The digital world to come

Multi-platform users are valuable consumers.

Posted on Feb 20, 2013 by YuMe

While 2013 may be well underway, many companies are still learning from last year's accomplishment in the digital sphere and are looking for future marketing investment guidelines. In the 2013 U.S. Digital Future in Focus report, comScore examines several benchmark tech trends and events in 2012 that changed the future of consumer behavior online forever.

"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 executive vice president 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."

On-demand viewing boosts online video
The number of U.S. consumers engaging with video content on their computers and mobile devices is growing at a healthy rate. While premium video services offered by sites like Hulu and HBO Go emerged and became popular quickly, the London Olympic's millions of online viewers proved the tenacity of online streaming capabilities.

The U.S. online video market draws in 75 million viewers every day and streams nearly 40 billion videos per month, according to comScore. The majority of digital video views come from desktops.

Marketers have been quick to capitalize on the growing number of web content viewers with pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll video ads online. The percentage of videos accompanied by a commercial increased from 14 percent in 2011 to 23 percent in 2012.

Mobile adoption becomes the norm
Smartphones finally achieved 50 percent of the mobile device market in the third quarter of 2012. In addition, Android harnessed the majority of smartphone sales for the first time last year.

Tablet popularity surged as well, with roughly one in four Americans owning such a device in December, according to TechCruch. With a variety of shapes, capabilities and prices available for U.S. consumers, the trend in unlikely to falter. The comScore study found these gadgets are also beginning to play a major role in sales, as more people are using their tablets to watch videos, research products, compare prices and purchase goods.

Multi-screen viewers drive digital marketing opportunities
While some tech analysts speculate tablet popularity will dwarf certain laptop sales, comScore argues these devices are playing a huge role in the multi-platform digital landscape. More than one-quarter of smartphone owners reported owning a tablet. Publishers and advertisers alike can benefit from the growing amount of time people spend on multiple screens. By increasing their presence on each platform, companies can extend their reach significantly.

"The future revenue streams of these media companies depend on effectively delivering content and commerce to their consumers through these channels, and demonstrating why they are an important part of the marketing mix," the report states. "Failure to meet consumer expectations and aggressively prove the value of these additional channels in 2013 could spell a very rocky economic transition by the time 2014 comes around."

Social networking plays a pivotal role in the marketing mix
Facebook's IPO offering in 2012 changed the face of social media in the business world. Proving itself as a worthy platform for ad dollars, social media saw impressive gains in 2012 as LinkedIn and Twitter, like Facebook, expanded immensely. Meanwhile, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr demonstrated the importance of visual sharing, or "the rise of the visual web." 
With audiences numbering well over tens of millions of members, these social networks have moved past their developing stages and will likely start focusing on revenue, comScore explains. Social advertising is expected to mature quickly in the coming years.