The 2016 Internet Trends Report Dropped

And it's hotter than Beyonce's Lemonade.

For digital data nerds, the day Mary Meeker’s Internet Trend Report comes out is the equivalent of Christmas Day. The report is packed with data driven factoids that– trust us–you will need to know if you want to stay relevant.

This year’s aggregated data managed to fit in a nice-and-plump deck of 213 slides and we have, of course, pored over every chart, graph and snippet of text. While it’s hard to pick and choose the best riches from such a gold mine, we did just that. Feel free to dig into the report over a cup of coffee this weekend and/or get the CliffsNotes from us today. You even have some work week left to throw out these tidbits in meetings and become the smartest guy/gal in the room. Let’s go!

Internet user growth is on a slow decline. Yes, even on mobile.
New internet users are diminishing on a global level. That is incredibly weird, right? Combine this tidbit with recent reports saying that our top social media channels are seeing a 5%-10% loss of active users and we see a new, big challenge. With a slowdown in audience growth, we will all have to hustle a little harder to engage and activate some rather lethargic audiences. Keep pushing for strategies that focus on meeting diverse and hyper-targeted user needs (like, on an almost individual level).

Having a conversation with Siri is getting popular.
Sixty-five percent of smartphone users are actively using voice assistance to get things done. What are people doing when they are chatting to their device? They are primarily running Google search queries. This may seem like a big “duh” to you, but if you are in the content-making business, this should sound the alarms. Is your content searchable on the internet? Is it written in a way that Google can answer your audience’s questions? Take note of how you write, because voice-enabled devices like the Amazon Echo, smart watches and smart cars are sure to flash flood the market .

In news that isn’t shocking, most ad dollars are being allocated to Facebook and Google.
Cord-cutting continues to grow, meaning a loss in media earnings, so, yes, ad dollars are being spent where people are actually paying attention. While it’s not surprising that Facebook and Google are the winners, what is surprising is that they own 76% of internet advertising growth. This confirms that these platforms are best for brand awareness campaigns—but watch out, because as digital advertising continues to grow like a thing that grows really fast, so has the use of ad blockers. Make sure your work is hyper-targeted, your message is on-point and you’re serving up content that’s relevant to the people. Don’t get caught in the noise.

Millennials are not Gen Z and it is time to make sure everyone is getting it right.
The Millennial group is the largest generation on the planet today. And their digital behavior explains why we will continue to see Facebook as the top dog and why there will be a continual rise of e-commerce. Layer on the Gen Z crowd (those youngins born mid to late 90s), and we see a mix of folks who have high brand demands and prefer to be authentically engaged first—interacting with brands that cultivate conversations and take a genuine interest in who they are.

Mary Meeker's Report

We can see some really big differences between our most engaging age groups that impact their opinions and behaviors. While they may end up consuming the same content, they will certainly get to that content in very different ways. This information confirms what we have been shouting about Gen Z for a while now. Allow us to repeat ourselves in saying it is deeply important to develop a user-centric based strategy when it comes to advertising, marketing and general messaging. If you haven’t considered Gen Z as part of your overall brand strategy, you #BetterMakeRoom. This audience is new territory for a ton of brands and organizations. We uncovered a lot of knowledge by working with the White House to discover, research and experiment ways to unite the Gen Z crowd and to give them the space to be their best selves.

Your brand is now your product and you better make it unique for individuals.
We work with a ton of brands and organizations so it was easier for us to notice a shift in how companies are using products/services as their actual brand. Within the social space, we know it’s easier to pitch a product or a service if that thing has a fantastic narrative around it. People love it! They love it so much, in fact, that direct brand affinity now comes in second place. Since this isn’t new to us, it has become essential to start positioning messaging around the stuff that makes you special, to tell a story, and then let the brand support the narrative in an authentic way. Between this change and the uptake in e-commerce, audiences want differing experiences and not mass messaging that doesn’t care about what they care about. Through data mining and proper analysis, we have everything we need in this digital age to better identify audiences and craft original experiences and stories for each group. If you can nail this, you can guarantee an increase in user satisfaction and brand loyalty.

If you haven’t been overwhelmed by the amount of information, make sure you dig into the full report. No spoilers, but there is some interesting data around China’s digital behaviors.

Original article appeared on TheBlackSheepAgency.com, June 2016.