Every year, tech guru and venture capitalist Mary Meeker publishes her annual “Internet Trends” report. This year’s 213-page report just came out, and covers a breadth of topics impacting the tech world spanning from advertising to smartphone adoption in China and even transportation. We devoured this insightful report from start to finish, and identified six trends that are most important for digital advertisers right now:
1. Mobile Ad Spending is Out-Pacing Desktop
Marketers who use cookie-dependent platforms have been struggling for some time now, and the battle isn’t going to get any easier this year. According to Meeker’s report, Internet ad revenue hit $60 billion in 2015, a jump of more than 20% from 2014. And the majority of advertisers are growing their investments in mobile. In fact, mobile ad revenue spiked by more than 66%, while desktop grew a mere 5%. In the mobile age, cookie-based technologies just won’t cut it. To succeed, marketers must be able to recognize customers wherever they are. This means they must find ways to tie devices and cross-channel engagement data to customer identity.
2. Google and Facebook are Doing It Right
This probably comes as no surprise, but brands on Facebook and Google are seeing tremendous results, so marketers are more willing than ever to advertise on these platforms. As the report pointed out, between 2014 and 2015, Facebook’s ad revenue grew 59% – with the bulk of ads running on mobile devices – and Facebook and Google combined controlled 76% of Internet advertising growth. These platforms work because they allow advertisers to reach addressable audiences in real time. The key to even greater success is to achieve this type of one-to-one engagement across all devices and channels.
3. More Consumers Are Considering Ad Blockers
Speaking of the need for addressability, consumers are sick and tired of being inundated by ads that are irrelevant to their needs and shopping habits. As a result, more of them are blocking ads: The report found 92% of 3,200 Internet users surveyed said they’d consider using an ad blocker, and 62% said they are annoyed by pre-roll ads.
In essence, consumers are holding advertisers to higher standards this year. Marketers who can’t target the right person with real-time customer knowledge and meaningful content will go unheard.
4. E-Commerce Sales Continue to Grow
Online shopping is now an integral part of consumers’ lives. According to Meeker, the percentage of retail sales that took place online increased from 8% in 2014 to more than 10% in 2015, totaling more than $340 billion. As more consumers shift their shopping preferences to the digital world, both marketers and brands need to evolve. From shopping experiences to customer service interactions to online advertising, the entire experience should be seamless, helpful and timely for the customer.
5. Video is on the Rise
In 2015, consumers were huge fans of video content. Meeker’s report revealed video views per day on Facebook increased from 1 billion in the third quarter of 2014 to 8 billion in the third quarter of 2015. And this growth isn’t just happening on Facebook, either. According to data from ZenithOptima, daily time spent watching online video is expected to grow 19.8% in 2016. Today’s online users are pickier than ever: They want to consume content in the format they enjoy most, and they expect it to be personalized, too. Today, marketers must ensure video content is relevant to the audience it is targeted to. In some cases, advertisers are even able to tailor videos layering a personalized message over the content.
6. Consumers Are More Concerned About Privacy
Of course, as more of our experiences shift to the digital world, consumers are increasingly focused on the privacy of their data. According to the report, [tweetable]45% of people are more worried about their online privacy than they were one year ago[/tweetable], and 74% have limited their online activity in the past year due to privacy concerns. The good news, though, is that consumers are willing to share their data with brands that respect their privacy and that use this information
to deliver experiences that make their lives easier. Datafrom the Columbia Business School found that 75% of participants were willing to share their personal information with brands they trust in exchange for a product or service they value.
If Mary Meeker’s annual report proves anything, it’s that consumer preferences and behaviors are constantly changing. In the digital age, marketers must be equipped with the tools and strategies to adapt and always deliver relevant, memorable experiences.
Originally published June 14, 2016