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What Mary Meeker's State of the Internet Report Means for Marketers

13 Jul 2016

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In June 2016 Mary Meeker's State of the Internet Report was released to the general public, and as usual contained valuable marketing insights that should be considered when planning your marketing strategy and tactics for the next year.

The 213 deck of slides available on SlideShare provides a thorough analysis of how the internet contributes and shapes the global economy. This year, there were several insights into mobile adoption trends, as well as general internet growth predictions.

Highlights Of The 2016 Mary Meeker's State of the Internet Report

If marketers want to continue to effectively promote digital content, use mobile trends to reach new audiences, and leverage internet growth patterns to their business advantage, then they need to keep the following trends in mind:

1) We’re nearing the smartphone’s saturation point

Unless you in the business of selling smartphones this is good news. The global population has reached approximately 7.4 billion people, internet users 3.2 billion and the smartphone market has grown to approximately 2.5 billion active devices. Mary Meeker's analysis of iPhone and Android manufacturers reveals that the majority of people who can or will own a smartphone, already have a device. With this in mind, smartphone growth has continued within the Asia-Pacific market, even though there has been a slowdown in the North American sector. Surprisingly, India continued to have year-over-year growth as smartphone users increased by 40 percent in 2015. Not surprisingly, smartphone use and purchases in the Middle East and Africa continue to lag behind the North American, European, and Asian markets.

A significant factor in analysing the global growth patterns of smartphone usage is the fact that smartphones essentially took over a huge portion of the world seemingly overnight. Analysts are still trying to understand the ramifications of the rapid market growth, however, one thing remains clear: mobile marketing continues to remain a strong sector. If marketers want to continue to reach their intended consumer audience, then they need to continue to invest in mobile marketing strategies, at a minimum entry point websites must offer mobile-friendly web experiences to capture leads, transact and service prospects, buyers and customers.

While smartphone purchases might have slowed, the number of hours that people are spending on their devices is staged for continuous growth. In short, the more time that people spend on their smartphone devices, the easier it will be for marketers to send customised mobile promotions via mobile sites, applications, SMS campaigns, and other mobile-focused campaigns.

2) B2C or B2B Internet search is rapidly changing

As seen through Google's release of RankBrain, Internet search is a rapidly changing industry. In an effort to make the Internet more consumer-friendly, the search bar is set to change once again within the next five years. Mary Meeker's report predicts that in five years at least 50 percent of all Internet searches will either be via images or speech.

In this vein, Google and Facebook are rapidly emerging as the go-to advertising conglomerates. In a recently published New York Times article, a Morgan Stanley analyst estimated that approximately 85 percent of new ad spend online will go to either Facebook or Google. This analysis is further supported by Google's 18 percent year-over-year advertising revenue and growth rates.

From 2014 to 2015, Facebook experienced a 59 percent year-over-year advertising revenue and growth rate. Marketers need to take heed of these statistics and devise mobile advertising campaigns that promote an authentic connection with their intended audience on Google and Facebook. Through these authentic, consumer-driven, connections, B2C or B2B marketers can continue to establish brand loyalty and promote business growth.

3) Messaging apps have increased in popularity and are staged to surpass the home screen's "portal status"

As soon as the iPhone became a popular mainstream device, the home screen became a "portal" on mobile devices. As messaging applications have continued to increase in popularity, they are slowly beginning to edge out the home screen's status as the "go-to place for interaction." Messaging applications have also replaced traditional social media platforms as the go-to place for interactions.

The most popular messaging platforms include: WhatsApp, WeChat, and Snapchat. As messaging applications continue to increase in popularity, one thing remains clear - consumers are readily embracing private communication methods. Marketers can take advantage of this preference by creating brand personalities for each messaging platform. For example, a brand personality on WhatsApp can encourage consumers to join groups, interact directly with brands, browse new products, and otherwise continue their journey to becoming loyal brand ambassadors.

The Bottom Line: Mobile Communications Remain Supreme

One of the key takeaways from the 2016 Mary Meeker's State of the Internet Report is that mobile communications, particularly those completed via apps, are the preferred channel for millennials, with growing use in other age groups.

As millennials continue to embrace their role as the generation most likely to spend money on travel, leisure, and business, marketers need to continue to remain innovative in their communication tactics. Whether it is through creating brand personas for communication via mobile applications such as WhatsApp, or recognising that a saturated smartphone market means that people will spend even more time on their phones, marketers can and should continue to embrace mobile marketing tactics and ensure their websites are mobile friendly as a valid means for reaching their intended consumer audiences.

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