2010 saw some significant changes in the way we consume digital content. Social media, video content and mobile are all changing the way marketers engage with consumers.
Leader in digital market measurement, comScore has released its latest report – 2010 Europe Digital Year in Review, which offers an overview of the digital landscape in Europe, examining trends in internet usage, social networking, online video, mobile and search.
Here are some key points from the report;
Europeans Spend More Time on Facebook than Any Other Site
Social Activities on the Rise
With many social networking sites in the top ranking for Europe, it’s no surprise that sharing constitutes the most popular behaviour on the web. Consumers are enjoying passing along photos, experiences and updates in order to stay connected. Instant messaging however has fallen out of favour with a decline of 8.3 percentage points versus a year ago. Auction sites are also proving less popular, with eBay for example losing 3.6 percentage points in 2010.
Instant Messaging Experiences Rapid Declines
Instant Messengers were once one of the most popular pastimes online but times have changed with consumers spending 39 percent less time using IM. In their place, Social Networking sites have eclipsed most other activities and are a magnet for consumers to while away their day with 34 percent more time spent social networking versus last year. Contrary to the US market, web-based email has remained a small but stable activity throughout 2010.
Email still popular among the older generation
While the younger generation (15-34 year olds) are increasingly shifting their online activity to social networking, the older population, above the age of 35, are experimenting with social networking but also embracing the comfort of traditional email.
Social Networking Grows Across All Markets in Europe
The overall growth in the reach of social networking sites in Europe reflects growth across all markets. The Russian Federation showed the greatest growth with a 21.5 percentage point increase, followed by Germany (up 16.6 points). Austria, despite having the lowest social networking penetration overall, also experienced significant growth with a 16.3 percentage point increase.
Demographic Profile of Social Networking Users in Europe
These figures are well above the worldwide average, which shows women across the globe spending 18.3 percent of their online time on social networking sites. Compared to Europe, women worldwide spent less than a fifth of their time online on social.
The profile of social networking users in Europe also reveals an audience that generally skews younger;
While the breakdown of European visitors to Facebook and Twitter mirrors that of social networking site users in general, LinkedIn has an older age profile – only 10.4 percent of its visitors are under 25 years old, while half of the site’s audience is between the ages of 35-54. This older age profile is understandable given the site’s orientation toward professional networking.
Facebook and Social Networking Penetration by Market
By the end of 2010, Facebook was the leading social networking site in 15 of the 18 European markets included in this report.
Turkey had the highest Facebook penetration in Europe at 90.4 percent, followed by the UK at 81.7 percent. Nordic countries ranked in four of the next five spots, led by Finland (81.2 percent), Norway (79.7 percent) and Sweden (78.5 percent). Italy ranked sixth at 78.1 percent, while the fourth Nordic country Denmark followed at 77.5 percent
Markets Showing Greatest Facebook Growth
Although Facebook is not currently the leading social network in the Netherlands, it experienced significant growth in 2010 in that country and in several other European markets. In addition to the Netherlands, Facebook achieved its most significant gains in;
In April 2010, Facebook eclipsed the leading social networks in Portugal (Hi5) and Germany (StudiVZ/VZ-Netzwerke) to assume the #1 position among social networking sites in both those markets. The previous year, Facebook grabbed the #1 position in Spain (from Tuenti.com) and in Austria (from Netlog.com).
Advertising on Social Networking Sites Grows
As social networking becomes a more integral part of the online user experience, the presence of display advertising on social networking sites continues to grow.
The increasing prevalence of social networking as a component of the display advertising landscape is an indication that advertisers cannot afford to overlook this channel given its potential to reach a large number of consumers with high engagement. Though advertisers have sometimes resisted advertising on social networks due to low click-rates, it is important to recognise that display ads have brand-building impact independent of driving clicks.
Display Advertising Reaches Over 97% of Users in UK, France, and Germany
In December 2010, internet users in the UK, France, and Germany received a total of 211.7 billion display advertisements
In all three countries, display ads reached over 97 percent of internet users.
Social Networking Drives Advertising Market
An analysis of the top categories serving display ads in December 2010 for the UK, France, and Germany showed Social Networking to be a key driver of display ad growth.
Use of Coupon Sites Grows in Europe
The past year has seen online coupon sites emerge as an important channel in driving consumer behaviour in Europe, generating a 5.7 point increase in penetration. This growth is the highest seen in any region in 2010, bringing the reach of coupon sites in Europe to 9.6 percent of all internet users.
Groupon Contributes to Significant Growth for Coupon Sites in Europe
Use of Coupon Sites by Market
An analysis of individual European countries shows significant variation in the penetration of coupon sites.
Following tough economic conditions across Europe over the past number of years, it’s not a surprise to see the rise of money-saving couponing activity. The viral nature of major players, such as Groupon that encourage sharing of offers via Facebook and Twitter, will contribute to their continued growth and act as a bellwether to other online brands about the importance of making content and offers sharable.
TV Sites Set for Continued Expansion in Europe
2010 was a strong year for TV web sites in Europe, with TV site penetration in the region increasing by 7.5 percentage points to 47.4 percent of all European internet users in December 2010 – second only to North America.
Viewers in Germany, the UK, and Spain Spend the Most Time Watching Online Videos
While all countries in the EU5 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK) show similar rates of penetration for the video market on the web, averaging 83.7 percent, the levels of engagement of users in these markets differ.
Shift towards Longer Content is Shaping the Future of Online Video
Perhaps the most significant trend in 2010 for the European online video market was an increase in the average length of videos viewed, indicating a shifting preference to consuming fewer, longer videos.
Online Video Viewing Dominated by Young Males
An analysis of the demographic composition of online video viewers shows younger males comprise the largest share of the audience.
Smartphone Penetration in EU5 Continues to Increase
Smartphones continue to become an increasingly important segment of the European mobile phone landscape in 2010.
Smartphone penetration in the EU5 (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy) increased by 9.5 percentage points to 31.1 percent, placing it higher than the US.
Analysis of the growth in smartphone reach in the EU5 reveals a dramatic increase in the adoption of Google and Apple smartphone operating systems.
Market Enablers Help Grow Mobile Media Use
The overall growth in the use of mobile media can be attributed to the continued increase in penetration of several key market enablers:
European Search Intensity Varies by Market
An analysis of individual search markets in Europe reveals differing levels of search intensity in these markets.
Google Continues to Lead Search in Europe
Google Sites continued to lead the search market in Europe, reaching 9 out of 10 Europeans in December 2010.
Facebook ranked second reaching 30.2 percent of the market and was the only social network in the list of top ten search properties.
2010 was undoubtedly a very exciting year for digital. We look forward to seeing what 2011 brings to the digital marketplace.
To download the full report, visit www.comscore.com.