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Last week Mary Meeker delivered her annual Internet Trends, which has become its own content phenomena at almost 800k views. While each year, her expert share-out is eagerly anticipated and widely followed, it’s a mere 294 slides.

While unsurprising in key themes, her perspective and related data sewn together provides further support to what we’ve known for some time as truth and even more substantiation to the strategies we build with our brand partners.

After more than a decade of treating digital as ‘new’, Meeker kicked off by asserting that digital should now be viewed as table stakes versus a marketing differentiator. Instead, we should be doubling down on customer obsession by smartly leveraging consumer insight fueled by advanced analytics to proactively deliver innovative, yet more meaningful content and experiences.

Below, are a few areas that will increasingly impact your day-to-day as marketers and open up more opportunities to effectively connect.


While it may not seem possible for us to spend even more time online, we most definitely keep finding ways to connect while facing a screen. U.S. adults are spending 6 hours online each day, over half of that is now on mobile.

In turn, there’s increased mobile video views, as well as messaging platform use. If previously deemed as non-essential to a marketing plan in the past, now is the time to revisit as these are quickly becoming the go-to must-haves for brands.

While mobile use has grown, advertising has not kept pace. Meeker identified a $7 billion opportunity gap in ad spend in mobile as time spent was up 29% and ad spend was only up 26%. The obvious outtake – encourage increased allocation.

As the masses heard Meeker, and are already mobilizing the money to align with a mobile-only future, stepping back to strategically assess spend across a cleverly orchestrated connections strategy that speaks to each audience’s needs will set brands apart.

Photo Credit: KPCB


More mobile, interactive and personalized than ever before, e-commerce sales growth continues, increasing 16% in the US in 2017. Unsurprisingly, Amazon took a bigger chunk of those sales while witnessing the ongoing decline of physical retail stores.

While easy to keep a focus on the B2C impact and retail disruption provoked by Amazon’s might, no industry will be left untouched. How can we look out one, two, five years ahead to anticipate where seemingly, less impacted categories will be by then and how can we help lift the blinders today to start building out the future state?


Search is undoubtedly a key part of a consumer’s product discovery process, but the act of first Googling has shifted more to Amazon-ing. The ‘where’ is increasingly important as indicated by an incredible 900% growth in queries including “near me” over the last 2 years. Quick and accurate responses that answer our personal requests as desired is the expectation. Understanding the local marketing opportunities and translating them into actionable strategies that move people closer to both the brand and the location will be critical.


With social media penetration at an all-time high (1/3 US consumers), we are spending more time – 135 minutes – on social every day as part of our daily content discovery habit. Social is “enabling more efficient product discovery in commerce” with almost 80% of 18-to-34 year olds having bought a product online after discovery via social media. An upward trend of social networks driving referral traffic (6%) to e-commerce sites is proving the business value of social beyond upper funnel awareness marketing.


The human threshold for speech recognition accuracy is 95%, as is Google’s Machine Learning. Mainstream adoption of smart speakers and voice assistants is taking off and developers are already busy pushing through to the next advancements in how we shop, listen to music, get our news, and more.

Half of searches on the web are expected to shift over to voice over the next 5 years. Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that when shoppers who are making a first-time voice purchase via Alexa without specifying a brand, over 50% of its first recommendations are products from the Amazon’s Choice algorithm, especially in CPG. How will this disrupt brand loyalty when those recommendations do not align with what the consumer’s initial brand consideration set?


While more data becomes accessible, experiences will become more personalized by connecting the right data and consumer insight to drive experience strategy and design.

Meeker asserts that we are all facing a “privacy paradox”, caught between using data to provide better, more personalized experiences that consumers value (and exchange their data to receive) while adapting to shifts in regulatory scrutiny in order to prevent the risk of violating consumer privacy.

A clear value exchange for providing their data is something we need to fully embrace in order to make use of the right data for those hand-raising consumers. Seeing that consumers are taking action to address their data privacy concerns, how do we make sure consumers feel more secure and even savvier about their settings when they actively engage and willingly provide information in exchange for more personalized value from a brand?


When measuring ad performance, marketers consider lifetime value to be the primary metric, moving well beyond traffic, impressions, even brand recognition, they are focused on looking at the longer-term impact of marketing initiatives. It’s surprising how often marketers work on briefs without clear or aligned objectives, if any, with a client. And without those program-specific metrics, how can we demonstrate our analytical savvy to prove out how those contribute to lifetime value?

To learn more on shifts in consumer spending and rising debt as well as explore other themes such as how China is killing it across the board (AI, tech, commerce, video), the consumerization of healthcare, shifting gears to on-demand driving, working on demand, easing enterprise engagement, lifelong learning, rise of AI and more, please click through to Meeker’s full Internet Trends report.

Author: Anne Serr, VP/Group Director, Consumer Intelligence Lead, Digitas