Mary Meeker's Web 2.0 Presentation, or How to Turn the Worst of Times Into the Best of Times
The presentation that Kleiner Perkins’ Mary Meeker made earlier this week at Web 2.0 has been making the rounds, as well it should. The slide that best summed up the state of our world, was #65 (out of 67). It said simply:
Economy – Often darkest before dawn. At least we know what the problems are. Now we need the resolve to fix them. Across-the-board sacrifice needed. (Editor’s note: Which we’re so good at!)
Tech industry – Wow! Unprecedented times! If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs …”*
*Rudyard Kipling - “If”
Or maybe we should quote a little Dickens, and translate this slide to: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” But go through the slides, and you may just discover how to turn the latter into the former.
The reason I bring this slide up is because, in looking through the presentation, it becomes clear that if advertisers can turn their gaze away from the car crash that is the economy, there’s still great opportunity in investing ad budgets in technology, because that’s where the money is going, and where the diverging roads of the economy and the tech industry just might come together. The facts that are truly eye-popping in Meeker’s presentation are the ones about mobile – particularly smartphone penetration – and commerce.
- E-commerce has outpaced U.S. retail sales for the last year, and didn’t suffer nearly the decline back in 2009 that sales overall did. While retail sales rose roughly 7 % (surprising, I know), e-commerce rose 15 %. Yeah, about twice as much.
- Gross mobile sales have increased fourfold in the last two years at eBay; threefold at Paypal, twofold at Amazon; and one-and-a-half fold at Target.
- When asked to describe why they decided to purchase online, 52 % of U.S. smartphone users said it was because they found a better price online; 51 % said it was because they found a better price at another store.
- As it was with radio during the Great Depression, Internet and smartphone penetration have continued to grow at crazy trajectories throughout the current downturn – with mobile demonstrating the sharpest growth curve of all.
- Pandora (60%) and Twitter (55%) get more than half their traffic from mobile devices. (Facebook is at 33%)
Entangled within the presentation are also the newest numbers that support what everyone in digital is well too aware of: that ad spending in digital media still vastly lags how much time consumers spend with it. When you layer that fact onto the huge growth in mobile commerce, you wonder why advertisers aren’t more willing to put their money where the transactions are. TV, despite 800 numbers, and the best efforts of cable providers to push addressable advertising, can’t do that. Some more facts -- or are they punchlines?
- As U.S. TV viewership stagnates at 43 % of overall media consumption time, the amount of money spent on TV is at 43 % – and growing. In the U.S. people spend 25% of their time on the Internet, and yet still (still!) 19% of ad dollars are spent there. In print and radio, the disconnect is even nuttier. While readership of print is at 8%, 27 % of budgets are still being spent there; 16% of time is spent listening to radio, and dropping, but spending is holding steady at 11%.
- Given the rapid ascension of the smartphone, in mobile the gap is much more noticeable. People spend 8% (only?) of their time on their phones, and marketers spend .5% of their budgets there.
If you’re an advertiser. look at the facts before you, and try to understand what they say: if you invest in online media, and get in early on mobile, you can take advantage not only of the eyeballs that are increasingly gravitating to those platforms, but also, in a bottom-line driven world (made more so during the Great Recession), to something far more impactful: sales.
How should marketers start reallocating budgets? Look at this presentation and repeat after me: “Well, duh.”