Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report

With an extensive 294 slides, Mary Meeker’s 2018 edition of the annual Internet Trends report has sparked many a conversation. Before you find yourself drowning in all the debate and discussion, pause. We’re here with a handy little guide to the report, so you can understand it in minutes! Let’s go:

So what’s Mary Meeker’s report all about?

If you’ve been on the marketing playground for a while, then you’re probably no stranger to Mary Meeker and her decades-long legacy. A partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, she presents the Internet Trends report every year. The report is a massive resource for those in the tech and marketing fields, for it gives extremely valuable insights. This year the report has shed light on smartphone behaviour in the U.S., the rise of e-commerce, and how China is setting an example for businesses.

What’s in it for a marketer?

Bring out that imaginary highlighter and notepad because we’re going note-making! Today, any marketer’s arsenal is incomplete without strategies to harness the digital. If you want to make it big and do it right, you need this report. Here’s a list of the key takeaways:

  • Decrease in user growth, increase in usage
    Get this – 50% of the world’s population is now online! Yes, you read that right. ‘Digital’ is no small world anymore. Meeker got the ball rolling with this massive statistic. However, growth in the number of users has slowed down compared to last year. In 2016, there was a 12% growth in internet users. However, in 2017, the figure reduced to 7%.
    Coming to internet usage, we see a 4% increase, which is hardly surprising. Not to rehash social-media addiction wounds, but our lives are certainly becoming more and more online. The report shows that adults spent 5.9 hours per day online. Interestingly, about 3.3 of those hours were spent on mobile, which is driving growth in digital media consumption.
  • $7 billion untapped in mobile advertising
    As per the report, users spend 29% of their media time on mobile. However, only 26% of advertising budgets are allocated to mobile. Meeker suggests that there’s a huge $7 billion opportunity for mobile media spend. As seen above, users are spending a major part of their day on the phone. Considering these two facts, marketers have a promising window to advertise better. Since mobile media spend is less popular compared to that of print, Tv, etc., mobile ads continue to come at a relative discount.
  • The Privacy Paradox
    Remember the recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica debacle? Well, Meeker’s concept of “privacy paradox” is here to refresh your memory. The idea being conveyed here is simple – the more personalized the product, the more personal data being harvested. Companies are struggling to find the way between using data to provide better consumer experiences and violating consumer privacy. This raises pertinent questions about the future of brand-consumer relationships and how much each will agree to sacrifice.  
  • E-commerce rising
    Retail is also fast transcending the traditional structure with e-commerce growing like wildfire. From 14% in 2016, it has grown 16% in the U.S. in 2017.  Amazon has stolen the show with a 28% share of those sales last year. In fact, almost 50% product searches start at Amazon now. Tech giants like Google and Amazon are shifting trends. Google’s expanding from an ads platform to a commerce platform via Google Home Ordering, while Amazon’s moving into advertising. Look out for ways to revamp your online marketing strategy because that’s where the conversions are.

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  • Social media driving consumer decisions
    Social media isn’t just about liking selfies anymore – it’s a thriving marketplace. Meeker’s report has testified social media’s role in consumer buying decisions. As per the survey, 78% of the respondents claimed to have discovered products on Facebook. This is followed by Instagram and Pinterest with 59%, Twitter with 34% and Snap with 22%. The real deal? 55% of respondents said they purchased a product persuaded by a social media discovery.
  • Digital payments catching on
    Trends show that mobile payments are becoming easier to complete. Further, Meeker highlighted the growth payment app Square and Spotify, exemplifying how digital payment simplify monotonous tasks. With 500 million active mobile payment users in 2017, China is currently a leader in mobile payment adoption. Looks like the consumer is gradually allowing convenience to surmount security concerns.

Digital-payments-catching-on

  • No room for bad content
    Brands are saying a big, fat ‘no’ to platforms that are complacent towards divisive content. Branded content is the backbone of any organization today. Hence, it’s no wonder that brands don’t want to be seen next to objectionable content. Due to this reason, advertisers like P&G cut millions in digital ad spend. Platforms have been jolted to act and thus, we saw 8 million videos removed from YouTube in Q4 2017. Further, 2 million videos were de-monetized for misleading content tagging.
  • Video content shows promise
    While shoddy video content is being protested, ‘video’ as a medium continues to be an extremely influential avenue. As per Meeker’s presentation, the average person watched almost 30 minutes of mobile video per day last year. The same figure was a mere 5 minutes per day in 2012.  70% YouTube users turn to the platform to learn and solve work/school/hobby problems. In fact, the platform receives 1 billion daily views of learning videos. Marketers have a wide window to lead/promote powerful campaigns with the likes of YouTube on board.

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  • Challenges ahead
    We’re sure you’re bursting with ideas, and the internet must seem like your oyster, but slow down! It’s imperative that you account for the obstacles on the road ahead. The report has underlined how AI (Artificial Intelligence) lies beneath most of innovation today. However, there may be less data to support this AI revolution as privacy concerns grow.
    Secondly, advertisers are being pushed to rethink digital strategies due to the advent of fake news, bots and offensive content. Keeping brand safety and integrity in mind is key.

During the presentation, Meeker aptly said, “We’re living in a period of unprecedented change, and unprecedented opportunity, and an unprecedented need for responsibility.” Newage processes and practices are stirring up a storm within consumers and brands. Ride the storm in all your glory, but remember, don’t get carried away!

Find the entire report here:

2018 Internet Trends Report

2018 Internet Trends Report | Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers

Shriya Garg

A book-lover with dual degrees in finance, Shriya has created (and abandoned) eight blogs, started her first company at 12, published two books (first one at 16), edited dozens for others, and worked with five interesting startups in her career so far. Prior to joining ContentNinja, she worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and has a deferred admit from ISB, Hyderabad. She is an SLP Fellow and a Quora Top Writer. When she’s not fielding client calls, she can be found cleaning cat hair from her clothes.