It’s no surprise: We live in a multiscreen world where consumer behaviors are evolving. As an advertiser, are you evolving with them?
comScore released its 2016 cross-platform report, exploring the behavior of consumers across electronic devices and digital platforms.
Today, we’re going to look at some of the trends comScore highlights in that report, how users with multiple platforms achieve their goals and how advertising fits into all of it.
Cross-Device Usage and Trends
First, we should recognize that multi-platform use is very typical behavior across the spectrum of ages today, though a mobile-only lifestyle is also becoming more prominent. People ages 35-54 are most likely to use more than one platform, and the percentage of users over 55 who use desktop only is shrinking. Meanwhile, people aged 18-35 love mobile—20 percent don’t even use desktop anymore.
So what are people using to search on these platforms? Not surprisingly, Google, which holds on to 64 percent of the desktop search market. Bing and Yahoo each gained a small amount of the share, with 21 and 12 percent respectively.
As for where users are going online, Google sites are the top web properties, with Facebook and Yahoo coming in second and third. Further, the more popular the properties, the more likely people are visiting them through multiple devices. Many of these top properties have significantly larger mobile-only audiences than desktop-only audiences.
Google’s top position is supported by more than simply Google.com—high-ranking assets such as YouTube, Gmail and Google Maps contribute to Google claiming hundreds of millions of visitors each month across desktop and mobile.
How effective is advertising in this environment? Top online display advertisers deliver hundreds of billions of impressions annually, but within a fragmented market. Verizon, Interntainment Media and AT&T have greater shares than anyone else, and remember, Verizon recently acquired Yahoo too.
Mobile and desktop each provide a platform for advertising effectiveness, though mobile is more effective the further you go down the funnel, with ads that perform 2.5 times as well as those on desktop when it comes to purchase intent.
However, part of the problem for desktop could be related to the fact that 10 percent of desktop users in the United States are running an ad blocker, which keeps many impressions from ever reaching actual people.
Beyond that, 52 percent of desktop-served ads end up in parts of websites that are out of view or worse yet, to bots (invalid traffic), so that they aren’t viewed by humans and thus ineffective. Much of that invalid traffic is “sophisticated”–from hijacked devices, malware or misappropriated content.
Certain categories of advertisers are better than others at ensuring their ads are delivered to real audiences that can actually view the ads. At the top of the list are radio, food and sports.
Wisely, advertisers are moving their dollars to mobile. Mobile commerce (m-commerce) discretionary retail spending is growing 7x faster than that of desktop e-commerce, which is still growing but at a slowing rate.
Yet, while people are spending more time on mobile and advertisers are spending more to get their attention, the majority of retail dollars are still spent on desktop—84 percent to mobile’s 16 percent.
So what are some of comScore’s predictions for the near future? Keep watching for 2016 to be the year of cross-platform, not just in desktop and mobile but in television and digital. Cross-platform data will become more and more essential as well.
Further, as this data and measurement standards come into place, mobile ad spend can start to pay off.
Mobile advertising growth has been on a tear the past two years, which is little surprise given the shift in media consumption to smartphones and tablets. At the same time, measurement standards for mobile have lagged that of desktop, which has likely inhibited further ad spending on mobile. As those standards finally come into clearer view in 2016, advertisers will benefit from more comparable metrics and more scalable means of reaching the right consumers.
Ultimately, m-commerce may rise from creating that 16 percent of digital retail dollars up to more than 20 percent.
It’s no where near time to give up on desktop yet, and plenty of people of all ages are using multiple devices every day. Still, keep in mind that mobile is a rising behemoth of digital commerce, and is likely to eventually surpass desktop’s advertising efforts and rewards.