Mary Meeker’s annual presentation on Internet trends is among the most highly-anticipated slide decks of the year in Silicon Valley, and that’s a place that admittedly produces a lot of slide decks every 365 days. Meeker’s slide deck for 2018 was 294 slides deep, and people still seem to hang on each one.

Before we get into three main areas, let’s hit some 35,000-foot views:

  • Smartphone shipments didn’t grow well in 2017, and Internet user growth was down to 7% from 12% in 2016. But don’t necessarily fret about these numbers: more and more people are online and on mobile, which makes growth harder to come by.
  • People, however, are still increasing the amount of time they spend online. U.S. adults spent 5.9 hours per day on digital media in 2017, up from 5.6 hours the year before. Some 3.3 of those hours were spent on mobile, which is responsible for overall growth in digital media consumption.
  • Mobile payments are becoming easier to complete. China continues to lead the rest of the world in mobile payment adoption, with over 500 million active mobile payment users in 2017.

Some specific areas to focus on:

1.) The Rapid Growth of Ecommerce in Mobile

Check out this slide (it was the 84th in Meeker’s deck):

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Image Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trend’s 2018

Mobile is largely powering the growth of ecommerce, and ecommerce is largely powering the growth of retail:

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Image Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trend’s 2018

This makes perfect sense, of course: more and more people have smartphones, those smartphones are always with them, they’re using said smartphones over 3 hours/day, and the amount of data collection and personalization that can take place through that device is significantly more power than a 1955 Sears catalog might have been. It makes complete sense for brands to use mobile as a customer acquisition/retention strategic pillar.

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Image Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trend’s 2018

The broader lesson of this section, then: mobile is important, and increasing in importance. It is absolutely essential to telling your brand’s story and connecting with consumers where they spend most of their time. If you lack a defined mobile strategy, you need one.

2.) The Rise of Ads (and their cost)

Ad spend outpaces time spent on various media in most cases, but…

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Image Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trend’s 2018

… as you can see on the far right, there’s a roughly $7B opportunity to make up the gap in mobile. People are increasingly using mobile as a place to spend time (see above), but advertising hasn’t fully caught up there.

Again, this is logical: mobile has less available screen space and CPC/general customer acquisition costs are rising overall. A very conventional attitude in marketing and advertising is “Why pay a lot to be seen by a few on a small screen when I can pay more to be seen by millions on a TV screen?” This is completely outdated thinking — in fact, you can largely argue Trump won the Presidency in 2016 because of effective micro-targeting aimed at sometimes 10-15 people at a time.

Lesson here: there’s a lot of money to be made in doing mobile targeting correctly, so let’s help you do that.

3.) The Rise of Voice

Sales-wise, voice-controlled products like Amazon Echo are taking off. The Echo’s installed base in the U.S. grew from 20 million in the third quarter of 2017 to more than 30 million in the fourth quarter.

Meeker even had “voice” as one of her top trends of the year.

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Image Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trend’s 2018

Voice allows brands new opportunities to engage customers in every element of their lives. While there’s an initial learning curve and element of comfort that must be reached, consumers have shown they are quick to engage with voice technology because it feels less intrusive to their day.

Bottom line: Create a voice strategy. People want things to be easy. They want to simply say something into their phone and have an outcome/result from it. We’ve previously covered where voice is going, and even how voice recognition is driving AI forward. In short: this is all going to be big. Get on this train now. Can you incorporate a simple voice feature into your app to make it easier for someone to search a feature or product? Start small and then iterate from there.