Mary Meeker's Annual Internet Trends Report And What Search Marketers Should Know

Mary Meeker released her 2019 Internet Trends report at Recode's Code Conference on Tuesday, covering all things digital, from the slowing growth of internet users and smartphone unit shipments to the possible impact of privacy changes on ad targeting.

Meeker once again produced this year’s report, although she left her long-time position at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in April to start Bond Capital, a tech investment fund, which has already raised more than $1.25 billion and also produced this year’s report.

New platforms such as Amazon, Twitter and Pinterest — which collectively generated six times the amount of year-over-year growth since 2017  —continue to emerge as the core for internet ad spending, but Google and Facebook still continue to see steady growth.

There were a few firsts in this report that impact search marketers. Americans spent more time on their mobile devices than they did watching TV. A 2019 estimate suggests adults spent an average of 226 minutes on their phones compared with 216 minutes on TV. Ten years ago, mobile took 20 minutes and TV took 266 minutes daily.



In 2018, the report found approximately 3.8 billion people — 51% globally — connect to the internet, up from 3.6 billion or 49% in 2017. Asia-Pacific leads with users and potential, with China the largest market at 21% of total internet and users, India with 12%, and the U.S. with 8%.

Meeker said ecommerce and online advertising is “solid,” but growth continues to slow. Ecommerce saw a 12.4% increase in the first quarter of 2019, compared with 12.1% in the fourth quarter of 2018.   

The report also compares the amount of time spent with online media spent with the amount of advertising dollars spent. Mobile hit equilibrium in 2018, while desktop hit equilibrium in 2015.

Marketers spent more on internet advertising in 2018 at 22%, but when analyzing the top companies in terms of reported annual revenue results, internet advertising revenue continues to decline, which means the funds are being dispersed to a variety of companies.

Programmatic ad buying continues to make gains compared with direct ad buying. Meeker said this has been negatively impacting pricing.

Better targeting, new creatives, integrated commerce and highly relevant ads continue to drive performance and share.

The cost to acquire customers continues to rise, especially in highly competitive markets such as mobile finance apps and can exceed the lifetime value of that relationship with the consumer.

Overall, Americans spent more time with digital media — about 6.3 hours daily in 2018, up 7% from the year prior. Most growth came from mobile and other connected devices, while time spent on computers has declined.

When search marketers think about the copy in their ads, they should consider promoting free trials and free tiers.

Meeker said one of the best examples of the free trial offer comes from Spotify with their free user conversion-to-paid subscriber offer. Zoom also launches a similar marketing campaign. She also mentioned recommendations. In my opinion, consumer recommendations are many times skewed toward the happy customer.

I recently wrote two detailed product reviews, one on Amazon and the other on Traeger Grills. Both were never posted, but detail the truth under each company’s guidelines. The Traeger post contained a major product flaw that could become a health issue for consumers.

Meeker also ran through other data that is pertinent to search marketers such as online platforms like YouTube and Instagram.

Digital video rose to 28% in 2018, compared with 25% in 2017. Short-form videos on Facebook doubled in the past year to 1.5 billion. About 70 million podcast listeners, up about double in four years, and about 47 million Amazon Echo devices, about double in the past year.

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