comScore and Facebook offer free social marketing report

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comScore Inc., Reston, Va., and Facebook released the second white paper in The Power of Like series, “The Power of Like 2: How Social Marketing Works,” including original analysis demonstrating ways in which exposure to earned and paid media on Facebook drives behavioral lifts in purchase behavior. The analysis leverages data and insights from the comScore Social Essentials and comScore AdEffx products. It is available as a free download.

According to the report, brands can maximize the impact of their social marketing programs on Facebook by leveraging a framework that helps them move beyond Fan acquisition to delivering reach, impact, and measurable marketing ROI. Using the Brand Page as a control panel for creating social marketing programs, brands should focus on benchmarking and optimizing on the following dimensions to deliver against their broader marketing objectives:

  • Fan Reach – Exposure in the News Feed
  • Engagement – Fans interacting with Brand Page marketing content
  • Amplification – Viral delivery of marketing content from Fans to Friends of Fans

Most leading brands on Facebook achieve a monthly Amplification Ratio of between 0.5 and 2.0, meaning that they extend the reach of their earned media exposure of Fans to Friends of Fans by 50-200 percent. These ratios can be increased to improve brand reach by focusing on tactics to optimize Fan Reach and Engagement or by supplementing with paid advertising strategies.

 

comScore reports fourth-quarter retail e-commerce up 14 percent

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comScore Inc., Reston, Va., estimated fourth-quarter U.S. retail e-commerce sales estimates of $49.7 billion for the quarter, up 14 percent versus year ago, representing the ninth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth rates. For the entire 2011 year, U.S. retail e-commerce spending reached a record $161.5 billion, marking a 13-percent increase from 2010.

The fourth quarter of 2011 capped off what was yet another strong year for online retail, one in which every quarter achieved double-digit increases versus the prior year,” says Gian Fulgoni, chairman, comScore. “In the face of continuing uncertainty regarding the U.S. economy, consumers increasingly went online for their shopping needs. Price and convenience continue to be the critical value drivers for e-commerce, and unless those conditions change we can expect to see more channel-shifting to online in 2012 and perhaps even an acceleration in the current growth trend.”

The top-performing online product categories were: Digital Content & Subscriptions, Jewelry & Watches, Consumer Electronics, Toys & Hobbies, and Computer Software. Each category grew at least 18 percent vs. year ago.

Fifty-two percent of e-commerce transactions included free shipping, representing an all-time high. Smartphones and tablets played a growing role in online shopping, with consumers increasingly using smartphones to check prices and product features while physically in a retail store, according to comScore.

Final push propels U.S. online holiday spending to $35.3 billion

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comScore Inc., Reston, Va., reported holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 56 days of the November – December 2011 holiday season. For the holiday season-to-date, $35.3 billion has been spent online, marking a 15-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year. The most recent week (ending Dec. 25) witnessed $2.8 billion in spending, an increase of 16 percent versus the corresponding week last year.

“Holiday e-commerce spending has remained strong throughout the season, and we have now reached a record $35 billion in U.S. online sales for the season-to-date,” says Gian Fulgoni, chairman, comScore. “We can now say with certainty that the $1.25 billion spent on Cyber Monday will rank it as the heaviest online spending day of the season for the second consecutive year, but we should also note that it was accompanied by nine other billion dollar spending days this year.”

 

ComScore: Heaviest week in U.S. online shopping history

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For the 2011 holiday season-to-date, ten individual days have surpassed $1 billion in online retail sales.

comScore Inc., Reston, Va., reported holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 48 days of the November – December 2011 holiday season was nearly $32 billion, a 15-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year. The most recent week (week ending Dec. 18), led by four individual days surpassing $1 billion in sales, reached an all-time record of $6.3 billion in online retail spending, up 14 percent from the corresponding week last year. The final shopping weekend before Christmas reached $1.04 billion to rank as the second heaviest weekend of online spending on record.

“The final big week of online holiday shopping remained strong throughout, with four days surpassing $1 billion in sales and the second heaviest online shopping weekend on record,” says Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman. “With only a few more days until Christmas, the preponderance of Americans’ late season holiday shopping will shift to brick-and-mortar retail, although the procrastinators among us will still be able to take advantage of expedited shipping and buy online up to and including the day before Christmas Eve with the guarantee of having their gifts delivered in time for the holiday. In total, we will see another $5 or $6 billion in e-commerce spending over the remainder of December to finish off what has clearly been an outstanding season for online retailers.”

For the 2011 holiday season-to-date, ten individual days have surpassed $1 billion in online retail sales. Cyber Monday (Nov. 28) currently ranks as the heaviest online spending day of the season – and in history – at $1.251 billion. Monday, Dec. 5 ranks second at $1.178 billion, followed by Green Monday (Dec. 12) in third with $1.133 billion. Free Shipping Day (Friday, Dec. 16) ranks sixth at $1.072 billion.

