Mary Meeker's annual 'Internet Trends' report is one of the most anticipated and influential documents in the tech industry - if you've ever seen a presentation by anyone on what's coming in future, no doubt the Internet Trends report was used as a reference point. Meeker, a venture capitalist and partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has been heavily involved in the tech industry since the early 80's, giving her significant insight and oversight into the evolution of the web and its subsequent offshoots.
So what does the future have in store for the web, and social media specifically? The 2016 Internet Trends report has just been released.
Here are some of the key findings:
Global internet usage grew 9% this year to reach 42% penetration of the world population - though year-on-year usage growth was flat. The only exception to this was India, where internet usage is up 40%. Now reaching more than 277 million users, India has passed the U.S. to become the number 2 global user market, behind China.
Online advertising continues to rise, driven largely by increased mobile ad spend.
Facebook and Google are leading the way on this front, with the two web giants holding a 76% share of internet advertising growth - with Facebook rising much faster than their older rival.
As Meeker's noted in previous reports, there's still a significant over-indexing of ad spend on "legacy media" - and despite the aforementioned growth, mobile remains a huge opportunity.
Meeker notes that while Google has proven online advertising can be effective, there are still many internet users who are annoyed and/or put off by ads, particularly video pre-roll ads. Meeker notes that the keys to making effective online ads are by making them:
- Evoke emotion
- Viewer controlled
- Work with sound off
Meeker also highlights Snapchat's '3V' ads as an effective option (Snapchat also got specific mention in the 2015 report), highlighting two examples which have generated strong results.
There's also the continued growth of adblocking software, which is an ongoing concern for online advertisers (and even more reason for brands to ensure they're aligning with what their community wants).
Meeker also looks at how brands are starting to get a better understanding of the marketing potential of Snapchat and live-streaming, using the recent 'Chewbacca Mom' as an example of the latter.
And then there's live sports viewing - with Twitter recently winning the rights to broadcast live NFL matches, Meeker predicts this could lead to a significant shift in how we consume sports entertainment.
Meeker also highlights the ongoing growth of images on social, and the monetization potential of visual content - highlighting the use of Pinterest for shopping (which is particularly interesting given Pinterest's latest efforts to advance their image search functionality)
The report also looks at the growth in messaging, and in commerce via message, using one example from Thailand, where users discover products on Instagram then purchase via Line.
And this is just scratching the surface of the full depth of Meeker's report - in addition to this, the report also looks at the growth of voice assistants like Siri (65% of US Smartphone users now use voice assistants), advances in car computing and automated driving, the growth of the internet in China and advances in data use and data security.
The full deck is a whopping 213 slides, but it's well worth taking the time to go through in detail to get your head around the latest advances and trends to be aware of.
The full Mark Meeker Internet Trends 2016 report can be viewed here.