7 Takeaways for B2B Marketers from Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report [B2B Beat]

June 12, 2016

Mary Meeker, partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfied & Byers, released her annual “Internet Trends” report on June 1. In the report, which checks in at 213 slides, Meeker identifies the key digital trends impacting business around the globe.

While the B2B sector may be impacted by these trends after the B2C sector is affected, B2B marketers ignore Meeker’s insights at their own peril. Here are seven takeaways for B2B marketers from the “Internet Trends” report.

Advertise Where Your Audience Is

“Advertisers remain over-indexed to legacy media,” Meeker says. Consumers in the United States spend just 4 percent of their media consumption time on print media. So why does print still command 16 percent of advertising spend? Consumer eyeballs are spending far more time focusing on their smartphone screens, where they spend 25 percent of their time. Yet, mobile attracts just 12 percent of advertising dollars. In the gap, Meeker identifies a $22 billion opportunity. 

Social Media Is Just Getting Started and Poised to Change

Generation Y — that is, Millennials or people born between 1981 and 1999 — are extremely comfortable with social media. They are so comfortable with social media that it is tied for first place (with Internet/Web chat) as their preferred channel for businesses to contact them. The first choice for every other generation (from Generation X to Baby Boomers to the Silent Generation) was the telephone. For each of these other generations, social media ranked no higher than fourth. Meeker’s report also projected that social media will become more visual. Despite some problems with video advertising (81 percent of consumers mute video ads, and 62 percent are annoyed by pre-roll videos ads), the future of the Internet is wrapped up in visuals and video. In the first quarter, Snapchat users viewed an average of 10 billion videos per day. Marketers should note that Meeker said video ads that are currently performing well are authentic, entertaining, in-context, and brief.

In the Future, Laryngitis Will Be Even More Debilitating

Meeker makes the case that your computer keyboard is about to become less important. Siri is only the beginning, and voice-computer interaction will become increasingly commonplace. One reason why is efficiency: The average person can speak about 150 words per minute but only type 40 words per minute. Google Voice Search Queries have increased 35 times since 2008. Marketers of all kinds should be prepared for their automated customer interactions to be compatible with the human voice. 

Think Globally for Growth

Quick, name the two countries that have the most Internet users. Hint: Neither is the United States. China tops the list with India passing the U.S. for second place. The number of India’s Internet users increased by 40 percent in 2015 to 277 million. The growth of Internet users in India is accelerating when the global growth rate has stagnated at 9 percent. As a growing — and English-speaking — market, India should be highly attractive to U.S. marketers, B2B or B2C.

Beware the Ad Blockers

About 220 million consumers use desktop ad blocking software, and that figure is growing at 16 percent annually, according to Meeker.  Expect the number of people using ad blocking software to grow, because 93 percent of consumers say they will consider using ad blocking software. The solution for marketers? Content marketing and native advertising or in-feed advertising. Marketers have to earn their audience’s attention.

You Should Be Sold on eCommerce

Meeker’s stats showed that 10 percent of retail transactions were conducted online in 2015. Less than 2 percent of retail transactions took place online in 2000. The same trends that are driving the rise of B2C ecommerce — “always-on connectivity, hyper targeted marketing, images, personalization — will fuel the rise of B2B ecommerce, too. (This stat wasn’t in Meeker’s report, but Forrester Research projects that B2B ecommerce will reach $1.1 trillion by 2020).

The U.S. Auto Industry Is Poised for a Comeback

Meeker’s report documented the increasing computerization of automobiles, from automated braking systems to self-driving cars. Google has logged 1.5 million miles in self-driving cars, and Tesla owners have driven 100 million miles with the Autopilot active. With this Silicon Valley-driven innovation accelerating, Meeker speculates that the U.S. has the potential to be the global hub of the auto industry again. This analysis should remind B2B marketers that they must always be aware that technology can transform their own industries overnight. 

Meeker's "Internet Trends" report is an annual reminder at how digital is transforming marketing. To keep pace with all of the changes impacting digital marketing, subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog today. 

Photo: Dino Reichmuth, courtesy of UnSplash