Social media continues to add new features, and we continue to keep tabs on them! LinkedIn, for example, now has the ability to tag other users in photos, a feature you may recognize as being present for years on other social media – but better late than never, and now you can finally tag partners and cohorts in your pictures.
Facebook, meanwhile, is updating its algorithm officially to better prioritize Pages and Groups that a person would care about: The more time a person spends with a Group, for example, the more updates they might see in their news feed, which links engagement more directly with results.
Finally, Google has announced an interesting “diversity” change to its search results (but not, apparently, its algorithm). Basically, this means that searches will return fewer results from just one website – at least sometimes. Google is trying to reduce annoying results when you search for something specific and get a long list of pages all from the same couple of sites, when you really wanted to explore as many sites as possible.
But now onto our main topic: The enormous Mary Meeker 2019 Internet Trends report. This presentation goes through all the latest internet changes that you should know about. The presentation (by venture capitalist Mary Meeker) spanned 333 slides this year, so it goes through a lot. But let’s talk about a few points that the team found fascinating.
Encryption is Now a Way of Life
One of the most interesting trends that Meeker discussed was the swift rise of encrypted content online – in the first quarter of 2019, 87% of global web traffic was encrypted, compared to just 53% three years ago. That’s a big jump! It’s also not entirely surprising. During the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of high-profile security breaches and skeevy actions, especially in social medial. Google has also started placing a lot more weight on encrypted websites when it comes to page ranking, which gave businesses a big incentive to start encrypting more. Even this year Facebook has started talking a lot more about encryption and privacy online, something that other social sites are mimicking.
All this action has had two interesting effects. First, people are now less worried about internet privacy than they were a couple years ago, since they see companies taking action. Second, it’s more important than ever to make sure your web content is encrypted, and to assure all your clients and leads that you use safe, private methods for online communications.
Ads are Diversifying Across More Players
The new focus on security is having other interesting effects as well. New regulations and greater caution from big platforms (again, like Facebook) have caused a deceleration in internet advertising revenue growth. However, this slowdown has created space for other digital advertisers to grow with their own offerings. In other words, smaller ad options are seeing renewed activity – places like Amazon, Twitter, Snap and Pinterest. Businesses that want to diversify their ads across more sites should feel confident in doing so…as long as their target audience is there, of course.
Mobile Continues to Dominate
What other records are left for mobile to break? Well, here’s an important one: For the first time, time spent on mobile devices has officially passed time spent watching TV for U.S. consumers. The combination of yet more reliance on mobile, greater comfort with mobile technologies, more streaming services, and slow-but-sure mobile optimization has led to mobile screens finally winning over the TV (the downfall of cable is no doubt helping as well).
Visual Media is King
Visual media has seen excellent growth recently, as more and more internet time is spent watching videos or images. Instagram and YouTube in particular have seen a lot of growth when it comes to where people spend their average daily time. YouTube has been the second most preferred social media platform for a couple years now, behind only Facebook. Instagram’s growth is well charted too as the site has been both a social and marketing dynamo. Meanwhile, less visual options are stagnant or declining in use, including WeChat and Facebook Messenger. Outliers include Snapchat (basically no growth here, people appear to prefer Instagram) and Pinterest (also no customer growth, perhaps due to the somewhat outdated layout).
Free Stuff is Winning New Customers
One interesting revelation from the presentation was just how effective free stuff is in the online world – specifically, free trials and freemium ground-level services that allow you to pay for extra features if you want. Customers reported that these free offerings were the top reasons they tried new services, and one of the best ways to convert people to paid subscribers. If you don’t offer any free trials for your services, it may be time to ad this option…
Customer Acquisition Costs are on the Rise
The report also spotted that customer acquisition costs are on the rise. In some cases, especially in the B2C world where customers may only make one purchase and then move on, acquisition costs are higher than the customer is actually worth. One way businesses are dealing with this is broad efforts to make the beginning of the sales funnel less costly and easy to move through – like those free trials and services we just mentioned.
When you get a chance to look more closely at all these stats, we’d love to hear what jumped out to you! What stats do you think are particularly important for your business? Anything you might change because of the report? Let us know on social media @21handshake! As always, if you liked the episode, please take a moment to rate us and share our podcast with someone else. Thanks!