8 Marketing Takeaways from Meeker's 2017 Internet Trends Report
There is perhaps no more authoritative source for internet statistics than Mary Meeker, a financial analyst and venture capitalist whose 1995 book, The Internet Report, was a landmark in internet study. Since the mid-2000s, Meeker has delivered the annual Internet Trends Report, which is an exhaustive account of how people are using the internet and predictions for the future.
This year's massive, 355-slide report covers everything from online gaming to fitness wearables to internet usage in China. Marketers in particular should keep the following revelations from the report in mind:
#1 - Voice Search Is Growing Rapidly
Twenty percent of mobile searches were spoken - not typed - in 2016. This number is only expected to grow, as comScore predicts voice searches could account for half of all searches by 2020. This could be especially important for local businesses such as restaurants, as many voice searches end up being "near me" queries.
#2 - The Internet Is Booming in India
While internet growth is slowing down overall throughout the world, the number of Indian internet users jumped by over 28 percent last year. That's a huge increase, but internet penetration is still only at 27 percent in India, meaning a ton of potential growth remains. Interestingly, India also happens to spend more time on Android devices than any other country except China.
#3 - Mobile Ad Spend Has Now Exceeded Desktop
Mobile usage has been outnumbering desktop for years, and advertising dollars have now finally followed suit. Overall internet ad spending is now the highest it's ever been at around $73 billion, and the dominance of mobile ads is only expected to increase. At the same time, mobile ad-blocking is at all-time high, with around 400 million people in the world using ad blockers.
#4 - Internet Ad Spend Will Soon Surpass TV
Meeker expects that money spent on internet ads will exceed the spend on TV for the first time within the next six months. As these changes occur, marketing teams should be paying very close attention to where their target audience is spending most of their time. Ads targeted toward senior citizens, for example, may continue to be very successful on TV despite television's slowly waning effectiveness.
#5 - Ad Platforms Are Feeling the Pressure to Improve
Google and Facebook account for a whopping 85 percent of the growth in online ads, and their share is only getting higher. Luckily, these platforms, as well as others like Twitter and Snapchat, are responding to calls for providing more data insights and targeting options to improve ROI for advertisers.
#6 - Retail Store Closings Could Break Record
If the prediction of around 7,000 retail stores closing in 2017 comes true, it may break the 20-year record. Meanwhile, Amazon continues to grow rapidly. As business keeps shifting online, the importance of staying up-to-date with ecommerce marketing and advertising strategies cannot be understated. Trends like augmented reality, as evidenced by Lowe's and Warby Parker, could be the future of brick-and-mortar retail.
#7 - Ads Are Getting Hyper-Relevant
The lines between advertising and everyday life will continue to blur, and advertisers will likely continue to see success by making their ads as relevant as technology will allow. This will be done by emulating user-generated or influencer-generated content in ads rather than writing wholly original ad copy. Camera apps and image recognition technology will also allow advertisers to serve ads based on what a user is looking at or taking pictures of. Also, platforms like Uber, Foursquare and (of course) Google will continue to develop hyper-local services, allowing advertisers to deliver ads based on a user's actual current proximity to business locations.
#8 - More and More Users Expect Live Chat
The number of customer service conversations happening through chat has skyrocketed in the past few years. More and more customers will come to expect this service, and it may be time to implement it if you haven't already.
Of course, there's plenty more information in the full report, some of which may or may not influence your marketing, advertising, SEO and even content decisions in the next few months. As technology and business continue to have rapid rates of change, the most successful marketers will stay up-to-date with all the latest trends while keeping their feet on the ground and focusing on a small number of strategies that get the highest ROI for their business.