Mary Meeker’s highly anticipated Internet Trends report confirms mobile is the future of marketing — and suggests it’s time to embrace technologies such as image recognition and voice activation to reach customers on the go.
Meeker, a partner at Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, released her 2017 report yesterday at Recode’s Code Conference at the Terranea Resort in California.
“We’ve really linked commerce into our advertising section this year because ads are becoming storefronts,” she said. “It’s increasingly measurable and actionable.”
Mobile is driving ad growth. Internet advertising spend in the U.S. totaled $73 billion, with about $43 million coming from mobile.
Mobile advertising accelerated 22 last year, up from 20 percent in 2015. Desktop advertising decreased slightly but remains about where it has been since 2012 — fluctuating annually between $30 million and $38 million.
Meeker predicts internet ad spending will eclipse TV ad spending this year — a clear call for marketers to rethink their digital spend. Total global ad spend last year for both the internet and TV were around $180 billion, with internet spending expected to grow faster than TV in 2017.
Ad Measurability Issues
Meeker called ad measurability “triple-edged,” noting that 1) when things are measured, 2) people don’t always like what they see — and 3) users don’t always like data collected.”
“Advertisers like measurable engagement metrics but some find measuring ROI challenging, as they do with offline,” she said.
Ad blocking, especially on mobile, continues to increase, with nearly 400 million devices using ad blockers last year. “Users increasingly opt out of the stuff they don’t want,” she said.
But desktop ad blocking seems to have slowed. Users have installed ad blockers on around 240 million desktops.
Give Customers What They Want
To succeed in the digitally driven world, marketers have to recognize how their customers engage with the internet. Then they have to create relevant, meaningful forms of engagement that reflect their preferences for visual and auditory experiences, she said.
“It’s about the right ad at the right time and place,” she continued.
Customers prefer incentive-based and skippable ads over other formats. They are least impressed with mobile-app pop-ups and preroll ads.
Incorporate Images, Voice
Meeker said the visual web continues to grow in importance and sophistication. She cited Pinterest Founder/CEO Ben Silbermann to drive home the point, noting, “A lot of the future of search is going to be about pictures instead of keywords.”
Image-recognition and voice-activation are increasingly replacing typing, particularly on mobile. Emerging retailers and crafty big brands are adopting clever uses of images and video, along with data, algorithms, and voice, she said.
“Image-based platform front-ends — tap and augment — are replacing typing. Pictures can replace typing,” she said.
Additionally, image-based platform back-ends —algorithms that infer user context from images — can give advertisers contextual relevance.
Mary Meeker’s Full Report
Want to know more? Here’s Meeker’s full 355-page slide deck.