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Digital Omnivores Feast on the New Media Landscape

comScore released the results of a new market study that analyzes how cross-platform consumption has created a vastly different landscape -- as people utilize a growing number of devices to consume digital content. They analyzed the impact that these shifting consumption habits are having on media site visitation and engagement across the Internet.

“The popularization of smartphones and the introduction of tablets and other web-enabled devices have contributed to an explosion in digital media consumption. As these devices gain adoption, we have also seen the rise of the ‘digital omnivores’ -- consumers who access content through several touch-points during the course of their daily digital lives.” said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile.

In order to meet the needs of these hyper-active digital media consumers, advertisers and publishers must learn to navigate this new landscape so they develop cross-platform strategies to effectively engage their audiences.

Key findings highlighted in the comScore report include:
  • Mobile phones drive digital traffic around the world, while tablets are gaining steam. The share of non-computer traffic for the U.S. stood at 6.8 percent in August 2011, with approximately two-thirds of that traffic coming from mobile phones, and tablets accounting for much of the remainder.
  • Increased WiFi availability and mobile broadband adoption in the U.S. are helping drive connectivity. In August 2011, more than one third (37.2 percent) of U.S. digital traffic coming from mobile phones occurred via a WiFi connection. This percentage grew nearly 3 points in just the past three months. On the other hand, tablets, which traditionally required a WiFi connection to access the Internet, are increasingly driving traffic using mobile broadband access. In August, nearly 10 percent of traffic from tablets occurred via a mobile network connection.
  • Today, half of the total U.S. mobile population uses mobile media. The mobile media user population (those who browse the mobile web, access applications, or download content) grew 19 percent in the past year to more than 116 million people at the end of August 2011.
  • iPads dominate among tablets in driving digital traffic. In August 2011, iPads delivered 97.2 percent of all tablet traffic in the U.S. iPads have also begun to account for a higher share of Internet traffic than iPhones (46.8 percent vs. 42.6 percent of all iOS device traffic).
  • In the U.S., tablet users display the characteristics of early technology adopters: young males in upper income brackets. In August, 54.7 percent of all tablet owners were male and nearly 30 percent were age 25-34. Nearly half (45.9 percent) of tablet owners belonged to households earning $100K and more.
  • Nearly half of tablet owners made or completed a purchase on their tablet. Tablet owners exhibited significant use of their devices throughout the entire online shopping process – from doing the initial planning, conducting product and store research, making price comparisons, to finally transacting.
  • In the past month, more than half of tablet owners looked up product or price information for a specific store (56 percent) and read customer ratings and reviews while on a tablet (54 percent).
  • Nearly 3 out of 5 tablet owners consume news on their tablets. 58 percent of tablet owners consumed world, national or local news on their devices, with 1 in 4 consuming this content on a near-daily basis on their tablets.
  • Tablets facilitate real-time social networking. Nearly 3 in 5 tablet owners updated their social networking status or commented on others’ status on their device during September, while slightly less than half shared their location using a location-sharing site.
  • The incremental reach through mobile and connected devices should not be underestimated. In the case of a publisher such as Pandora, the incremental reach of additional channels, such as connected devices, is significant. In August 2011, the additional mobile and connected device audience for Pandora accounted for more than half of their total cross-platform audience. 

Although the Android platform accounts for the highest share of the smartphone market (43.7 percent in August), its total audience among mobile and connected devices in current use is eclipsed by the Apple iOS audience.

The iOS platform had the highest share of connected devices and smartphones in use at 43.1 percent, fueled by the iPad’s dominance in the tablet market, while Android accounted for 34.1 percent of the total mobile and connected device universe.

The iOS platform also accounts for the largest share of Internet traffic, measured in terms of browser-based page views, in the U.S. at present. When measuring market share of Internet traffic by platform, iOS accounted for more than half (58.5 percent) of the share of total non-computer traffic in the U.S. market.

Android OS ranked second, delivering 31.9 percent of overall non-computer traffic in August. With iOS having a significantly higher share of traffic (58.5 percent) compared to its share of devices (43.1 percent), it suggests that iOS users are heavier-than-average consumers of Internet content -- they're the digital omnivores. Their appetite is voracious.

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