Recently, comScore released its 2017 Cross-Platform Future in Focus report. Today we’ll take a look at the report to learn where your audience is spending their time, and what advertising opportunities might await you there.
Different Devices and Generations, the Same Search Engines and Sites
From search engines to sites, from devices to apps, users of all generations spend their time in specific places online. Let’s break that down a bit further.
Mobile Devices Dominate
Smartphone use has doubled in the last three years. In fact, it’s the main driver behind the overall growth in time spent with digital media. As of December 2016, people in the United States spend 878,654 minutes on their smartphones, while desktop and tablets are both losing time.
In March 2016, mobile media usage passed 1 trillion minutes per month, which is almost double the minutes spent on desktop at its peak. By the end of 2016, average users spent just under three hours a day on mobile devices.
Digital media audiences are growing overall as well on the top properties. In step with other trends so far, this growth is also driven by mobile, which has an audience twice the size of desktop’s audience with an average of 16.8 million visitors per month.
All that time on mobile is spent primarily with Facebook and Google-owned apps. These two behemoths own all of the top eight mobile apps, and 10 of the top 20 mobile apps. The top apps not owned by Google or Facebook are Snapchat, Pandora and Amazon.
Looking to give your mobile app a boost? Check out how Facebook can help you get apps installed on more devices.
For branding, ads can be effective on both mobile and desktop, but mobile does better overall. When it comes to purchase intent, mobile performs three times better than desktop.
Advertisers should keep in mind that mobile alters how users view search ads, and optimize ad content for mobile platforms.
Millennials, Smartphones and Social
Just about every Millennial has a smartphone – the penetration rate is over 90 percent. Saturation is above 80 percent for those 35 to 54, but those 55 and over have room for growth at approximately 60 percent. Smartphone market growth among Millennials has been pretty flat since 2015, and isn’t expected to change much.
Millennials make regular use of social networks, and tend to have accounts on a relatively diverse set of sites, although most of their time and engagement goes to Facebook. Snapchat and Instagram are the next highest ranking social platforms.
Along with Gen Xers, Millennials spend more time with digital media than watching live television. However, younger users are more likely to watch TV with video-on-demand and other services.
Millennials are very willing to try out new concepts in technology. Remember the augmented reality of Pokémon Go? Through the end of 2016, 60 percent of the game’s users were Millennials.
When advertising for Millennials, it takes more than simply being in the mobile and social spaces. Their attitude toward digital ads is actually rather positive, though they have definite expectations. Millennials want advertisements to be:
- Authentic and not pushy
- Seamless between mobile and in-store
- Efficient and not demanding of too much information
Also keep in mind that another generation is right on the Millennials’ heels: Generation Z already has members in their teens and very early 20s and doesn’t remember a world without digital advertising. They can rapidly pinpoint relevancy on mobile devices, and like brands that reflect their interests and values.
The Power of Social Media
Of all the things people can do on the internet, social media and video viewing are the most popular. Together, they account for 34 percent of time spent online. Add in music and games and you’ve got more than half of U.S. online time.
Advertisers can take advantage of these trends by investing in video advertisements on Facebook.
Facebook users may be the most equally distributed among the age groups, but Snapchat, Instagram and Tumblr users skew toward those in the 18 to 34 bracket. Snapchat especially has gained popularity among Millennials and Gen Z, breaking into the top 10 mobile apps by the end of 2016.
Popular Search Engines and Sites
Among search engines, Google still dominates by a long shot (64 percent). However, Bing did manage to grow its desktop search market by 1.4 percent.
As for properties, the most popular are Google, Facebook and Yahoo sites. They are also the only properties that receive more than 200 million visitors.
Still, 21 digital properties had 100 million visitors or more, including sites like Amazon, LinkedIn, Twitter and NBC.
Be aware that, even if you’re advertising on these popular properties, your ads might not be seen. Almost half of ads aren’t due to the fact that they’re not viewable (on parts of web pages that can’t be seen), not delivered to a human (but instead, to bots) or are viewed by some kind of invalid traffic (IVT).
Most IVT is sophisticated (89 percent), and originates from hijacked devices, malware or misappropriated content. Combating this kind of waste requires advanced detection methods. Fortunately, Google and Bing both take serious steps toward fighting these bad actors.
Desktop display and video ads purchased directly (rather than being programmatic) have a lower rate of IVT.
Although IVT rates are holding steady for display ads, they’re growing for video ads with high costs per 1,000 impressions.
Key Takeaways for Digital Advertisers in 2017
What does this all mean for advertisers? We’ve got three main takeaways:
- The mobile market is nearly saturated, and economics must catch up with behavior for improved measurement, standards and campaign management.
- Access to numerous devices means that cross-platform engagement is the norm. To keep up, advertisers must be media-agnostic in terms of consumers and metrics.
- Advertisers can be more efficient by sticking to the basic metrics of reach, impressions and demographics. At the same time, their methods for measuring are (and should be) more advanced.
As always, knowing where your consumers are, and improving their overall experience, is essential. Keep paying attention to the various digital platforms for a successful 2017!