trends

Insights from Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report 2016

Venture captrenditalist Mary Meeker’s annual presentation on the State of the Internet always gets my attention (and many other’s as well) as it outlines where digital trends and with it marketing are headed to in the next few years.

At 213 pages it is a lot to digest and here are my main takeaways;

  • Internet growth is slowing down. The adoption rate was flay YoY at 9%. At the moment it is reaching about 42% of the world’s population.
  • The smartphone is hitting the saturation point. There are 7.4 billion people in the world and about 2.5 billion smartphones. And it seems as though the majority of those who can or will own a smartphone already do. But marketers shouldn’t worry, mobile will only become more important as people spend more time on their devices.
  • Online advertising is up 20% and mobile is a big driver of growth. Google and Facebook are also big drivers commanding 76% of all spend. Meeker sees a $22 billion opportunity in mobile advertising based on data showing consumers spend 25 percent of their media time on mobile while advertisers spend only 12 percent of their budgets here. But if marketers want to be effective they need to fit in with consumer behaviours. Think fitting the content with the platform specific consumer behaviours such as vertical, short length, full screen.
  • Ad blocking is on the rise. Obviously the public is making a statement here – time for marketers to find some acceptance and start to create content that is truly relevant to our audiences.
  • Messaging apps are huge and over time could take over the home screen on mobile devices. After all, 80% of users time is spent on 3 apps: Facebook, WhatsApp and Chrome. We will see a shift from messaging being just for us to be social to include more business related interactions. We must not forget that in Asia messaging apps like WeChat are already more or less used as home screens with people going there to not only chat but also shop, order taxis, transfer money or play games. Plus the next generations prefer to chat than actually physically talk.
  • Visual is exploding and images are fuelling sales. Meeker says that in 5 years at least 50% of searches will be made through images or speech. We are using our smartphones more to tell and share stories – no wonder Snapchat has made such a huge leap recently. For marketers this means if we can help our target audience visualize how a product fits into their lives, we can help drive sales.
  • Video is also obviously exploding with Snapchat and Facebook Live which increases the pressure to produce relevant, authentic and real-time content. Funnily enough, video ads are not doing so well. Ad blocking plays a major part here and many people mute the sound. Once again it is all about relevant targeting and delivering the relevant content at the right time and place.
  • Privacy and personal data. Obviously marketers love digital data as it gives us the opportunity for effective advertising ROIs. But according to Meeker, 45% of people are more worried about digital security than last year. What does this mean? Do not risk the trust you have earned with your audiences and listen to their concerns.
  • And finally after the rise of text, images….now the rise of the voice interfaces. Voice is probably the best “real time” format we have. We can speak faster than typing and it is definitely much more personal. While we may not be there completely from a technological point of view yet this is open up new avenues for sales and marketing.
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It’s all about Mobile: Some Insights from Mary Meeker’s 2014 Internet Trends Report

Mary Meeker’s State of the Internet presentation gives us a great insight into the Future of Digital – albeit in a 164 page slideshow. Here are some takeaways that I find the most interesting:

  • Internet access growth may be slowing, but not on mobile.
  • Tablet shipments increased by 53% in 2013 – that is a faster pace than PCs ever had. And many consumers are leapfrogging the PC completely as we are living in an era of smartphones.
  • Mobile accounts for 25% of all web usage. That’s 14% increase from last year!
  • We spend 20% of our media time online. But there still is a huge opportunity for mobile ad spend growth.
  • We are using social networks to share more privately than broadcasting – just think of the rise of WhatsApp. This also accounts for photo sharing being up 50% over 2013 in just the first half of this year.
  • Mobile business since 2008 has exploded from $2 billion to $38 billion. This just shows how important it is for media companies to promote high-quality apps for their products and services.
  • Google and Apple are the future. While this may seem obvious we should remember that 8 years ago they had no phone business, today they rule our operating systems.
  • Video still is king. And YouTube cannot be underestimated. It creates stars and is getting huge monetization through ads.
  • And finally China. It is becoming a critical market with 80% of its internet user now on mobile. Plus China is not copying, it is innovating. So we need to keep an eye on that.

And to conclude: the future of the Internet, in one graph, showing screen time by screen type around the world.

mary