The most awaited time of the year for digital marketers has come: Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends has come out and what she shows in her 294-slide presentation might surprise some of you. In this article, I discuss the 5 key takeaways from her report that will change the way you do internet marketing.
1. People are buying fewer smartphones
The number of users has reached its peak with over 3.6 billion people now having access to the worldwide web. Last year was the first year in the history of the internet where we saw no growth in smartphone unit shipments. This is partly due to Android phones becoming cheaper and Wi-Fi becoming more accessible. Today, there’s over 450 million Wi-Fi networks around the world — a big leap compared to the 100 million networks we had just half a decade ago.
What does this mean? We’re about to see slower growth in the number of internet users, with companies seeing fewer app downloads due to the lack of fresh new users. However, it’s not as bad you think as people are actually using their smartphone devices more. According to the report, key factors that are driving usage include messaging, voice, mobile payments, and video.
2. People are spending more time on the Internet
People are spending more time on the internet with mobile use taking up a huge chunk (3.3 hours) of the average hours spent on the internet (5.9 hours). This has prompted marketers to increase their advertising spend by up to 22%, adding up to $88 billion in 2017. This money, however, is not being allocated well according to Meeker with $7 billion wasted in missed opportunity as marketers spend only 26% of their advertising budget in mobile ads.
Spend your ad money wisely, and spend it on meaningful interactions. While people are getting addicted to their screens, there’s also a growing movement against apps that purposely make you hooked to them. This means people will lean towards businesses that provide them real value instead of trapping them in unhealthy patterns.
3. Voice is taking over
2017 was the year of voice with sales in voice-controlled products like Amazon Echo seeing an increase in sales from 10 million units to a whopping 30 million!
This shouldn’t come as a surprise since voice search is more suited with our on-the-go lifestyles. The average person can only type 40 words per minute compared to speaking up to 150 words per minute.
As voice assistants become more accurate at recognizing speech (95% accurate to be exact!), part of your marketing efforts should be geared towards making your content more voice-search friendly.
4. eCommerce is booming
While physical retail sales are declining, eCommerce sales are accelerating at a very fast rate. People are more eager to shop online and competition is getting much tighter as consumer goods’ prices online are falling to up to 3%. This is possible thanks to the fact that the internet has made it easier for retailers to market their products and support the infrastructure for delivery.
Businesses stuck in the brick and mortar model will have to adapt and make products available online to be able to keep up with the competition.
5. Tech giants are investing big
We internet users will be expected to adopt to new technologies and services at an unprecedented rate with tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, Intel, and Google are aggressively investing in innovation particularly in technologies like artificial intelligence, networking equipment, and hyper-converged infrastructure.
This fast-paced technology development is also changing the way we work. The report makes special note of its impact on the job sector with more people demanding flexibility as technology makes it easier to find freelance work. 77% freelancers say they are confident to discover jobs online compared to the consensus of 69% three years ago.
As more users become more savvy with the internet, there’s no fooling them with old digital marketing tactics anymore. Going back to meaningful interactions, your marketing messages should resonate well with your target audience. No spammy content and certainly no spammy SEO.
These are by far, the most important insights I have gathered from the report. Of course, this is only a fraction of Meeker’s report and you are free to dig up more information from it to help guide your long-term digital marketing strategies.
Are there any other points in the 2018 Internet Trends Report that you found particularly useful? Share your thoughts in the comments below!