Mary Meeker, founder of venture capital firm Bond Capital and former Kleiner Perkins general partner, recently released her highly-anticipated 2019 Internet trends report, a slide deck she has produced since 1995 covering the state of global technology in the business world.
The report provides more data than ever — weighing in at 333 slides, topping last year’s count of 280 — and presents plenty for B2B marketers to think about when strategizing and planning budgets as we push towards 2020.
Let’s dig in and take a look at some of the insights relevant to B2B marketers contained in the new Meeker report.
General Challenges & Opportunities Ahead
The report paints a picture of a world where it’s more challenging than ever to find new growth in certain areas, but one that also shows very real opportunities in others, as we’ll explore.
Among the general trends in the report, new usage and monetization opportunities are seen for:
- Digital video
- Voice — with some 47 million Amazon Echo devices now in use
- Freemium business models
- Data-driven tools that create improved communications
Meeker summed up the current state of e-commerce and online advertising as “solid, but slowing growing,” and also highlighted increasing Internet usage overload concerns.
Fewer Smartphones Being Shipped
The report reveals slowing growth of both smartphone unit shipments and overall Internet user numbers, with smartphone sales down 4% worldwide.
With some 3.8 billion people now online — more than half of the world’s population — the report points out that new growth is harder to find than it once was.
Time Spent in Media Versus Advertising Spending
For the first time U.S. adults spent more time on mobile devices — 226 minutes daily, or over 3.5 hours — than watching television — 216 minutes, up sharply from a decade back when TV sat at 266 minutes and mobile only 20.
This translates to more mobile opportunities for marketers, and places optimizing customer experiences and conversions for mobile audiences front and center for campaigns seeking to capitalize on this continuing trend.
We’ve explored mobile-first tactics in several articles, including:
- Three Crucial Truths for Engaging Your Audience on Mobile, by Joshua Nite
- Q1’s a Wrap, B2B Marketers: Where We’ve Been & What’s Next in 2019, by Caitlin Burgess
- Explore, Experience, Engage: 6 Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2019, by our CEO Lee Odden
Accelerating Internet Advertising Spending
Mobile advertising spending has also seen continued growth according to the Meeker report.
Amazon & Others Seeing More Rapid Gains Than Google & Facebook
Since the first quarter of 2017, advertising revenue for a combined group of Amazon, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest increased by 2.6 times, a greater increase than seen over the same timeframe by either Google (1.4x) or Facebook (1.9x).
New competition and regulatory hurdles such as those relating to data privacy have affected the dominance of Google and Facebook, with certain industry privacy changes having a possible impact on targeted advertising, according to the report.
Internet advertising dollars are shown to have been spent by a more diverse selection of firms, with pricing in general negatively affected by programmatic ad buying.
Marketers looking to expand the reach of their campaigns beyond Google and Facebook can find insight from the following pieces we’ve recently posted:
- B2B Social Media Shakeup: 4 Developments That Have Caught Our Eye, by Caitlin Burgess
- Over 50 Top Social Media Marketing Blogs, by Lee Odden
- The Top 50 Social Media Marketing Influencers in 2019
Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest & Twitter Show Strengths
The Meeker report pointed to several factors as contributing to advertising share gains, including Facebook’s targeting and audience customization, Twitter’s high-relevance and promoted tweets, Pinterest’s commerce and shoppable catalogs, and YouTube’s machine learning and automatically time-edited clips.
We’ve looked specifically at Twitter in these recent articles:
- The Impact of Twitter’s Proposed Shakeup on Marketers and Influencers, by Nick Nelson
- Why Twitter Lists Are Still a Great Tool for B2B Marketers
- Will Twitter Succeed in Defeating Trolls? The Stakes for Marketers, by Nick Nelson
Digital Media Usage Time At All-Time High
The amount of time U.S. adults spend using digital media has grown to 6.3 hours per day, with the most rapid rise coming among mobile devices.
Technology Firms Dominate Global Business
Global investment in technology companies has continued to grow.
The list of the top 30 global Internet market capitalization leading firms includes Twitter (up 173% from 2016), Facebook (up 46%), Google parent Alphabet (up %49), and is led by *LinkedIn parent Microsoft, at a market capitalization value of over $1 trillion, up 146%.
Global Social Media Platform Usage
Although global social media platform usage has seen relatively few changes since last year, the rise of YouTube stands out.
In 2018 digital video climbed to 28%, up some 25% from 2017, with the number of short-form videos on YouTube doubling over the past year to hit some 1.5 billion.
Our team has examined the power of video in storytelling for marketers on YouTube and other channels in several recent pieces, including these:
- Spotlighting Organic Social Media Video Success: Your Guide to Metrics and Specs, by Debbie Friez
- Where Do Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn Stand With B2B Video? by Nick Nelson
- Twitter Has Renewed its Live Video Push & Here’s What You Need to Know, by Nick Nelson
More Images & Video Driving E-Commerce
More images are being created and shared than ever according to the report, and an example from Instagram shows the trend towards e-commerce, especially when combined with video in the popular “stories” format.