Smartphone adoption reaches 40 percent of Canada’s mobile market

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comScore Inc., Reston, Va., released data from the comScore MobiLens service, reporting key trends in the Canada mobile phone industry for September 2011. The September report found Samsung the top handset manufacturer overall with 25.2 percent market share, while RIM led among smartphone platforms with 35.8 percent share of that market segment.

OEM Market Share

In September, 20.1 million Canadians ages 13 and older used mobile devices. Device manufacturer Samsung ranked as the top OEM with 25.2 percent of mobile subscribers in Canada, followed by LG with 20.0 percent share and RIM with 14.3 percent share. Apple ranked fourth with 12.0 percent share of subscribers, while Nokia rounded out the top five at 10.1 percent.

Top Mobile OEMs

September 2011

Total Canada Mobile Subscribers (Smartphone & Non-Smartphone) Ages 13+

Source: comScore MobiLens

Share (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0%
Samsung 25.2%
LG 20.0%
RIM 14.3%
Apple 12.0%
Nokia 10.1%

Eight million people in Canada owned smartphones in September 2011, representing 40 percent of the mobile market in Canada, a gain of 7 percentage points in the past six months. RIM ranked as the top platform with 35.8 percent of the smartphone market, followed by Apple at 30.1 percent. Google Android gained ground among the competition by doubling its market share to 25.0 over the past six months. Symbian ranked fourth with 4.2 percent share, followed by Microsoft with 3.2 percent.

 Top Smartphone Platforms

September 2011

Total Canada Smartphone Subscribers Ages 13+

Source: comScore MobiLens

Share (%) of Smartphone Subscribers
Total Smartphone Subscribers 100.0%
RIM 35.8%
Apple 30.1%
Google 25.0%
Symbian 4.2%
Microsoft 3.2%

Canadians use their mobile devices to access a wide variety of content. In September, 67.4 percent of the total Canada mobile audience used text messaging on their mobile device, compared to 88.1 percent of the Smartphone audience. Downloaded applications were used by 40.9 percent of the total mobile audience, compared to 84.2 percent of smartphone subscribers. Mobile browsers were another popular way of accessing mobile content, used by 36.9 percent of the total audience and 74.8 percent of the smartphone audience. 39.5 percent of the total audience and 79.3 percent of the smartphone audience used their phones to stay up-to-date on the latest news. Other popular mobile behaviors included accessing maps (44.4 percent of smartphone subscribers), accessing bank accounts (28.8 percent of smartphone subscribers) and scanning QR codes (18.1 percent of smartphone subscribers).

The report ranked the leading mobile original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and smartphone operating system (OS) platforms in Canada according to their share of current mobile subscribers ages 13 and older, and reviewed the most popular activities and content accessed via the subscriber’s primary mobile phone.

Cyber Monday spending hits $1.25 billion

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ComScore Inc., Reston, Va., reported holiday season U.S. retail e-commerce spending for the first 28 days of the November – December 2011 holiday season. For the holiday season-to-date, $15 billion was spent online, marking a 15-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year. Cyber Monday reached $1.25 billion in online spending, up 22 percent versus year ago, representing the heaviest online spending day in history and the second day on record to surpass the billion-dollar threshold.

“Cyber Monday was yet another historic day for e-commerce, with online spending reaching a record $1.25 billion,” says Gian Fulgoni, chairman, ComScore. “It was just the second billion-dollar spending day on record, following on the heels of Cyber Monday 2010. While last year saw Cyber Monday rank as the heaviest online spending day of the year for the first time ever, it will be interesting to watch the next couple of weeks to see if any future individual days in 2011 manage to leapfrog this year’s highest day-to-date.”

Breakdown of Cyber Monday Spending Growth
Cyber Monday 2011 vs. Cyber Monday 2010
Total U.S. – Home & Work Locations
Source: comScore, Inc.
Cyber Monday 2010 Cyber Monday 2011 Percent Change
Dollar Sales ($ Millions) $1,028 $1,251 22%
Buyers (Millions) 9.0 10.0 11%
Dollars per Buyer $114.24 $124.82 9%
Dollars per Transaction $60.05 $66.97 12%
Transactions (Millions) 17.1 18.7 9%
Transactions per Buyer 1.90 1.86 -2%

Cyber Monday’s 22-percent growth in sales versus year ago was driven by an increase in both the number of buyers (up 11 percent) and the average spending per buyer (up 9 percent). Overall, 10 million people bought online on Cyber Monday, representing the first time on record that threshold has been reached in a single day. The average online buyer conducted 1.9 online transactions on Cyber Monday for a total of nearly $125 in spending.

