Blog & News

What Can Advertisers Learn From New Global Trends: Part 1

By Todd Marcum, President

I am beholding to Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends report and from a very good Tempo Blog from Business Wire that called the study to my attention and gave some excellent perspective and provided a good take on global PR and marketing value and tactics based on the study. There is a ton of information on a wide range of global trends in the Meeker report and it is very much worth a look for anyone with an inquisitive brain, though it’s a couple-hundred-slide deck.

This blog will focus on the takeaways from the first half of the report and effort to present them in ways that are relevant to the type of advertisers we work with each day…certainly we work with a few global clients, but we are also concerned about what the report has to say for the local or regional advertiser or non-profit. We’ll post a report on insights gleaned from the second part of the report soon. Now on to the findings.

Insights from Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends

It’s no surprise that all Americans spend a lot of time with their screens. On average, Americans spend five hours per day on mobile, compared to four hours per day globally. This has flattened over the past couple of years, but for the very logical reason that when you subtract sleep time and work time, many people are butting up to the very limits of their discretionary time spend.

Each day, 3.25 billion photos will be uploaded to social media sites. In context, there are about 7 billion people on the planet.

As the internet now connects more that 3 billion people globally and these people are spending an inordinate amount of time on the web, it stands to reason that advertisers MUST refocus their ad spend on digital, especially mobile. They are, and it’s an equally salient observation if you are CMO of P&G or owner of Uncle Joe’s Used Pet Emporium. Internet advertising revenue grew 20 percent in 2015 with Google and Facebook providing leading outlets. There’s still plenty of room for online advertising growth. With ad budget growth largely limping along, online advertising growth will likely come at the expense of traditional media, though traditional media has been aggressively, and with mixed results, endeavored to become a significant part of the digital landscape.

Mary Meeker Internet Advertising Growth

But just because an advertiser knows where to advertise, doesn’t mean they know how to do it. Internet ads have a way of ticking folks off. The study found 81 percent of users mute on line video ads, 62 percent say they are annoyed by pre-roll ads and 93 percent use or are considering using ad blocking software. Internet users want relevant content and experience. Content market and context marketing will become huge in the next decade and are something we spend a lot of time focusing on at Access.

How do you advertise to Millennials?

Millennials account for 27 percent of the US population. While the definition of “millennial/Gen Y” is a little squishy, most professionals define them as people born somewhere between the early to mid 1980s through 2000. The subset, Gen Z, were born in the late 1990s and early 2000s. If you’re like me, 1998 seems like just yesterday, but many of these Gen Z kids are entering or nearing the point of entry into the workplace.

The report characterized Millennials as an “earn to spend” generation who, at this point have little interest in saving. As their earning power increases, this has many positive implications for sellers of products and services. Coupled with a historic high of young men living with their parents, profound opportunity would seem to be presenting itself in the retail segment.

A closer look, however, reveals that today’s Millennials are not all that much different from previous generations. They have about the same adjusted household income at their age as the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers enjoyed at similar points in their lives…and while they are likely to get married at an older age and be more educated, there’s really not a whole lot of indication that they will reject the values of their parents…they’ll just have a slightly different spin. The Meeker report calls this “Always-On connectivity.” The internet will continue to grow as a delivery channel whether you are in banking, education or confectionary sales. That means that when you build an internet presence, you have to look at it both in terms of how it works as a marketing vehicle, but also as its potential as a distribution workhorse. I was recently talking to a retail client who told me he was not building a communications tool; he was essentially building an additional retail outlet. While I could argue he was doing both, his observation was dead on.

Crazy as it sounds to boomers, Millennials are completely comfortable using two screens at once, a concept the study calls “Tech Savvy” while Gen Z users often use as many as five screens at a time. While older Millennials communicate through text (though not sentences) younger Millennials, perhaps because of the sheer volume of screens, tend to use images as their means of communication. Again, this is very salient if you are marketing Roanoke College or Virginia Tech undergraduate classes or if you are trying to sell a car to a younger person.

The report also presented some behavioral theories of the Gen Y v. Gen Z that are probably sheer conjecture as the Gen Z folks have yet to have time to develop consumption patterns based on their income.

Young people in particular, but all people in general have a preference for consuming information in videos. Facebook and Snapchat illustrate this phenomenon, with video views on those platforms growing at about a 25 percent clip every QUARTER over the past two years. That said, the video has to be high-quality content. That’s not to say it needs to be lavishly produced, but it needs to be genuine, entertaining and relevant. Think Chewbacca Lady. If you have not been seriously considering how video can be effectively integrated into your online communications, you should be.

What now?

Look for more information gleaned from the report in an upcoming blog. In the meantime, should you have questions about your content platforms, feel free to contact Jeremy Butterfield, our content marketing specialist. He can work with our digital team and SEO specialist to help your online presence get more traction in this evolving marketing platform.

Topics: Advertising