We’ve looked at Instagram for B2B marketing in the following articles:
- What You Need to Know About Instagram Stories for B2B Marketing, by Nick Nelson
- How 5 B2B Brands Are Using Snapchat and Instagram Stories, by Anne Leuman
- 8 Examples of Brands Using Instagram to Showcase Company Culture, by Caitlin Burgess
Freemium Models Showing Strong Results
Marketers looking to put some of the insights from the report into practice may want to look at the success the report data shows for free trials, free tiers, and freemium models in general, which could be especially relevant to those in the financial tech and enterprise software industries.
Firms including Slack, Dropbox, SurveyMonkey and Wix have seen success with freemium enterprise collaboration services, the report data shows.
“Slack recently launched Fair Billing Policy and it makes our customers say ‘Wow, that’s amazing.‘ They’ll tweet about it, tell their friends about it. They’ll be very happy with us. They’ll be much more likely to renew. They have a positive impression. That positive impression, obviously, makes a huge difference.” — Stewart Butterfield, Slack Founder & CEO
“Giving people legitimate value before asking them to pay can be a really useful strategy for any company wanting widespread adoption.” — Melanie Perkins – Canva Co-Founder & CEO
Targeting Those Who Are Online Almost Constantly
More people consider themselves online “almost constantly” than ever before, according to the report, highlighting opportunity for marketers to provide the type of always-on and relevant information customers are now seeking, as we looked at recently in “Why Always-On Is Always Better for Driving B2B Influencer Marketing Success,” and in “Better Together: Why Your Content Marketing Campaigns & Always-On Programs Should Work in Harmony.”
More Data Brings Funneling Challenges While Online Learning Grows
More data than ever is being generated, creating more opportunities for those able to successfully comb through it. Managing data has been an ongoing challenge, which is one of the reasons why digital asset management (DAM) technology has become increasingly in demand, as I explored recently in “Why Digital Asset Management Matters in B2B Marketing.”
“Data is now fundamental to how people work and the most successful companies have intelligently integrated it into everyone’s daily workflow. Data is the new application.” — Frank Bien, Looker CEO & President
The report shows that online education has also seen continued growth, including firms such as Udemy, one of 10 we recently listed in “10 Free Online Courses to Optimize Your Marketing Skills.”
“Since most of our students learn in order to advance at work, we have also focused on building an enterprise solution with over 3,000 curated courses that focus on business-relevant skills. This has been one of the fastest-growing portions of our business, with customers growing +13x since 2015.” — Eren Bali, Udemy Co-Founder
The Meeker report shows that 59% of Gen Z users say YouTube is their preferred learning tool, and with 4.5 billion hours of viewing time each year dedicated to the platform’s “how-to” videos alone, it’s little wonder.
Customer Acquisition Costs Near Unsustainability
The report also shows customer acquisition costs have continued to rise, sometimes rising to unsustainable levels and topping the lifetime value of the relationship.
Maintaining existing customers has become a priority for many marketers, and we’ve looked at what it takes to provide the kind of best-answer solutions to keep clients happy in several recent articles, including these:
- Trust Factors: How Best Answer Content Fuels Brand Credibility, by Nick Nelson
- How A Best Answer Content Strategy Drives B2B Marketing Results, by Lee Odden
- Power Pages and Best Answer Content: Should You Go Long or Short Form? by Lee Odden
Podcasts, Interactive Gaming, Encryption & Data Collection
The closely-watched report shows that podcast audiences have doubled over the past four years to reach the 70 million listener mark.
Interactive gaming was shown to have had strong growth in the report, with firms such as Fortnite and its 250 million active users utilizing in-game events blurring the line between gaming and social platform, contributing to 6% growth in interactive game players globally, reaching 2.4 billion in 2018.
The implementation of encryption was also highlighted in the report, bolstered by growth of messaging services from firms including Telegram and WhatsApp.
Strong data collection, and analysis that helps with customer personalization, drive success at many global firms, according to the report.
During the first quarter of 2019 e-commerce increased by 12.4%, a slight quickening of pace from the 12.1% seen during the final quarter of 2018, and e-commerce now accounts for some 15% or total retail purchases.
Turn Data Trends Into Action
With so many insights contained in the sizable 2019 Meeker trends report, we hope our selection of those most relevant to B2B marketers will help as you move ahead towards 2020 with your own marketing efforts.
The Meeker report, which you can view here, isn’t the only Internet trends game in town, and you’ll find a slew of additional recent statistics in our “80+ New Social Media Marketing Statistics for B2B Marketers,” and “Around the World in 50 Captivating Digital Marketing Statistics,” each looking at statistics from other insightful industry reports.
* LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.