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AggregateKnowledge-Media-Spend-Efficiency-Comparison-in-Q2-Aug2013During the second quarter of this year, social outperformed portals, networks, and exchanges in user quality index ”“ a measure that refers to a channel’s ability to reach a user that can be marketed to consistently ”“ according to the latest quarterly “Global Media Intelligence Report” [download page] from Aggregate Knowledge. The study, which analyzed roughly 130 billion ad events, 34 billion impressions and 72 million conversions, found that social ads performed 14% better than the industry overall in delivering such quality users. However, the gap between social and other channels appears to be steadily narrowing.

That’s because in Q1, social performed 65% above-average in this metric, while in Q4 it was 96% above-average. Exchanges appear to be on an upward trend, closing in on the normalized average, after being 69% below-average just a couple of quarters ago.

As with Q1, portals emerged as the best option for reach efficiency, which tracks the ability to reach exclusive users at the lowest cost. This past quarter, portals performed 61% better than the normalized average in this regard. Social wasn’t far behind, though, with an index value of 134. Social has lost some of its steam in this area, too: it had an index score of 284 in Q4 2012.

Interestingly, social emerged as the least cost-effective option (cost in relation to driving impressions, clicks, and conversions), with an index of 150, compared to indices of -50 for portals, networks, and exchanges. So while social ads appear to remain the best bet for reaching high-quality users as well as a good way to expand reach efficiently, their performance is slowing while getting more expensive.

This latest study provides some new data that sorts online events and conversions by device, operating system, and browser. Based on 84 billion online events, 12 billion unique users, and 321 million converting users, the researchers indicate that:

  • Windows users accounted for 78.5% of all online events seen, compared to 10.5% for Mac OS users;
  • Mac OS users have a 8.6% higher conversion rate than Windows users;
  • Mac iOS users represented almost twice as many online events as Android users (5.2% vs. 2.6% share);
  • Internet Explorer and Safari each had more unique and converting users than online events; and
  • Mobile browser and OS usage accounted for 7.8% of online events but only 7.3% of converting users.

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