The 2015 Internet Trends Report, put together by Mary Meeker, is one of the most in-depth reports you’ll find on technology trends on a global scale.
Key Internet Trends for 2015
Mary Meeker’s report, at 197 slides, can be a bit time-consuming to peruse and digest.
Here are the key points and takeaways:
2.8 billion people are using the internet.
That’s 39% of the world’s population. Over the past 20 years, this represents an enormous growth, up from 0.6% population penetration.
Asia consumes almost half of the pie chart, Europe and the United States make up almost 30%, with the rest of the world taking up the last 21%.
5.2 billion people are on mobile phones.
In 1995, 1% of the world’s population was on smartphones, but today 73% are using mobile devices. Of those 5.2 billion people, 40% are using smartphones.
The top 15 internet companies grew from $17 billion to $2 trillion in the past 20 years.
In 1995, the top 15 internet companies included names such as Netscape, Apple, Germany’s Axel Springer, and a variety of names that are nowhere to be found today.
Today’s top 15 starts with Apple, which has a market cap of $763 billion, and ends with Twitter, which has a $24 billion market cap. The list contains other familiar names, such as LinkedIn, eBay, Tencent, Facebook, and Google.
The impact of the internet is just beginning.
The 2015 Internet Trends Report pointed out that the internet’s impact has been fast and complete in the consumer sphere. Innovation has been led by the tech industry, naturally, but adoption has been slower in regulated, non-commercial fields.
Over time, the internet’s impact will ripple out and have an increasing influence in the following spheres:
- Security / Safety / Warfare
- Government / Regulation / Policy Thinking
Global internet user and smartphone growth continues, but at a slower pace.
As the developed world’s population becomes increasingly saturated by the internet and smartphones, that growth rate is gradually slowing. For instance, smartphone subscription service growth was at 65% globally in 2012, but only 23% in 2014.
Mobile isn’t the future…it’s the present.
We currently spend more time on mobile devices than on laptops, desktops, and other connected devices. The average American, for instance, spends 5.6 hours per day connected to the internet. Of that, 2.8 hours are spent on mobile devices, 2.4 are spent on desktops and laptops, with 0.4 being spent on other devices.
Global internet usage, or data traffic, continues to grow.
Year-over-year growth is slowing, but still growing. In 2012, consumer internet traffic growth was 31%. That number fell to 21% last year.
Mobile data traffic growth has remained relatively steady, while mobile video traffic has continued to grow, from 50% in 2012 to 55% last year.
Mobile remains a compelling space for advertising and monetization.
Much of the world’s ad spend is being dumped in the wrong places. While mobile and internet ad spend continue to increase, mobile ad spend falls far short of the percent time people spend in media.
While advertisers spend 8% of their ad budgets in mobile, on average, the typical internet user spends around 24% of their time consuming mobile-based media. The report claims that there is a $25 billion opportunity in the United States.
Marketers and advertisers should keep their eyes out for exciting new ad formats.
The Internet Trends Report identified some new advertising trends that are showing promise:
- Pinterest’s Cinematic Pin, which prompts the video to move as the user scrolls.
- Facebook’s Carousel Ad, which allows user to browse multiple products
- Vessel’s 5-second short-form video ad unit
- Google’s local inventory ad, which allows local businesses to show in-store products near the user’s current location
- Mobile-optimized buy buttons on Twitter, Facebook, and Google, which are designed to “minimize friction to purchase at the moment of interest”
People are starting to watch mobile videos in a vertical orientation more often.
Across platforms, vertical viewing took up 5% of the total viewing time share, versus 29% today.
Snapchat is one company that is making use of mobile’s unique vertical viewing capability. According to the report, these ads have 9 times the completion rate of horizontal mobile video ads.
Businesses are reinventing technology in a different way than the consumer sphere.
While consumer internet entrepreneurs pursued personal passion, enterprise internet entrepreneurs focus on company pain points.
Companies such as Slack, for instance, are reinventing corporate communication, by replacing email.
Square and Stripe, likewise, are fixing “company pain points” by solving cumbersome payment systems. Other examples included one-stop data analytics software, like Domo, and electronic signature software, such as DocuSign.
Messaging apps are the top apps by usage and by number of sessions.
WeChat, WhatsApp, Messenger, Line, and Viber all took spots in the top 10 of mobile messaging apps. This represents an opportunity for companies to monetize, advertise, and connect to consumers.
The report also claimed that Asian messaging apps are pioneering the trends we can soon expect to see in Western apps, such as video calls, payments, stickers, and media.
User-generated content continues to explode.
The world’s most popular platforms, from Pinterest to Twitch, revolve around user-generated content.
Visual content platforms, such as Snapchat and Instagram, are the focus of growth for those aged 12 to 24.
While there were other trends in the Internet Trends Report, these highlights covered some of the most important trends that will impact the technology, advertising, and marketing industries in the coming years.
Other trends to watch for are explosive growth in India and China, particularly in the realms of mobile and ecommerce.
View the full Internet Trends Report: