Twenty five years have passed since March 1989, when Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a Fellow at CERN, ideated and invented the World Wide Web. And, a lot has changed since then, especially with brands realising the power of the medium to connect to the people.
The report, in its introduction, highlights that by some means of access or another it is estimated that one third of the world's population is online and talks about how various social media platforms have been utilised by various global brands to reach the online population.
"Advertising as we understood it in 1989, and for at least another decade, was a function of the broadcast age. From the mid-1950s and the mass penetration of television and peaks in print circulation to the middle of the last decade when broadband became pervasive, first to the PC and now to mobile devices, advertisers had a reliable supply of large and mostly attentive audiences," the report adds.
The report adds that Google is the 800-pound gorilla and YouTube has become the uber-network of video networks and the wireframe on which more and more of the world's video content hangs. With 25 per cent of all views on mobile devices (by Google's definition, that excludes tablets), YouTube sits alongside Facebook, Twitter and Goggle Search as one of the dominant applications of mobile consumption.
YouTube allows brands to distribute content at no cost by forming their own channels. Among these global brands, the report highlighted 10 top brand channels in terms of views they get. It's important to note that the majority of these views were paid and not organic, which means all these brands paid YouTube to highlight their videos. The top brands' channels on YouTube, as mentioned in the report, are BlackBerry, Converse Shoes, Google, Coca-Cola, Old Spice, GoPro, Samsung, Nike, Volkswagen and Redbull.
Moving on to Facebook, the report stated that if 2013 was the year of mobile advertising, then Facebook and Twitter made it so. "Of its 700 million daily users, 500 million use the platform via a mobile device. In the US, the average Facebook user accesses the platform for 1,000 minutes per month, compared to 400 minutes on the desktop.
"What is in no doubt is that brands have embraced Facebook and have built significant fan populations. The global top 20 (September 2013) are interesting if unremarkable. It shows brands that are committed to content, customer service or commerce to varying degrees and if there is an outlier in this list it is Dove, which lacks obvious commerce or service credentials but has invested in content and in a strong brand position that has clearly stretched into social media. Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Starbucks and Monster Energy ensure that the Facebook population remains well caffeinated," the report adds.
Speaking about Twitter, the report mentions that Twitter will never achieve the level of penetration of Facebook.
As with Facebook, albeit smaller, Twitter has become a publishing platform for brands. The top 15 on September, 2013 had more surprises than Facebook. All the leading brands blend service and content delivery to cement their dialog with customers. It is expected that Twitter may become more campaign-driven over time, with the focus being on short-term specific reach goals as opposed to riding the two horses of reach and developing communities as annuities at which Facebook is so proficient.
"The platforms are so often referenced in the same sentence yet they have little in common other than as examples of the network effect as a catalyst of growth. Twitter is a cultural phenomenon and has become a crucible of breaking news and its promulgation. In aggregate 70 million people follow CNN, the New York Times, the BBC, Time and ESPN," it adds.
The report reveals how many media companies have embraced Twitter as a tool to extend the reach of their programming and deepen their advertiser relationship by re-distributing content on it. Top brands on Twitter are Samsung, Starbucks, Whole Foods, BlackBerry, Disney, Zappos and Chanel.
The report also highlights the benefits that professional networking site LinkedIn also provides to HR managers globally. "One third of the world's professionals, 95 per cent of Americans and 40 per cent Europeans use LinkedIn. With a quarter of a billion individual profiles, as well as 300,000 corporate profiles, the report mentions that 79 per cent of all LinkedIn members follow one or more corporations. LinkedIn has become a highly significant destination for 'content marketing'," it adds.
The most-followed companies ranking on LinkedIn is dominated by the tech sector with Google, IBM, HP, Microsoft, Apple, Accenture, Deloitte, Oracle, Unilever, Shell, Ernst & Young, P&G, Dell and Cisco forming the top 14 list.
The report aims to give readers a real understanding of what's happening in the world of online, and how they as marketers can get prepared to efficiently use the evolving ecosystem. Besides, it also highlights the technology companies that need to be watched out for in 2014. The list includes Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, Amazon and Electronic Arts, among the few.
"Without question there is a new generation of content-driven media companies including Machinima, Maker Studios, Full Screen, Vice, Awesomeness.com, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, Netflix and even Electronic Arts that combine creation and aggregation with alternative distribution channels that look and behave very differently from their forebears. Many are attracting remarkable private and public valuations and it would be no surprise if consolidation puts some of these businesses at the heart of 'old media' in the coming years," the report adds.