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2011 Cyber Monday spending tops $1.25 billion

European consumers becoming avid users of mobile retail

comScore Inc. released data from the comScore MobiLens service showing that 13.5 million users across the five leading European markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom — the “EU5″), accounting for 5.8 percent of all mobile subscribers, accessed online retail sites in the three month average period ending May 2011. In the EU5 region, the number of smartphone users accessing online retail sites has increased by 80 percent over the past year. This growth is even stronger in the United Kingdom, with a 163 percent increase in smartphone users accessing retail sites since May 2010.

“Over the past year, online retailers enjoyed strong growth in visitation from mobile devices in Europe, largely driven by the acceleration in smartphone ownership,” said Jeremy Copp, comScore Europe vice president for mobile. “This trend represents both an opportunity and a threat for retailers. While mobile access offers retailers incremental occasions to engage with customers, it also provides customers the ability to easily compare prices at competing retailers while inside a particular retailer’s store. Retailers must get a firm handle on mobile shopping behavior if they are to effectively navigate this changing environment.”

In addition to accessing online retail sites, mobile consumers also accessed auction sites and shopping guides on their mobile devices. Over the three month average period ending May 2011, 6.3 percent of all EU5 mobile users reported having accessed an online auction site and 5.1 percent also reported having accessed online shopping guides.

Across the EU5 markets, the United Kingdom had the highest penetration for the three mobile retail categories. Approximately one in ten mobile users in the United Kingdom (10.5 percent) reported having accessed auction sites. A similar percentage (9.2 percent) accessed online retail sites and 5.7 percent accessed shopping guides. The number of mobile users accessing online retail sites grew by 118 percent over the previous year, a rate that is even more pronounced among smartphone users (up 163 percent). The United Kingdom also displayed the most growth for users accessing auction sites (up 95 percent) and users accessing shopping guides (up 71 percent).

Second only to the United Kingdom, the German mobile market also displayed significant increases in users accessing auction sites (up 44 percent), users accessing online retail sites (up 45 percent) and users accessing shopping guides (up 42 percent). The growth in mobile retail activity in Germany is similarly more pronounced among the subset of smartphone users, as the number of users reporting having accessed auction sites, online retail sites or shopping guides approximately doubled in each of those categories. Such growth coincides with strong gains in smartphone ownership, which grew 63 percent in Germany and 56 percent in the UK over the past year.

U.S. retail e-commerce spending up 14 percent vs. last year

comScore Inc., Reston Va., says online retail spending reached $37.5 billion for the quarter, up 14 percent versus year ago. This growth rate represented the seventh consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and third consecutive quarter of double-digit growth rates.

“The second quarter of 2011 saw a continuation of this year’s solid double-digit growth trends in online spending, well ahead of the rate of growth in consumers’ overall spending,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “As a result, it’s clear that consumers are continuing to shift to the online channel, with almost $1 in every $10 of discretionary spending now occurring online. E-commerce’s benefits of convenience and lower prices continue to be the drivers of the shift. At the same time, we are constantly reminded of an overall macroeconomic situation that is not indicative of a strong recovery. With economic growth remaining soft, the unemployment rate stubbornly high and financial markets in turmoil, consumers are less optimistic today than they have been in preceding quarters, which raises concerns for the future. We believe the third quarter will be an important indicator of which direction this economy is really headed and what that will mean for consumer spending.”

The top-performing online product categories were: consumer electronics, computer hardware, and computer software. Each category grew at least 15 percent vs. year ago.

The top 25 online retailers accounted for 66.4 percent of dollars spent online, down from 67.7 percent a year ago and down from a peak of 69.9 percent in Q3 2010, as small and mid-sized retailers continue to regain lost market share. The 14-percent growth in the quarter was primarily a function of an increase in the number of buyers (up 16 percent), with 70 percent of all Internet users making at least one online purchase in the quarter.

comScore releases “The 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review” report

comScore Inc., Reston, Va., released The comScore 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review. This annual report recaps key trends in the U.S. digital media landscape, including e-commerce, social networking, online video, search, online advertising and mobile, with an emphasis on how digital marketers can capitalize on these trends in 2011.

“2010 was a very positive year for the digital media industry, highlighted by a strong rebound in e-commerce spending , significant innovation and increased demand for online advertising, and an explosion in digital content consumption across multiple platforms,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “As we embark on a promising 2011, marketers must have a sound understanding of the digital media landscape and how it is changing if they hope to capitalize on key trends that can drive their business into the future.”

As the economic environment showed signs of improvement in 2010, the digital media industry responded with significant growth across various media platforms. Industry innovations brought an unprecedented number of options to consumers as digital media continued to weave itself even tighter into the fabric of Americans’ daily lives.

