Tuesday, June 7th, 2016 | 4 min read
Unless you’ve been living under a digital rock, you probably know that venture capital icon Mary Meeker recently presented her 2016 Internet Trends Report. As always, the influential, 200+ page report is packed with data and insights about the future of the internet, advertising, marketing, and technology. And—as per usual—it generated substantial excitement in the tech world (including at least one musical tribute).
Meeker’s vast findings are all interesting, but within them are a few vital tidbits for marketers. Here are the three most compelling stats that we think you should know about.
Simply put, advertisers are putting their money in the wrong place. They are spending far too much on traditional outlets like print, radio and TV, and not enough on the web.
Consider, for example, that companies spend 39% of their ad budget in TV, but consumers only spend 36% of their time watching TV. While advertisers are shifting their approach to reflect the changing habits of the public, they aren’t doing it quickly enough.
In that vein, they’re also missing out on mobile advertising. US businesses would be wise to jump into the $22 billion opportunity before their competitors do, in order to keep up with a consumer base that’s spending more and more time on the phone.
We are seeing a fundamental change in how people use the internet. According to Meeker, images—not text—will become the primary way that people communicate on the web. While Millennials and older users still communicate primarily with text, the fast-growing and influential Generation Z prefers images.
This shift is both driven and reflected by the huge popularity of social platforms that rely on image and video sharing like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. By comparison, platforms that rely more on text—such as LinkedIn and Twitter—are not as popular among the youths.
Note that Millennials spend around 1,000, 350, and 325 minutes per month on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, respectively.
And lest you think that images will completely dominate the future, keep in mind Meeker’s assertion that voice should play a more prominent role in digital. It’s fast, easy to use, and relatively cheap.
It’s no secret that messaging apps play a key role in the customer engagement process. What’s notable is how simple social conversations are becoming more expressive with the emergence of emojis and advanced video features.
This shift changes how consumers interact with brands (and vice versa), and how and where business conversations take place. It’s simply the latest step for brands in the ongoing challenge to meet consumers’ on their terms. If customers are spending the bulk of their time in messaging apps, well then that’s where companies need to be.
If they haven’t already, marketers should grasp just how fundamental messaging apps are to online communication, and ideally move another step forward and follow the lead of innovative messenger bots.
The Internet Trends report is a valuable glimpse into the future. Marketers would be wise to use the information to shift their strategies around the changing habits of digital users and inform their customer-facing strategy. The technology may change, but the importance of meeting customers on their terms will not.