- February 10, 2012

Putting the Digital Future in Focus – 5 Stories that Will Shape the U.S. Digital Industry in 2012

Comscore just released its 2012 U.S. Digital Future in Focus report, which is full of interesting data covering the digital industry including social media, search, online video, digital advertising, mobile and e-commerce, including an analysis of what these trends mean for the year ahead. This report is the next generation of our former Digital Year in Review report series, which primarily focused on the past year’s events, whereas we now turn more of our attention to the implications for the year ahead and help bring the future into focus for digital marketers.

For a preview of the key trends and issues discussed in the report, have a listen to what some of Comscore’s industry experts are expecting will drive the digital media narrative in the next year:


Successful digital strategies require insight into not only the current environment, but also what trends will shape the future for digital consumers. As we look to the year ahead, several key events and paradigm shifts will define the future year for digital:

Facebook IPO Raises the Profile of Social Networking and Digital Advertising

  • Facebook’s $5 billion public offering, the largest ever U.S. tech IPO, has demonstrated the true power of social media as a profitable enterprise. With a rumored valuation of as high as $100 billion, Facebook has, in eight short years, built a company worth as much as McDonald’s. But Facebook is not alone in flexing its muscle on the public markets, with 2011 seeing the successful IPOs of LinkedIn, Zynga and Groupon, while Yelp has also filed for a 2012 offering. As these companies take the public stage, it’s clear that social media has the ability to drive fast-growing and profitable businesses.

2012 Summer Olympics Illuminate the Rise of Multimedia Consumption

  • As the largest global sporting event, the Olympics in many ways represent the pinnacle of media coverage with a virtually continuous broadcast of the seventeen day event’s triumphs and tribulations. With the continued evolution of media platforms, we can expect that the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics in London will see the most expansive use of multimedia to ensure that viewers always have access to the latest events and highlights.

Social Media a Democratizing Force Ahead of U.S. Presidential Election

  • Once dismissed as a leisure-oriented activity, social networking has reached new heights of legitimacy as a force for democratization, transparency and as a shaper of global movements. As we approach the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election, social media will play a significant role in the battleground of ideas between the presidential candidates, and will be used by their campaigns to mobilize voters. Candidates who do not have well-designed and well-executed social media strategies lose the ability to effectively engage their constituents and compel them to action.

Mobile Disrupting the Traditional Retail Sales Funnel

  • Smartphones have become consumers’ most-valued shopping companion, a trend that is poised to continue in 2012 as smartphone adoption surges past 50 percent. What has been referred to by some as retailers’ worst nightmare, smartphones are bringing the power of the Internet right into brick-and-mortar stores, arming consumers with the pricing power that was once reserved for the confines of their home or work online shopping experience.

Mind the Digital Omnivore

  • Perhaps the most disruptive shift on the horizon for 2012 is the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets. These devices change the how, when and where consumers connect to digital content, creating the most dramatic shift in digital media consumption since the advent of the personal computer. Understanding today’s multi-device consumer, or what is known as the ‘Digital Omnivore,’ will be increasingly important for advertisers and publishers in 2012. Understanding how consumers behave across multiple environments is the key for businesses to stay ahead of the curve and ensure their digital businesses minimize the effects of disruption and maximize the incremental opportunities.

2012 is going to be another thrilling year for the digital media world, and we hope our report helps bring the future into focus so digital marketers can better understand the important trends, consider their implications, and determine how they can best capitalize on them in the year ahead.