6 insights from Mary Meeker’s “Internet Trends 2017” report

Each year, marketers wait with bated breath for Mary Meeker’s annual report on internet trends. Released last month, her 2017 version features 355 slides packed with data and insights about the status of technology, marketing and advertising and where those industries are heading.

If combing through this 355-page report sounds exhausting, not to fret. We’ve done the legwork for you. Here’s what small business marketers need to know from this year’s report — along with tips for integrating those insights into your overall marketing strategy:


    1. We live in an increasingly mobile world (dominated by Google and Facebook).
      American adults now spend more than three hours per day on their mobile devices. And where consumers go, advertisers will follow. Because digital advertising hasn’t caught up with mobile consumption, though, there’s a $16 billion opportunity gap. Google and Facebook will continue to see the lion’s share of increased digital spending, having seen 20 percent and 62 percent growth from 2015 to 2016, respectively.What does this mean for small business marketers?
      More and more of your marketing budget is going to shift to social advertising — specifically, on Facebook. Savvy marketers will take advantage of the trends and tools mentioned later in this digest to optimize their ads and make the most of their ad dollars.

Google and Facebook dominate digital advertising, receiving a 85 percent share of internet advertising growth.


    1. The lines between ads, content and e-commerce continue to blur.
      Social media is no longer merely a traffic source to your storefront; social media has become a storefront in its own right. It’s the key to both discovery and purchase. Twenty-six percent of Facebook users have purchased a product they saw on Facebook within 30 days of seeing the ad.What does this mean for small business marketers?
      Buyer personas are much deeper than simple demographics — and now your marketing content must be too. You need to cater to prospects in every section of your funnel and reach them with the right ads and content at the right time. Facebook, in particular, is making it easier for marketers to collect and use this behavior-specific data. To take your ads to the next level, it’s time to go all-in on Custom and Lookalike Audiences and use custom tracking to link users’ behavior on your social media pages and your website.

Social media sites become digital storefronts, guiding prospects from discovery to purchase.


    1. Capitalize on video — but avoid creating friction.
      The emergence of video traffic on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, as well as the shift from cable TV to digital options with Netflix and Hulu, shows a major shift in how users consume content. Of course, advertisers follow and experiment with how to get eyeballs. As with static content, users crave value and detest friction. They find mobile app rewards, social click-to-play and skippable pre-roll to be their preferred forms of video advertising.What does this mean for small business marketers?
      Video has been gaining steam for almost two years now, and, as it matures, the standards are rising. The battle between Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook will guarantee heavy investment by those sites in tools and analytics in an effort to court more creators. This will make social video ripe with conversion opportunities for businesses who create engaging content with minimal friction. If you aren’t already investing it video, it’s time to get on board.

The most successful video ads are expertly targeted based on user behavior.


    1. Demands for digital customer service are growing.
      Social media is seen as a great equalizer, giving the masses a voice — and, sometimes, a megaphone. And one thing is clear: Customers want (and expect) businesses to engage them there. The two improvements in service that customers most desire are easier access to online support channels (60 percent) and faster agent response time (53 percent).What does this mean for small business marketers?
      Customer service is often small businesses’ bread and butter, so translating those standards online is essential. Timing is a major factor when it comes to customer expectations, so you may need to delegate your reputation management efforts to someone on your team or outsource it. Your feelings about Twitter, Yelp and other sites don’t matter — if your customers are there, you need to be there too.

Users says businesses should provide easier access to online support channels and faster agent response times.


    1. User-generated content outperforms brand-generated content.
      We’ve harped on the value of UGC for years, but influencer marketing platform Mavrck analyzed more than 25 million Facebook posts to prove it. They found that UGC generated 6.9x higher engagement than brand-generated content. More and more businesses are hopping on the UGC train, and big brands like Red Bull, BMW and Wayfair are leading the way.What does this mean for small business marketers?
      You don’t need to invest in flashy professional photography and hire video crews to show your business at its best. There’s no better stamp of approval than the ravings of your current customers, and UGC is, essentially, a visual testimonial. So, encourage your customers to take photos and tag you (or include a particular hashtag) in their posts. Then, share it with the rest of your audience to make them feel like rock stars.

User-generated content outperforms brand-generated content.


    1. ROI remains a challenge for marketers.
      Oh, the eternal quest for social media marketers to measure ROI rages on. Especially as businesses spend more of their marketing budget on social advertising, the pressure to quantify the results increases. In fact, 61 percent of social media marketers name measuring ROI their top challenge. Only 21 percent of social advertisers are using conversions and revenue to judge the success of their ads.What does this mean for small business marketers?
      The majority of advertisers are still using engagement as their metric of choice, which speaks to the growing pains associated with social media’s still-maturing business use. Luckily, native tools (e.g., Facebook’s Ad Manager, Google Analytics) are beginning to catch up in their delivery of relevant data on conversions and cross-device behavior. Invest in learning about and customizing these tools to tie your social media efforts to your business goals.
      If you don’t already review your analytics regularly, begin by determining which key performance indicators matter most to your business and sit down at least monthly to assess their performance.

Social media marketers name measuring ROI is their top challenge.


Again, you can (and should) read the report in its entirety here.

Over to you: Which of these trends do you plan to incorporate into your marketing strategy? Share your thoughts with us below in the comments.


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