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Every year the technology industry awaits with bated breath to listen to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report, a cult favourite among techies and business executives alike. This year, the ‘Queen of the Net’ gave a comprehensive and broad-ranging rundown of her observations and predictions at the Code conference in California. A legendary observer of the Internet industry, her reports are packed with insightful analysis and razor-sharp observations that make her presentation an undoubted first-read for media buyers, strategists and marketers.
This year, however her report had a few surprises, as mobile emerged as the one trend that ruled all. Here are a few mobile takeaways from the report:
1. More companies to join the app unbundling trend to enhance their users’ experience
Of late, a number of large tech companies including Google, Facebook, and Foursquare have hopped on the app unbundling trend in an effort to streamline the app experience and make it more useful and meaningful for users. Fueled by the need to create a focused user experience, this trend is already changing the approach of start ups towards app development. Most tech experts are of the opinion that concentrating on the minimum viable proposition and backing it up using data is the best way forward. This practice saves the developer from launching an app with multiple user-experiences and then having to unbundle it at some point in the future.
2. Being mobile-first is more important than most businesses think
Even as the total growth in internet usage has slowed down to less than 10% YoY, the mobile use of the Internet has risen at a rapid pace of 14% from last year. A major contributor to this is the rise in user engagement on smartphones rather than tablets despite the latter’s booming sales. Meeker, however notes that currently only about 30% of the world’s 5.2-billion mobile users own a smartphone. This, in other words signifies that there is a 70% growth opportunity that still lies untapped.
3. Dual screening to redefine marketing strategies
There is a huge disconnect between the amount of time spent by people on print media and the amount of ad spend that it accounts for. Print is reported to take up 5% of the consumer’s media time, while mobile accounts for 20% of media time. But contrary to this, marketers spend 19% of their advertising budgets on print, while only 4% of the ad spend is allocated to mobile. This disconnect according to Meeker, has lead to a gap that has created a $30 billion opportunity in the United States alone, especially since it comes with the added advantage of empowering marketers with the ability to target and measure results.
Additionally, most consumers today indulge in dual screening frequently. 84% of American mobile users are reported to use their device while watching TV. With more screens, consumers often skip commercials and other irrelevant messages to digest more content in less time. Given that, marketers need to pair the proliferation of screens with the rise in video consumption on mobile and the advances in social interaction to provide their users with an enhanced media engagement that boosts the impact of advertising.
4. With apps replacing TV channels, businesses need to embrace video marketing
The media industry today is fragmented. Consumers these days prefer to catch up on the latest happenings in the world using news sources provided by the Internet rather than waiting for the evening news session on TV. This coupled with the rise in the availability and the use of Smart TVs and streaming media players such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV has caused channel specific on-demand applications to replace linear TV channels. These apps allow consumers to watch TV content on their own terms: when, where and how they want.
5. Businesses need to capitalize on untapped potential of sensor data
In her report, Meeker points out that mobile devices are not used as mere consumption devices today. Consumers are using it to upload ‘troves of find-able and share-able data’. And with the decreasing cost of cloud computing and storage, this upload has lead to a significant corresponding rise in the amount of data gathered. While 34% of the data we’re creating is useful, currently only a tiny fraction (1%) of it is being analyzed meaningfully.
Other notable key insights from Mary Meeker’s research are:
1. 1.8B photos are uploaded and shared everyday on Flickr, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook etc (Tweet this stat)
2. Tablets are growing faster than PCs ever did, with shipments up 52% in 2013
(Tweet this stat)
3. Today 47% of online transactions use free-shipping vs 35% five years ago (Tweet this stat)
4. People who tweet while watching TV boast 13% higher ad recall (Tweet this stat)
For more of Meeker’s research into the state of the web, see the full slideshow below: