Mary Meeker on the rise of the internet for marketing and public relations
Internet usage, planning tools, paid and social mashups, human computer interface, and social business are highlights of Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Report. Mary Meeker, an analyst turned venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers (KPCB), has published her annual Internet report for 2017.
The report contains plenty of insight for anyone working in marketing or public relations. I’ve worked my way through the 355 page report. Here are my highlights.
#1 An Internet connected world by 2026
Global internet usage continues to grow at a steady 10% per year, reaching 46% of the global population. It’s fuelled by developing markets, notably India. Mark 2026 down in your diary as the year when everyone in the world is able to get online, based on current adoption rates.
#2 Internet usage continues to grow
There’s no sign of a slowdown in our use of internet connected devices. Data for the US shows that consumers spend an average of 5.6 hours per day on the internet. This number has growth 4% year-on-year, fuelled by mobile phone usage.
#3 Smartphone growth stalls
The growth in global smartphone shipments has halted. In developing markets everyone that wants a phone has one. Replacement cycles are two to three years. Adoption in emerging markets isn’t sufficient to drive the growth that the market saw at the end of the noughties but it’s still a strong business, driven by innovation.
#4 Internet advertising set to pass television
Here’s an inflection point worth noting. Global spend on internet advertising is set to overtake television advertising in the next six months. The ability to target and measure ad performance makes digital ads attractive to brands. The integration of paid, social and earned is also a driver.
#5 Seeking social media measurement return on investment
Measuring the return on investment on social media activity continue to be cited as a challenge by organisations. Engagement is the primary means of measurement for social media marketing. Conversion, revenue, amplification and brand awareness are all used as metrics to measure success.
#6 Free tools boost planning and investment in internet ads
Platforms such as Facebook and Google have built powerful tools to plan and measure the success of campaigns. Ads can be tested and tweaked in real time. It’s a key reason that digital advertising is growing so strongly. These tools can be used to support marketing and public relations planning.
#7 Consumers take continue to take control with ad blockers
The rise of ad blocking was the story of Meeker’s 2016 report. The growth of ad blockers on the desktop is stalling but mobile is showing strong growth in developing markets such as China, India and Indonesia. It remains a trend to watch.
#8 Content and conversations: User Generated Content (UGC)
UGC is a powerful means of marketing or public relations. Brands are increasingly incorporating content created by consumers into their campaigns. It’s a form of community management that drives almost seven times the engagement of branded content.
#9 Talk to me
Voice recognition has hit 95%. That’s typically the level of understanding that we’d have with each other in a conversation. It’s the reason for the boom in applications and devices such as Alexa, Google and Siri. The combination of voice and location is incredibly exciting.
#10 Images for data entry and query
Voice isn’t the only innovation in the human computer interface. Image recognition, enabled by phone cameras, processing power, and algorithms provides a powerful means of data entry and search. Google Lens and Pinterest Lens show the potential of this technology.
#11 There is no line
The line between paid and social is blurring to the point of it being indistinguishable. Social networks are creating new ad formats in a bid to drive revenue and deliver consumers to an online store. Their goal is a frictionless experience for the consumer, and revenue for the brand.
#12 Here to serve
Social media is growing up. It is driving accountability and improving customer service. Brave brands are no longer frightened to admit their mistakes. Consumers recognise that brands are people and appreciate candid responses, but expect action.
#13 Social businesses emerge
So called social businesses are emerging built around a strong purpose. Every aspect of the organisation is social, from sales to customer service. Customers engage with each other and the business in a community. Meeker suggests that it’s a lean and profitable business model.
#14 Doormen as foremen
Meeker typically spotlights a societal trend or two each year. In 2017 it’s doormen as foremen; as post rooms, building lobbies and reception areas become the new warehouses for internet purchases delivered by mail order.
#15 Healthcare reimagined
A significant chunk of Meeker’s report focusses on the healthcare market and explores the impact of devices, data and software on clinical outcomes. It’s reinventing every area of health and wellbeing from patient empowerment to health management, and from clinical diagnosis to prevention.