Every year, one of the most highly anticipated presentations is the annual Internet Trends Report by Mary Meekers. This report is highly detailed and uncovers some of the key trends, stats and implications of the state of internet marketing.
The entire report (embedded below) is over 280 pages – I settled in with a very large coffee to read, re-read and digest the content, and I wanted to share with you my top takeaways for marketers and businesses.
Product Finding is about Amazon and Google
Product finding is about where you go to find a product that you want to buy. More and more, people start this search with Amazon. While many businesses think that if they don’t sell on Amazon they don’t have an opportunity that isn’t true. Amazon has a HUGE advertising platform that meets a variety of business objectives.
After Amazon is Google – search still matters. With all the distractions of Social and Programmatic many businesses forget that blocking and tackling on Facebook is still the most important part of your success when finding motivated and interested buyers.
Product Discovery is an Opportunity – Especially for Social
Product discovery is like the checkout aisle of a Target store – the idea is to entice you with something you never knew you wanted when you aren’t even looking for it.
Social media is great for product discovery because we have so much data to find the exact right audience for our products. This space is getting more:
Ecommerce is Big and Still Growing with Upside
Ecommerce is big but still has LOTS of growth opportunities. It continues to take share away from traditional retail across a variety of categories and industries. Ecommerce is evolving to become more seamless and simple for consumers. Most of the innovation here focuses around reducing complexity and making it easier for people to buy. We see platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram have integrated shopping, but it doesn’t seem to have made a big impact.
- Reducing friction from every part of the online shopping experience – from buying to delivery to returns is key to success.
- Winners in the space are creating ease.
- As e-stores become easy to setup with Shopify and similar services there is still tremendous potential.
- Integration is key – customer service, returns, fraud, security, delivery…
Measurement Matters More as Costs Rise
As online advertising gets bigger shares of budgets the cost to advertise online also goes up. Businesses have seen an steady increase in online ad costs over the last 5 years.
To combat this, marketers are getting more sophisticated in their measurement to justify the higher costs. We see an increase in using lifetime value to measure results.
We also see an increase in ad platforms trying to bring businesses closer to the bottom of the funnel and real results to justify higher investments. For example Facebook has conversion focused ad objectives where you only pay for conversions.
The bottom line is that single purchase and last click attribution won’t get us very far in understanding the impact of our online marketing, so more complex models are being used.
Personalization Drives Satisfaction
Personalization is a big driver in customer satisfaction. Across industries we see more and more personalization – from media to ecommerce to retail.
The key to improving personalization over time is Data + AI. Big players are integrating this into everything they do – from Chatbots to recommendations to product features. Amazon uses the “flywheel” to improve based on data over time.
Technology Companies are the Big Innovators
Tech companies are outspending most other industries in their investments in R&D and innovation. Traditionally, healthcare, pharma, discretionary and utility organizations were the big spenders. Now it is tech – and they are out-innovating some of the big players in traditional industries. For example Google is playing with self-driving cars – out-innovating the big car manufacturers.
If you want to pay attention to the future of innovation, follow the tech companies – they are the ones investing.
Word of Mouth Matters
In the early days of social media and online marketing word-of-mouth was king. As we got more caught up in optimization and advertising marketers have focused less and less on word-of-mouth online. That being said, it is still a very powerful way to drive sales. The biggest challenge is that you can’t always see it (much like traditional offline word of mouth) since many social networks (like Facebook) are private.
The data shows that word-of-mouth is on the rise in driving sales online sales. It is likely true that the same is true for offline sales. You can’t afford to ignore word-of-mouth.
The Workforce is Changing = Flexibility
The workforce is becoming more flexible. First workers most want flexibility, vacation time and the opportunity to work from home. These are becoming more and more important.
On-demand jobs are growing rapidly – where employers can find the resource they need and use it only when they need it vs. maintaining employees.
Technology is improving remote working.
Second, it is easier for employees to find freelance opportunities – and technology is powering this.
Consider how you remain relevant to the demands of more empowered workforces.
Mobile Remains an Untapped Opportunity
When looking at time spent vs. ad $$ spent mobile still rises to the top as the biggest opportunity. There is a $7 BILLION gap in advertising opportunity which you can look at 2 ways. First – there is still growth but Second, this is an opportunity for businesses to still get in early while it is cheaper before budgets have evened out (which they do over time).
INVEST IN MOBILE EVERYTHING!!!
Get Global – CHINA is the Big Fish
China is big and growing as the economy booms and innovation drives. China is not often considered as innovative as Americans often think of cheap production and knock-off products. The reality is that China is highly innovative when it comes to technology and many of the biggest tech players are now Chinese.
Pay attention to China – Alibaba is the ecommerce leader. In social networks Chinese networks have more functionality and integrations than Facebook.
The Chinese government is even investing in AI and more Chinese have advanced degrees vs. Americans.
Lifelong Learning = The Key to Career Success
Technology is changing the world quicker than ever before.
More and more business professionals are becoming professional learners – they realize that they need to keep their skills on the leading edge to stay ahead.
Smart employers have “future ready” training programs like AT&T that focus on how to create a dynamic workforce that can adapt to the rate of change needed for success. Retraining is the key to success, and large organizations are adapting to this mindset.
Employees need to make the shift as well and become more fluid.
View the Full Report Below