The U.S. online video audience cracked 100 million in December, 43 percent higher than one year ago. The number of video streams grew as fast, rising 44 percent to 43.5 billion in December. YouTube commands half of this burgeoning market, and many of its content channels displayed significant user loyalty. That bodes well for its big investment in premium channels. Meanwhile, the volume of in-stream video ads grew 20 percent to 7.1 billion in December 2011.
Many familiar brands graced comScore’s roll call of biggest online advertisers. AT&T continued to hold the top spot, delivering 105.8 billion impressions last year. Verizon was also huge, as were brokerage Scottrade and its parent Experian Interactive. New on the list was Google, which delivered in excess of 40.4 billion display impressions for its own products, including Chrome, Offers, and Google+. The year also saw more brands deliver a billion or more impressions. ComScore says 145 did so in Q4, a rise of 38 percent compared with the year-ago period. The number of advertisers delivering 3 billion or more impressions also grew – from 26 to 46.
Bing finally surpassed Yahoo’s search market share, claiming the no. 2 spot among search engines. Its market share is now about 15 percent, and it powers about the same percentage for Yahoo.
The year saw a big, and by now well documented, bump in e-commerce spending. U.S. travel and retail online spending rose 12 percent to $256 billion. In the fourth quarter alone, retail e-commerce spending reached $50 billion.
As social gained popularity, other categories lost. Instant messaging fell 40 percent year over year; online personals dropped 40 percent; and job search sites declined 21 percent, says comScore. Web-based email also suffered notable declines among certain age groups. Its use was down 31 percent among teens age 12 to 17, and down 34 percent among 18- to 24-year-olds.