Mary Meeker is somewhat of a legend in Silicon Valley and marketing industry circles. She is a venture capitalist focused on Internet and Technology, and each year she releases a massive (and very ugly) powerpoint presentation detailing the most significant internet trends from the previous year, and what they mean heading into the future.
Known as the "most anticipated slide deck of the year," this year's presentation included 333 slides, available here.
However, if you don't have time to flip through all 333 slides, here's a quick summary of 6 key insights that we believe marketers should know.
Internet Trends: More Time and Money Being Spent on Mobile Advertising
This past year mobile ad spend and time spent hit equilibrium at 33%. Desktop hit equilibrium in 2015 and maintained balance at 18% this past year.
Moreover, while mobile time spent is growing exponentially, looking at the grayed out areas of the chart should help marketers understand how their marketing spend, and channel mix should be evolving as all other channels have decreased in both metrics.
Internet Trends: Ad Spend Is Up, Driven by More Relevant Creative
Internet ad spend was up 22% overall in the last year, which is slightly higher than the 21% growth in 2017. According to the report, the platforms that are gaining ad share are doing so by offering better targeting, new and unique creative placements and options, commerce, and opportunities for higher contextual relevance.
Internet Trends: Visual Communication Is Leading the Way
The rise of Instagram as a social platform, with up to 1 billion monthly active users, is evidence of the popularity of visual-first channels. Additionally, data from the report shows that more than 50% of tweet impressions include images, videos, or other media.
Other channels are following suit as visual functionality, from editing and sharing to data-driven discovery to stories and commerce, ramps up on platforms like Pinterest and Snapchat.
Internet Trends: The Impact and Context of Second Screen Use
According to data from Nielsen in the report, roughly 88% of Americans use a second device while watching TV. 71% use the second device to look up content related to the program they're watching (e.g., IMDb to see where we know that actor from), while 41% are messaging friends and family about what they're watching.
We've known about "second screens" for a while now; however, this more in-depth insight as to what people are using those screens for may help marketers develop campaigns that better leverage the context of the moment.
Internet Trends: Marketers Are Drowning in Data Overload, but Consumers Want Personalization
In her presentation, Meeker claimed that companies are "drinking from a data firehose" due to the availability of real-time customer data. However, she also cited the following statistics highlighting data's role and importance:
- 91% of retail customers say they prefer brands that provide personalized offers and recommendations
- 83% say they are willing to passively share data for personalized experiences
- 74% say they are willing to actively share data for personalized experiences
To fight data overload, successful businesses leverage what she refers to as data-plumbing tools to harness digital data and insights to improve user experience.
Internet Trends: We're Extremely Online Americans – and Know It
Last year, American adults spent an unprecedented average of 6.3 hours per day interacting with digital media—time mostly split between mobile devices at 3.6 hours and desktop or laptop computers at two hours. The amount of time U.S. adults spend per day online jumped 7% year-over-year from 2017 and was more than double the number of hours they spent online in 2010.
Additionally, a growing number of adults report being online "almost constantly." Twenty-six percent of American adults rarely disconnected from the internet in 2018; among the 18-to-29 demographic, that number jumps to 39 percent, according to Pew Research cited in Meeker's report.
This trend isn't lost on consumers as they claim to be more aware of digital overload and are taking steps to reduce screen time: 63% of U.S. adults say they are trying to limit personal smartphone usage in 2018, up from 47% the year prior.