The latest edition of the annual Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report released last week. As one of the most anticipated industry studies for the people in the tech circuit (as well as ad tech), the report provides an in-depth look into the state of the industry’s most important trends. We looked at the report and summarized the most important findings related to mobile advertising in 5 charts below:
Internet Adoption is Slowing Down…
Over half the world’s population is now online. Mary Meeker’s report finds that the number of internet users stands today at about 3.6 billion, higher than the previous estimates of 3 billion. However, there has been a slowdown in the internet usage: the user growth dropped from 12% in 2016 to 7% in 2017. Despite this, the report finds that the “internet usage growth is solid while many believe it’s higher than it should be.” According to the report, growth is harder to find after market penetration hits 50%. It is also interesting to note that the rate of adoption for internet is just about a decade, way quicker than the time it took for Americans to adapt to a dishwasher (80 years, if you ask!)
…But Mobile Advertising Continues to Grow
The shift towards mobile advertising has been growing for some years now. Looking at the mobile advertising spending in the U.S, the report finds that the advertisers are still underspending on mobile when a huge part of the opportunity is waiting to be explored.
In this context, it is also worth looking at the growth in adoption of mobile video and the new content types it is giving birth to.
…and So are Mobile Payments and Digital Currencies
The move towards cashless payments is accelerating, finds the report. About 60% of the transactions are carried out by some form of digital method such as mobile payments, QR codes, wearables etc. It is also interesting to note the growth of China in this space, leading with the highest mobile payment adoption of over 500 million active mobile payment users.
With the emergence of platforms such as mobile messenger apps into the field of mobile payments as well as new digital currencies such as Coinbase, the portion of people around the world making digital payments has increased. This means new opportunities and users for mobile advertisers operating in the field of mobile payment apps and eCommerce.
…Meanwhile, Artificial Intelligence and Personalization are Shaking Things Up
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here and cannot be ignored. AI-enabled service platforms are becoming increasingly important for businesses, and even though small, it is a “rapidly rising spending priority,” notes the report. Alongside the growth of AI, there is also a growth in innovation via personalization. The report notes that “with personalization, data improves engagement in experiences and drives growth and scrutiny.” Personalization and AI growth cannot be viewed in isolation. AI can be used to dive into a deeper understanding of user behavior on the app through their actions, likes and preferences, making offerings more personalized and ad interactions more targeted.
…But This Creates a Privacy-Paradox
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this year’s report is the focus on privacy. Mary Meeker’s report dives into the various aspects that are making mobile experiences more personal: personal data provides better experiences. Then there is also the collective data of many other users that affect other real-time products such as NextDoor or UberPool. But the report calls this phenomenon a “privacy paradox.”
“Reality is the dynamics of global innovation & competition are driving product improvements, which, in turn, are driving usage & monetization. Many usability improvements are based on data — collected during the taps/clicks/movements of mobile device users. This creates a privacy paradox,” the report states. While internet users are increasing the time spent on these services, regulators want to ensure that data is not used improperly.
The report also adds that “when you have rising monetization, rising growth and rising data collection, it drives a lot of regulatory scrutiny whether it’s related to data privacy, competition or safety in content.”
With GDPR already being applied in the EU, it will be interesting to see where this debate is headed and how companies respond to making customer privacy tools more accessible.
You can access the full report here.