to recommend (22%).

3. Facebook Leads Social Media Networks; Mobile-First on the Rise

In other mobile news, Facebook continued to dominate the social network competition, claiming 75% percent of the total digital media population in December 2013 and bringing in 53% of its ad revenue through mobile advertising. According to comScore’s data about time share spent on social networks, the split between mobile and desktop users is the most balanced on Facebook and Tumblr, with LinkedIn trailing third.

Fun Fact: In 2013, app usage accounted for 85% of Internet time spent on smartphones

comScore U.S. Share of Time Spent on Social Networks Between Platforms

4. Online Retail Spending Slow to Incorporate Mobile Platform

Digital commerce is one arena where desktop spend still dominated in 2013 (at a whopping 89.5%). Online retail spending may have been slow to embrace mobile due to consumer concerns about credit card data and reduced screen size affecting the ease of purchases. However, the continuing popularity of smartphones (7% of spend) is accelerating mobile commerce. While tablets are lagging at 4%, spend is higher on a per user basis, which may boost the device’s importance in the eyes of eCommerce marketers.

Fun Fact: Cyber Monday (Dec. 2) remained the heaviest spending day of the season, with desktop eCommerce spending at a record $1.75 billion

comScore U.S. Quarterly Online Retail Spending by Platform

Want more insights on the digital advertising big picture? Download comScore’s full 2014 US Digital Future in Focus report.

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