Mary Meeker’s annual internet trend publication was published last week. The publication offers key insights based on hard data and research across the web, mobile, TV, social more. Brands can utilize these findings to better inform their marketing efforts, content strategies and ad planning in 2014.

Trend Highlights

Internet user growth has declined, but mobile data continues to grow significantly

  • Internet user growth has slowed down to below 10 percent
  • Mobile data traffic continues to accelerate up 81 percent year-over-year thanks to video consumption

Apps have evolved and unbundled

  • Users want quick, straight-forward apps that contribute to a single purpose which has led to unbundling
  • Hailing a cab (Uber), finding local businesses (Yelp), booking a hotel room (Airbnb), navigating traffic (Waze), Listening to music (Spotify), controlling television (Amazon) are all single purpose apps

Facebook is still leading in social traffic referrals

  • Facebook is still leading in traffic referrals despite rising new social channels
  • BuzzFeed and Huffington Post dominate on Facebook, while the BBC and New York Times rule Twitter

TV still surpasses mobile but viewing behavior has shifted  

  • There are 5.5 billion global TV users compared to 5.2 billion mobile phone users but consumers are shifting toward multi-platform use
    • 66% of U.S. tablet owners are surfing the web while watching TV

Consumers share content in the moment  

  • Real-time uploading and sharing solutions, increased reliance on smartphone cameras and faster data speeds has led toward a significant growth in user-generated content

The value of big data in advertising

  • As YouTube and other channels collect data on how users engage with ads, Google continues to improve the user experience and advertiser ROI
  • Google TrueView is raising the bar for advertisers to grab users’ attention, making ads higher in quality and shorter

What This Means

Mobile is our connection to the world

Mobile devices provide inexpensive web connectivity that allows for greater penetration and access to information. The advent of single purpose apps is connecting us beyond the web to meet real world needs and wants. Brands can win by providing access to a single action that is inherently useful to the consumer.

Native advertising is the path to greatest social reach and engagement

With publisher content gaining larger share of organic views on social channels and thus social referrals, paid media takes on greater importance. Brands can no longer rely solely on organic content in order to sustain engagement, they need to look to paid engagement and working directly with publishers to create content to gain share and reach.

Traditional advertising must rethink the approach to multi-platform viewing

Multi-platform viewing and social behavior will push traditional advertising (TV, Print, Media) to move towards an interaction model over a push model. As people look toward new channels like OnDemand, Hulu and YouTube on mobile and tablets, they will expect the engagement to match the device behaviors. We may see a shift from sitting through :15 or :30 pre-roll ads to actions that are social, measurable and allow the user to get to their content faster.

Further Readings

This article was authored by Zach Pospisil and Katie Brown in our Chicago office.

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