12 things we’ve learnt from KPCB’s Internet Trends 2015 report

12 things we’ve learnt from KPCB’s Internet Trends 2015 report


There's lots to learn from Mary Meeker's annual Internet report but be wary of the lack of critical analysis and US bias. Mary Meeker, a partner at venture capitalist Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), has published her annual Internet Trends report.

The 200 page report is packed data and insight about Internet trends. The underlying theme of the report is the 20-year trend to consumers connected 24/7 with mobile devices.

Here are some highlights and my take on the implications for marketing, public relations and organisational communication.

#1 Internet user growth slowing

There are 2.8 billion people using the Internet, up 8% in 2014. The rate of growth is slowing because European and US markets are reaching saturation. Do not underestimate the growth potential of China and India.

#2 Mobile adoption slowing

There's a similar story for smartphone subscriptions which reached 2.1 billion in 2014. Again European and US markets are reaching saturation. The growth is from Brazil, China, and India. Spend in developing markets is lower than developed markets.

#3 Data traffic up but no mention of fake traffic

Unsurprisingly consumer Internet (21%) and mobile traffic (69%) climbed in 2014. Digital advertising also grew strongly but there's no mention in the report of fake traffic, estimated to account for as much as 35% of Internet traffic.

#4 Mobile advertising under indexed

Media spend on mobile is under-indexed relative to the amount of time we spend on devices compared with other media such as print, radio and TV. The report cites a $25billion gap in the US alone. Advertisers need to figure out ways to monetise mobile advertising.

#5 Mobile buy buttons remove friction

A potential way of monetising the time we spend on mobile is mobile commerce. It’s no surprise then that Facebook, Google and Twitter are all trailing Buy Buttons a bid to remove friction from mobile purchases. Watch this space.

#6 Vertical video

Consumers are increasingly viewing video clips and messages on mobile devices leading to a shift from horizontal landscape to vertical portrait, format. Apps such as Periscope and SnapChat are accelerating this trend. I'm sceptical. Landscape makes the best use of pixels.

#7 Technology transforming workflow

Technology used to be about making work more efficient. Now tools such as Slack are transforming how we work. This is happening in every business category including marketing and public relations. It’s the basis of my #PRstack project.

#8 Messaging

Six out of the ten most popular used apps are one-on-one messaging including Line, WeChat and WhatsApp. This requires organisations to rethink how they communication with their audiences, or publics, and shift from broadcast to conversation. It’s difficult to achieve at scale.

#9 Individuals as media

Curation, crowdsourcing and user generated content are all trends cited in the report. Consumers are creating and sharing a layer of data on top of applications and services, turning the Internet into a personal utility. The data is blinding.

#10 Teen trendsetters

12-to-24 year olds are media trendsetters according to the report, jumping on photo curation (Pinterest), photo sharing (Instagram) and messaging (SnapChat). So what? In my view marketers obsess about youth. The over-50s, possibly sign-posted by 12-to-24 year olds, is where the money is for most brands.

#11 Freelance economy

34% of the US workforce is freelance, working independently, moonlighting or in some temporary arrangement. The Internet and social media enables anyone to set out a shop window and find work on their own terms.

#12 Regulation

Law makers are struggling to keep with the way that technology is impacting every business that it touches. The report cites legal cases involving AirBnB, Lyft and Uber. Regulations need to evolve with the shift towards a connected society.

Much of the Internet is not real

Much of the Internet is not real

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