What the ComScore Digital Year in Review means for small biz marketers

Well, its official. If you thought that 2010 was a big year for digital marketing, you were right. The recent release of ComScore’s Digital Year in Review provides detailed information on search and advertising. The report is quite detailed and as you consider your marketing strategies for 2011 (provided you haven’t already done so), the report is full of tidbits that can help you make decisions. Most importantly, what the report says to marketers is INTEGRATE. Use different mediums and tools to support your objectives, don’t allow your campaigns or departments or objectives be funneled into a single silo. Let the mediums talk to each other and make friends with one another. Let your customers make friends with one another too.

While the report doesn’t directly address much about social media, it does make a case for some strategic choices that may impact your social media campaigns. Let’s look at some key points that may effect your marketing choices in 2011.

Facebook & Twitter Uses Change

Users in the 55+ demographic increased their usage of Facebook and Twitter. I expect that as the economy improves and people begin to feel more secure about retirement, we’ll see these numbers increase. While this crowd is hardly the “early adopters” crowd, if you are marketing to boomers or anyone in retirement age, this data suggests that increasing your visibility on social networks is increasingly important.

Meanwhile users in the coveted 35-54 demographic decreased on both Facebook and Twitter, but only slightly and in practically statistically insignificant numbers. This will be worth keeping an eye on over 2011, but hardly suggests that there is a mass exodus in this age group. I suspect that much of this is due to the hoopla earlier in 2010 about privacy concerns. This age range is not a group used to unknowningly sharing data with marketers. This does however, suggest that if your marketing to this group, you’ll need to be more creative and more present to catch their attentions, also you’ll need to make trust a primary component in your marketing strategies on both Facebook & Twitter.

It wasn’t too long ago that the myth that “only young people are on Twitter” was debunked but now it appears as though they really are embracing Twitter, they now make up 47% of Twitter users). In fact, the 18-34 demo is increasing its usage of both Facebook and Twitter. I believe this is due to increased usage by both celebrities and job postings online. Further, the importance of personal branding is increasing for all young persons, not to mention the fact that this group is extremely open and transparent and social media’s inherent “openness” culture isn’t frightening to them.  Also, its easier and easier to see only what you want to see in Twitter, so this age group can use the tool more specifically, rather than be inundated with information not of relevance to them. As this group moves into the 35+ age group, they will likely continue to use social outlets like Facebook & Twitter, particularly since its what they “grew up with”.

Finally, and most interesting is the difference between Twitter and Facebook users in the 2-17 age range. Despite the fact that Facebook requires its users to be 13, they saw a 1.2% jump  in this age group, while Twitter saw a 8% decline. At least some of this is driven by the fact that some of Facebook’s users really are younger than 13. ComScore suggests that the reason for decline in this area is increased reliance on mobile communication such as texting and if you’ve ever seen a 15 year old send a 30-word text in less than 5 seconds, this won’t be a surprise to you.

Mobile Content

And speaking of mobile use, according to ComScore 2010 was the first year when 3G/4G penetration crossed the 50% threshold in November 2010; its no surprise then that digital content usage increased, in fact, by December 2010 nearly 47% of mobile subscribers were digitally connected (using browsers or downloading content, including apps), but the most used feature was text messaging. Marketers take note, services like TextMyFans allow you to integrate your social media with this increasing trend.

Mobile apps aren’t going away – people love their ease of use. For productivity tools in particular, people are increasingly willing to pay for apps. If you utilize the app world, be very clear on your objectives and make sure that it integrates with the rest of your long-term branding objectives. The good news for small business is that app creation is likely to get more affordable, but that also means there will be increased “noise”  in the space, think very carefully about how you will promote your app to its intended users; it still isn’t a build it and they will come environment.

If there is any area that illustrates that importance of integration, its mobile. Social media, search and apps all need integration. With the increasing bandwidth of smart phones, marketers need to be sure they are crossing over and meeting their customers at the time and location where they are.


Speaking of larger bandwidths, 20% of users used mobile to capture video. Video will continue to rise in importance. As you consider this trend, as yourself what about your company is interesting to others? Behind the scenes experiences both humanize a company and take advantage of the fact that we like to consume video and its getting easier to do. You can add Vlogging to your company’s blog when its appropriate and valuable. In 2011, I’d love to see more small businesses embrace video as a medium, because I think consumers are asking for it. Of course, the content has to be compelling and interesting…but that’s another (or every) blog post.

Resources: Download the entire ComScore Digital Year in Review here.