Key findings highlighted in the report include:

  • Following 2 years of depressed consumer discretionary spending, the economy showed signs of improvement, leading to positive growth for the e-commerce market. Total U.S. e-commerce spending reached $227.6 billion in 2010, up 9 percent versus the previous year. Travel e-commerce spending grew 6 percent to $85.2 billion, while retail (non-travel) e-commerce spending jumped 10 percent to $142.5 billion for the year.
  • Social networking continued to gain momentum throughout 2010, with 9 out of every 10 U.S. Internet users now visiting a social networking site in a month, and the average Internet user spending more than 4 hours on these sites each month. Nearly 1 out of every 8 minutes online is spent on Facebook.
  • The U.S. core search market grew 12 percent overall in 2010, driven by a 4-percent increase in unique searchers and an 8-percent increase in the number of search queries per searcher.
  • U.S. Internet users received a total of 4.9 trillion display ads in 2010 with display ad impressions growing 23 percent in December 2010 versus December 2009. Social networking sites, which now account for more than one-third of all display ad impressions, were a significant driver of growth in the display ad market in 2010.
  • In December 2010, the average American spent more than 14 hours watching online video, a 12-percent increase from the prior year, and streamed a record 201 videos, an 8-percent increase.
  • Major milestones in mobile were crossed during the year as smartphones reached 1 in 4 mobile subscribers and 3G penetration crossed the 50 percent threshold. Approximately 47 percent of mobile subscribers are now connected Internet media users (via browsers, applications or downloaded content), up 8 percentage points from the previous year.

Web-based email declines; mobile email on the rise

comScore Inc., Reston, Va., released results from a study on U.S. consumers’ evolving email behaviors using data from its comScore Media Metrix and MobiLens services. The study found that in November 2010, the number of visitors to web-based email sites declined 6 percent compared to the previous year, while email engagement declined at an even greater rate. During the same time period, the number of users accessing email via their mobile devices grew by 36 percent as an increasingly complex digital environment influenced consumers’ communication habits.

“Digital communication has evolved rapidly in the last few years with an ever-increasing number of ways for Internet users to communicate with one another,” said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile. “From PCs to mobile devices, whether its email, social media, IM or texting, consumers have many ways to communicate and can do so at any time and in any place. The decline in web-based email is a byproduct of these shifting dynamics and the increasing availability of on-demand communication options.”

An analysis of web-based email trends revealed that fewer Americans visited web-based email destinations and spent less time doing so versus last year. In November 2010, more than 153 million people visited web-based email providers, decreasing 6 percent from the previous year. In terms of engagement, overall time spent in the email category declined 9 percent, while total pages viewed dropped 15 percent. Despite such declines, however, it should be noted that email remains one of the most popular activities on the web, reaching more than 70 percent of the U.S online population each month. (Web-based email does not include email applications such as Outlook, etc.)

Demographic characteristics revealed that young users, those between the ages of 12-17, showed the sharpest decline in usage during the past year. The number of visitors from this age segment declined 24 percent, while engagement fell by half as total minutes decreased 48 percent and total pages dropped 53 percent. Engagement also declined among users 18-54, as a general shift in email behavior was evident across most segments. In contrast, usage increased among those 55 and over. The number of 55-64 year olds accessing web-based email increased 15 percent with similar gains in engagement, while those age 65+ experienced gains across all three metrics as well.

When looking at email usage among males and females, males displayed a more dramatic decline in usage than females, with total email minutes falling 12 percent for males compared to 7 percent among females.

While web-based email has witnessed a decline over the past year, email usage via mobile devices has experienced significant growth, driven largely by increased smartphone adoption. In November 2010, 70.1 million mobile users (30 percent of all mobile subscribers) accessed email on their mobile, an increase of 36 percent from the previous year. Daily usage of email showed an even greater increase growing 40 percent as 43.5 million users turned to their mobile devices on a nearly daily basis for their email communication needs.

Accessing mobile email increased by double-digits across all age segments. Younger age groups showed a higher probability of accessing email from their mobile devices compared to older segments. Persons age 25-34 were 60 percent more likely to access email than an average mobile user, with those between the ages of 18-24 being 46 percent more likely to do so, representing the two age segments with the highest propensity. Overall, males were 14 percent more likely to be users of mobile email.

“What we have seen in the smartphone era is the rapid acceleration of data consumption, which has helped drive mobile usage across multiple categories including email. In a relatively short period of time, adoption of mobile email has reached 78 percent of the smartphone population, which is very similar to the penetration of web-based email among Internet users. These findings demonstrate just how quickly channel shifts can occur and why it’s now essential for media brands to have a strong presence in both arenas,” Donovan continued.