Jun 10

Meeker Trends Report: Technology a Game-Changer for Social and Digital Marketing

MENLO PARK, Calif. – The 2018 Internet Trends Report compiled by Mary Meeker, venture capitalist and attorney at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, is out and there are plenty of tidbits for marketers looking to capitalize.

Meeker, who’s has been immersed in the tech industry since the early 1980s, covers plenty of ground, from mobile ads to privacy and from online spending to media consumption. The big theme is technology – its growth is changing the playing field for anyone who wants to make buck in the 21st century.  

Meeker says the speed of technological disruption is accelerating to an almost dizzying pace. It took about 80 years for Americans to adopt the dishwasher, but the consumer internet became commonplace in less than 10 years. 

Tech companies are becoming a larger part of U.S. business – now accounting for 25 percent of U.S. market capitalization; and they’re behind the growing share of corporate research and development and capital spending.

What’s more, big tech is competing on more fronts. Google is expanding from an ads platform to a commerce platform via Google Home Ordering, while Amazon continues its move into advertising.

She predicts technology will also disrupt how we work. Just as Americans moved from agriculture to services in the 1900s, employment types will again be in flux – this time with more on-demand and internet-related jobs likely to predominate.

Here are some other, more specific takeaways: 

  • People are increasing the amount of time they spend online. U.S. adults spent 5.9 hours per day on digital media in 2017, up from 5.6 hours the year prior. Some 3.3 of those hours were spent on mobile.
  • Growth continues in internet advertising. While percent of time spent in media and percent of ad spend declined in print, radio, and TV, Meeker identified a $7 billion opportunity in ad spend in mobile as time spent was up 29 percent and ad spend was up just 26 percent.
  • E-commerce sales growth continues to accelerate. It grew 16 percent in the U.S. in 2017, up from 14-percent growth in 2016. And Amazon is taking a bigger share of those sales – 28 percent last year.
  • Search is changing. Now, 49 percent of product searches start at Amazon, while 36 percent start on a search engine. What’s more, Amazon is better poised to capitalize on those searches with features like one-click purchasing, which encourage consumers to use Amazon to fulfill orders that result from those searches. Product search on Google, on the other hand, usually takes consumers away from Google, so others fulfill orders.
  • Voice-controlled products like Amazon Echo are taking off. The Echo’s installed base in the U.S. grew from 20 million in third-quarter 2017 to more than 30 million in the fourth quarter. 
  • Physical retail sales are continuing to decline, while mobile payments are becoming easier to complete. China continues to lead the rest of the world in mobile payment adoption, with more than 500 million active mobile payment users in 2017.
  • The way consumers discover products is also changing, fueled in part by social media, which now regularly features ads in feeds. Facebook leads the way with 78 percent of survey respondents saying they have discovered products on the platform, followed by Instagram and Pinterest with 59 percent, Twitter with 34 percent, and Snap with 22 percent. 
  • China is catching up as a hub to the world’s biggest internet companies. Currently, China is home to nine of the world’s 20 biggest internet companies by market cap, while the U.S. has 11. Five years ago, China had two and the U.S. had nine. 
  • Immigration remains important for U.S. tech companies. More than half of the most highly valued tech companies in the U.S. are founded by first- or second-generation immigrants. Uber, Tesla, WeWork, and Wish all have first-generation founders. 

On the issue of privacy, Meeker says tech companies are facing a “privacy paradox” – meaning they’re caught between using data to provide better consumer experiences and violating consumers’ privacy. She adds that internet companies must understand the unintended consequences of their products and that regulators must understand the unintended consequences of regulation.

“But it’s irresponsible to stop innovation and progress,” she added.

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