• Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report outlines current and future trends that pros should keep in mind while developing a digital strategy for their brand. At 294 slides, this report gets really in-depth on what’s new with evergreen topics like ecommerce, mobile advertising, social media, brand safety, and privacy.

    Here are five takeaways from the report to keep in mind as you plan for 2019:

    The way consumers search is changing

    Just as ecommerce changed the brick-and-mortar retail business, so are Amazon’s search capabilities are transforming ecommerce. Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report found that 49% of product searches start at Amazon and 36% start on a search engine, like Google. This benefits companies that sell on the website because Amazon is better poised to capitalize on those searches with one-click purchasing. When consumers look for products on Google, they have to take an extra step or two.

    This can impact online advertising because search engines will place a higher priority on content from Amazon or video content, like YouTube or Facebook. Companies that advertise online should adjust their advertising strategies to ensure they’re being noticed. Use one of Amazon’s three advertising services to benefit from the behemoth’s rapid ad revenue growth, which is up 139% year-over-year, according to an infographic from Nanigans.

    Also, there’s more to looking up products on search engines than typing words. Gartner predicts that early adopter brands can boost digital commerce revenue by as much as 30% by redesigning their websites to support visual and voice search. This search type enables marketers and advertisers to gather more robust information about consumer habits, and early responders may see a boost in conversion rates, revenue, new customers, and customer satisfaction. Optimize your brand’s website to make sure you don’t miss out on gaining new customers using visual and voice search.

    Social media is driving purchases

    But for pure discovery of new brands and products, the power of social media beats search engines. Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends 2018 Report points out the way consumers find new products is changing, especially as Facebook and Instagram feature product ads in news feeds, even if you don’t follow the brand page. Facebook leads this trend, as 78% of survey respondents say they discovered products on the social platform. Instagram and Pinterest follow with 59%, then Twitter with 34x% and Snap (owners of Snapchat) at 22%. Also, 55% of respondents said they have purchased a product online after discovering it on social.

    The rise of influencers also plays a role in this trend. According to Invesp, 40% of people say they have purchased a product online as a result of seeing it being used by an influencer on social media. Nearly three in four customers (72%) trust a business more after it has been recommended by an influencer. Brands find influencers so valuable that they’re increasing spending on influencer marketing this year, despite concerns over lack of transparency and fake followers, Marketing Week reports. Research from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) founds that 65% of companies surveyed planned to increase spending on influencer marketing within the next year.

    When creating videos, make mobile a priority

    Internet advertising is growing rapidly, especially on mobile. Meeker identified a $7 billion opportunity in mobile ad spend, as time spent on mobile devices increased by 29% and ad spending boosted by 26%. Brands should care about mobile advertising because their customers’ eyeballs are already on their on mobile devices, especially mobile video platforms.

    eMarketer predicts that 78.4% of digital video viewers will regularly use mobile phones to watch them, which represents an 11.9% increase from last year. Social platforms are planning strategies around this trend to help brands reach their mobile advertising goals. For example, Facebook recently announced that it will support mobile-first video ad creation with new software tools. Brands are more likely to prioritize their mobile ad strategies on Facebook because the brand is making it easier for them to implement campaigns on the platform.

    Platforms are dealing with low-quality content

    In the era of “fake news,” platforms are trying to become more keen to identify false information. Gartner predicts that by 2022, the majority of consumers in mature economies will consume more false information than true information. This means that brands will need to work harder to protect their reputation and ensure that their voice is heard above others spreading false information about them.

    To protect their credibility, advertisers like P&G cut millions in digital ad spending because of brand safety concerns. This strategic move increased the brand’s reach by 10%. As a result, platforms like YouTube are taking action, removing eight million videos in Q4 2017 – 81% of which were flagged as spam or adult content by machine learning, Fortune reports. Additionally, two million videos were demonetized for misleading content tagging in 2017.

    Platforms are becoming more transparent about privacy

    Brands and consumers alike are seeking ways to combat false information. Platforms are making strides toward making consumers feel at ease, as they may feel hypersensitive to privacy matters online. Although many consumers are willing to share their data, they become weary about doing so when the benefits aren’t obvious. Deloitte found that 79% of U.S. consumers are willing to share personal data for a clear benefit. If the perks are unclear, most online consumers protect their data by deleting certain apps, or adjusting settings. This encourages companies like Facebook and Google to make consumer privacy tools more accessible.  

    As the digital world continues to rapidly evolve, it can be hard to keep up. Industry analyses, like Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report, gives marketers and advertisers quite a bit to chew on as they plan their next campaign or develop a brand-building strategy. You can focus on optimizing your search strategy, or jumpstart a longer-term high-quality content strategy that clearly communicates the value of your brand and where it stands on the biggest issues today. At the end of the day, it’s all about what aligns best with your brand today and where you want it to be tomorrow.

    Want to learn more about how data privacy can impact your brand and marketing strategy? Join us at RampUp on the Road in New York on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 to hear from industry leaders on how to stay ahead of the data privacy curve, among other important topics.

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