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Social networking set to be most engaging US online activity in 2012 - comScore

Social networking set to be most engaging US online activity in 2012 - comScore

Social networking set to be most engaging US online activity in 2012 - comScore

Pictured: Facebook continues to be driving force in consumer behaviour shift

Social networking accounted for 16.6pc of all online minutes in the US at the end of 2011 and is on track to pass the portals category as the most engaging online activity in 2012, according to a new report from comScore.

The 2012 US Digital Future in Focus report also reveals that Facebook continues to lead as the driving force behind this shift in consumer behaviour, accounting for the largest share of online minutes across the entire web in 2011.

“2012 promises to be an exciting year for the digital media industry as the explosion of available content and proliferation of web-enabled devices drive the evolution of the digital consumer, creating new opportunities and challenges for the entire digital ecosystem,” said Linda Abraham, comScore CMO and EVP of global product development.

“In order to be successful in this new paradigm, digital marketers must understand the key trends shaping the current marketplace and what that means for the future of their businesses.”

The report finds that while Google maintained a strong lead in the US search market, one of the most notable stories in search in 2011 was Bing’s positive growth trajectory. Bing closed out the year by passing Yahoo! for the number two position among core search engines for the first time in its history, bolstered in part by its social search partnership with Facebook implemented in early 2011.

comScore said that online video viewing experienced impressive gains across a variety of measures in 2011, signaling a behavioural shift in how Americans are consuming video content. More than 100 million Americans watched online video content on an average day at the end of 2011, a 43pc increase over the previous year.

During the year, 4.8 trillion display ad impressions were delivered across the US web as brand advertisers continued to shift their spend towards digital. comScore said this shift in ad dollars “has magnified the need for greater transparency and accountability in ad delivery across the digital advertising ecosystem”.

The company also noted that the rise of smartphones and tablets has drastically altered consumers’ digital media consumption. In 2011, the majority of all mobile phone owners consumed mobile media on their device, marking an important milestone in the evolution of mobile from primarily a communication device to also a content consumption tool. At the end of the year, more than 8pc of all digital traffic was consumed beyond the ‘classic web’ via devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Finally, comScore said 2011 was a strong year for retail e-commerce. Throughout the year, growth rates over 2010 remained in double-digits to significantly outpace growth at brick-and-mortar retail. Total US retail and travel-related e-commerce reached US$256bn in 2011, up 12pc from 2010.