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Internet Trends by Mary Meeker 2019

The Farmer’s Almanac for the tech industry or Mary Meeker’s report on Internet Trends was recently released. Like every year, the report covers the gamut of everything digital, from the internet connectivity of the human race to the growth of encryption.

This year the report consisted of 333 slides which looked back on the all-important trends from the previous year and all trends that are to surface this year. The “Queen of the Internet” touched on the different aspects of the internet and provided massive insights on everything, from the acceleration of the internet and ad spend to the growth seen in digital delivery services across Latin America.

Mary Meeker’s analysis had a couple of recurring themes like privacy, offensive content, and China’s leadership in digital video and retail. This year the report did not mention Alibaba or Amazon, and instead shed light upon the viral topics like Fortnite, and focussed more on how users interact with the websites.

How does the report concern you, you ask? More than half the population of the world is online now — if you drive any digital campaign targeting the group aforementioned, then this deck concerns you.

If a genie materialized in front of you and told you to revise your advertising budgets to market to your core customers into spending cash, would you? That is precisely what Mary Meeker is — a genie who is here to help you reshape your digital model. Sounds overwhelming? We got your back- here are the major takeaways from this year’s Internet Trends:

  • Screen time has increased, but growth is on a decline

The average mobile screen time of the world surpassed that of TV- 226 minutes versus 216 minutes. An individual spends about 6.3 hours a day on the internet, and most people do it from the palm of their hands — their mobile. So irrespective of what you are trying to market and advertise, word on the street is “mobiles first”.

On the one hand, there has been a drastic shift in the medium of content consumption; there has been a decline in the sales of the same. Smartphones are a representation of the easiest form of entry into the internet universe. For the second year in a row, smartphone shipments have seen a decline. In 2018, global smartphone shipments fell by 4%, compared to 0% the previous year.

  • Move to Tech

In the report, Meeker shared how out of the most valued companies in the world, seven out of ten were operating mainly in technology- where Microsoft took the lead, followed by Amazon and Apple. Clearly, it pays big bucks to be a tech company in this age.

Out of the 25 most valued tech companies, 60% were founded by immigrants. These companies employed over 1.9 million people the previous year. The stricter immigration laws in the country could negatively impact this rate and ultimately affect the tech industry. It will be a significant loss if the next Elon Musk is unable to surface because of lack of opportunity.

  • E-Commerce is leading the game

E-Commerce has been a vital component in the spectrum of retail. As of 2018, E-Commerce accounts for 15% of all retail purchases, which seems like a small figure in the bigger scheme of things, but is actually a figure achieved by a jump of 12.4% from the previous year, whereas brick and mortar retail saw a growth of only 2%, according to her study.

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Her advice to all business owners was to seriously deliberate adding an E-commerce platform to their websites, where services like Shopify can be a great place to start!

  • Redeliberating Digital Ad Spend

Meeker asked her audience to reconsider their digital ad spend budget. She reiterated how Google and Facebook continued to dominate the service, but Amazon and Twitter were not that far behind in nabbing ad shares. Increasingly, business and companies have opted to turn to digital advertising, which has led to an increase in the cost ratio of acquiring customers via advertising.

Internet ad spend went up by a mere per cent- from 21% to 22%. The platforms that gained ad shares did so by creative concepts, high relevance, and on point targeting.

  • Freemium Business Models

Oh, how we love free trials, am I right? Well, that translated into something much bigger. According to Meeker, the free trials on various online services have enabled usage, social sharing, more engagement; whereas premium models have driven monetization and product innovation. For 42% of the consumers, a compelling reason that pushes them to try new services and products is a free trial.

Freemium models started in gaming, and have since evolved in consumer and enterprise. There are over 10 million paid subscribers of pure-play freemium businesses as of March 2019, including big names like Spotify, Dropbox, and Epic Games. Over 60% of the gross premium subscribers of Spotify was accounted for through their freemium model. The app had a staggering revenue of $1 Billion last year.

  • Visual content drives more traffic

In the wise words of Meeker, “social media is all about the multimedia.”

The report stated that more than half of the traffic that Twitter posts receive is because of the visual representation, that is an image or a video attached to it.

If your marketing and advertising strategy does not share some focus on the aesthetic and visual appeal, it is time you start! Content around imagery is the way of the future, and the future, it seems, is now.

  • Personalization, data, and privacy

Isn’t it convenient when you find exactly what you searched for through a single google search? It is efficient and yields happy customers. But does it not border on creepy when you start seeing adverts about the things that you were discussing in a private conversation?

Meeker said that companies are “drinking from a data firehose” because of all the customer information captured in real time. To tailor the data results and improve the user experience, companies are using data plumbing tools to harness the digital data of users.

The results of a retail survey showed how 91% of people prefer brands that personalized their recommendations and offers; 83% were willing to share data passively to attain personalized services; 74% were ready to actively share data to get a better user experience complete with personalization.

With the sharing of consumer data at an all-time high, the question of privacy arises (especially after botch-ups like Cambridge Analytica data breach). Privacy concerns are high but have been moderating a little as businesses and regulators are working to improve privacy control. Encrypted messaging and traffic are rapidly increasing in digital media. As compared to 53% in 2016, 87% of the global web traffic was encrypted in Q1.

There’s probably a certain degree of self-fulfilling prophecy in Mary Meeker’s deck — “Gee, Mary Meeker says people are going to be doing X, so we’d better do X. Hey, look! She was right!” Regardless, it is reflective in every year’s report how the advice and tips by Meeker have provided a paramount guide for all marketers around the globe!

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Mayank Gulati