Report Highlights Digital Trends Entrepreneurs Need to Know About in 2015

ComScore's new white paper puts numbers behind the increasingly mobile habits of consumers.

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By Mel Carson

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Smartphone and tablet usage has exploded, but marketing plans have not necessarily changed radically to reflect this, according to a recently released white paper.

Digital media analytics company comScore's Digital Future in Focus is based on U.S. data collected from its suite of analytics tools and outlines a plethora of trends that it sees impacting how we should be thinking about connecting with consumers and helping them access services or buy products more easily.

In the four years since 2010, usage across smartphones and tablets has grown 395 percent and 1,721 percent, respectively. What's not apparent for many marketers is the way we use devices is very different compared to a static desktop computer. So any mobile experience has to be tailored to each device and any spend on advertising has to take into account the context a user might operating in.

Related: 4 Mobile Strategies That Will Help Startups Gain Market Share

For instance, making sure your site is mobile friendly is important, as is making sure you have signed up for local services on Google and Bing so people can find you if they're out and about and just have their smartphones for navigation.

If you're running a startup or an entrepreneur looking to bolster your marketing plan with some digital know-how, the comScore report also gives valuable insight into how to grow reach in the following areas:

Don't focus solely on Google.

While Google streaks ahead as the most visited site in the U.S., Yahoo!, AOL, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft sites are all seeing in excess of 150 million unique visitors each, so if your product or service might be relevant to users on those sites, it might make sense to set aside test budgets for some of their marketing platforms.

Again, take into account the mobile factor as comScore reports that 31 percent of all traffic to the top 10 websites in the U.S. came via mobile devices.

App usage is still growing.

With smartphones now accounting for 75 percent of all mobile phones in the U.S., apps are still a primary entry point for many consumers into digital experiences with brands. Mobile apps such as Lyft and Kohl's have seen usage grow 835 percent and 793 percent, respectively, in the last year, which proves killer-functionality and ease of use can pay dividends for a business able to invest in developing an app.

Related: The 4 Things You Need to Reach Customers on Facebook

Be careful of jumping on the bandwagon though and decide exactly how useful your app might be. Recently, I was encouraged to download an app to check my car insurance. But checking my insurance is something I might do twice a year and almost certainly not on a mobile device.

Social platforms differ with demographics.

While Facebook is the darling of the social media landscape with 81 percent reach of the digital population, social sites such as Instagram and Vine are predominantly used by millennials, so focus your efforts on where your target audience demographic is likely to be engaging and be ready to jump on the next big thing as soon as it starts generating buzz and invest in early adoption.

National Geographic wins most social actions (got to love those cute animal videos), while sport dominates after that.

Invest in video.

Online video is predominantly viewed on desktops, comScore says, but mobile is starting to show its hand too. We're watching over 10 videos a day on average and 9 percent of us watch video on a smartphone every day. Video isn't just a great way to get a message across, but it's also relatively easy and cost-effective to produce these days. With plenty of resources online such as Wistia's learning center, taking advantage of how your target audience wants to learn about your product or service at their desk or on the move is hugely important!

The digital landscape is changing so rapidly that entrepreneurs and marketers need to keep up with the latest information available to make agile decisions on how to stay one step of the competition. Linger too long and what you thought was a cutting edge vehicle may already be de riguer.

Related: 5 Common YouTube Advertising Mistakes

Mel Carson

Founder and Principal Strategist at Delightful Communications

Mel Carson is founder of Delightful Communications, a Seattle-based social-media-strategy, digital-PR and personal-branding consulting firm. He is co-author of Pioneers of Digital and speaks about digital marketing and communications at conferences globally. He spent seven years at Microsoft as its digital-marketing evangelist.

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