The state of the internet

OPENSEED Digital Consultancy

Every year venture capitalist and former Wall Street analyst Mary Meeker releases a seminal report outlining the current state of play when it comes all things internet.

Known as the Internet Trends report, it is arguably the most anticipated annual report in Silicon Valley, with her insight into the usage and future of the net informing the decision making of some of the biggest players in the tech world and beyond.

This year proved no exception, with Meeker taking a deep dive into the current trends that impact how the internet is used now, and the movements that are set to shape the way we seek information in the immediate future.

Here’s an insight into her findings and what you need to know in 2018…

Yes, we are connected

This year internet usage surpassed the half way mark with more than 50 per cent of the world’s population now online. An astounding 3.6 billion people are now connected, and we’re spending more time downloading, uploading, Googling, and checking social media than ever before.

In 2017, US adults spent an average of 5.9 hours each day on the net, up from 5.6 hours the year before, and more than double the time we were online a decade ago.

The upshot: An internet presence is a must for any business.

Access is mobile

Mobile is now the device of choice when it comes to accessing the internet. Courtesy of smart phones we spend over half our time online using a mobile device, equating to an average of 3.3 hours each day.

The tipping point occurred in 2013, when mobile devices and laptops/desktops were neck and neck in the internet usage stakes at 2.3 hours each per day. Since then mobile internet access has been steadily increasing its lead.

We’re not just using those mobiles to check social media, compare prices or Google the latest weather forecast either. Now more than ever we are using them to make mobile payments.

The upshot: Websites must be mobile optomised

We are social

It comes as little surprise, but much of our time online is spent messaging and checking in on social media.

The average American now spends 135 minutes each day on social media, posting updates, checking status and accessing information.

That’s more than double the time we spent on social media in 2012, when we averaged 45 minutes each day. Meanwhile Facebook now has 2.2 billion users, product discovery on social media is on the rise and messaging is where it’s at.

WhatsApp users have trebled since 2012, now sitting at a figure of 1.5 billion. Messenger has gone from 0.25 billion users in 2013 to about 1.3 billion in 2017, while WeChat has risen from about 0.2 billion in 2012 to around 1 billion.

Just under 80 billion messages are sent each day via WhatsApp and just under 40 billion by WeChat.

The upshot: Social media is a must as a business content and messaging strategy.

The payment push

Mobile payments are a rising internet trend, with Meeker noting 60 per cent of transactions are now made online.

When it comes to the breakdown of how this occurs:

  • Other online equals 15%
  • Buy now buttons take a 9% share
  • Other mobile payments equal 8%
  • P2P transfer is 7%
  • Mobile messenger apps have 7%
  • Other in-app payments take 4%
  • QR codes take 4%
  • Smart home devices account for 3%
  • Wearables equal 2%
  • Other equals 1%

The upshot: If you’re using e-commerce, buy-now buttons are a must. If you’re in bricks and mortar, cater to the mobile trend.

Video is…BIG

Between 2015 and 2017, our mobile consumption of video doubled, rising from an average of 14 minutes to around 30 minutes each day. We’re set to consume even more in 2018, adding an estimated five minutes of video to our daily fix.

Considering the average time spent consuming video on a mobile was five minutes back in 2012, this is a mega trend, supporting the push for websites and social media that all utilise the allure of video content.

The upshot: Use the power. Video should be part of your content marketing strategy across media platforms.

Advertising opportunity

In what was flagged as the “scariest slide for conventional media in the Mary Meeker slide deck”, she identified a huge gap in the advertising market.

Meeker illustrates:

  • 4% of time is spent on print media yet it attracts 9% of the US advertising dollar.
  • 13% of time is spent listening to radio. It attracts 9% of the advertising dollar.
  • 36% of time is spent watching TV, and 36% of the advertising dollar is dedicated to this medium
  • 18% of time is spent on desktop, yet it commands 20% of the advertising spend
  • 29% of time is spent on mobile, yet advertising expenditure only equals 26%.

Meeker indicates there’s a $7 billion opportunity in that last statistic alone.

The upshot: Consider mobile advertising as a priority in your advertising spend.

Voice is at lift-off

It’s little secret, 2017 was a watershed year for voice technology. Amazon Echo hit Australia, as did Google Home, and Apple HomeKit. Meanwhile, Meeker notes Google learning word accuracy attained 95%. That’s led to a rise in voice activated retail, smart speaker adoption, voice payments and voice assisted internet searches.

The upshot: More and more business tools will soon be available to harness the power of voice in day-to-day operations and customer-facing interactions.

Big data a big deal

All this Googling, messaging, purchasing, and social media interaction is creating a wealth of data that artificial intelligence is now becoming better at deciphering.

The result for business is a better opportunity than ever before to identify, understand their consumer and offer a tailored customer experience.

In search terms:

  • “Near me” data queries grew by 900 per cent between 2015 and 2017.
  • “For me” was up by 60 per cent
  • “Should I” increased by 65 per cent.

Users are also more willing to share their data. Almost 80 per cent will share it for personal benefit, and 66 per cent with family and friends.

Meanwhile, artificial intelligence is the tech industry focus. It’s getting better at recognising images and big business has increased its spending on AI projects.

As a flow-on effect, all this machine learning and AI is creating greater accountability. Meeker notes:

  • Eight million videos have been removed from YouTube and Google. Over 80 per cent of those were flagged by algorithms.
  • Over on Facebook, 583 million fake accounts have been disabled, with 99 per cent flagged prior to user reporting. A further 21 million pieces of lewd content have been disabled, with 96 per cent flagged by algorithms.

The upshot: business now has more insight into than consumer than at any time in history. Use it to tailor a customer experience that enables you to be outstanding.

A changing workforce

Yes, the workforce is changing. Uber, AirBnB, and Etsy were among the employment models Meeker used to illustrate how the workforce is transitioning into the digital age, with more and more people adopting on-demand internet-enabled employment that caters to their lifestyle.

The upshot: Greater flexibility in the workplace will become an expectation.

About Openseed

At Openseed we work with business to understand the internet playing field and how you can harness it to showcase your strengths.

We create intuitive branding, websites and quality content strategies that reflect the internet trends as they are now and will be in the future.

We get to the heart of your business message to help your business rank foremost on Google and at the front of your consumer’s mind. You can learn more about our services here or contact us directly to learn more about how we can help.