Mary Meeker’s annual internet trends report informs digital strategies the world over – so what are the big learnings for digital advertisers this year?
For me, the key takeaways from Mary’s 196 slides can be summed up in three words: mobile; video, and Asia. Here’s why.
For marketers, Mary’s message is that it’s time for ad spend to catch up with the behavior of the consumer – and that means moving ad dollars to mobile. Consumers’ attention has undeniably shifted from print, desktop, even TV, towards their mobile devices, and there is a massive disparity between time spent on mobile and ad spend on mobile.
Take the chart that shows time spent across different media, where print media takes up just 4% of consumer’s time, but laps up 18% of ad spend. TV has 37% of digital media attention, but takes up 41% of ad spend.
Mobile on the other hand has 24% of our media consumption time (the only channel that’s grown this year, by the way), but commands just 8% of ad spend. Meeker values this ad spend opportunity at $25bn or more.
The brands that wise up to this shift first, and work out the best way to connect with consumers via their phones, will have a head start on all those brands still persevering with older media – blowing five-figure sums on the ever-dwindling number of magazine readers, and seven-figure sums on TV watchers (who mostly check their smartphones during commercial breaks).
Bringing ads to the eyeballs on mobile requires the right ad formats. And Meeker says it’s no coincidence that it’s the big internet players – Facebook, Pinterest, Google, Snapchat – that are driving innovation around mobile video and native ad formats.
Facebook recently reported 4bn video views per day, with over 75% of those views coming from a mobile device.
The presence of the likes of Facebook in mobile video, with its immense user base all ready to go, shows that the key to building out the mobile advertising ecosystem will be the development and adoption of video and native ad formats that have scale globally.
Such formats will trigger more brand spend and close up that mobile ad spend gap.
Google believes that mobile video holds the key to future brand advertising, and reaching core audience groups such as 18-35 year olds, who spend more time on mobile devices than any other media. And according to eMarketer, mobile video is experiencing rapid growth, due to larger mobile global video audiences on smartphones and tablets. It’s only a matter of time before brands start incorporating mobile video into their cross-device campaigns and access to global ad budgets.
Video has always been the most powerful way to connect with consumers – people don’t remember great banner ads. Video advertising has the power to make people laugh, cry – in short, engage emotionally – in a way that no other format can.
And if you couple that emotional engagement with the device that the average person looks at every 6.5 minutes (according to Nokia), you’ve got an always-on connection with the most personal device consumers own. Mobile web traffic has already exceeded desktop. Video viewing will catch up too.
While countries in the West are fast becoming ‘mobile first’, there are some nations in Asia that are already there. Indeed, in several Asian nations, the TV is now ranked as the fourth screen.
We should look to China and South East Asia for a steer on future consumer behavior and internet trends across the world, and for the innovative companies that are providing for Asian consumers right now.
Asian companies dominate app creation – six of the top 10 app creation companies are from Asia – five from China and one from Japan. And Asia also boasts the second- and third-biggest handset manufacturers in the world (Korea’s Samsung and China’s Xiaomi respectively).
From the users’ side, mobile is changing social and business life in Asia.
Meeker highlights messaging app WeChat as a case in point. A recent documentary about China’s smog problem achieved 200m views within three days of its release. An incredible 41% of those views came through WeChat.
China clearly has the tech resources, the mobile-first consumer culture and the critical mass to produce the next big idea that changes the world. We’d do well to keep an eye on what internet trends are going on out East.
Mary Meeker’s findings on internet trends make one thing clear: looking to Asia, in tech terms, means looking at mobile.
And in an increasingly mobile-first world, mobile is becoming a bona fide screen for video – the opportunity for brands across the world to engage with consumers wherever they are is immense.