We are the World: Mary Meeker’s Insights from Web 2.0

Mary Meeker  is a rock star of the digital world, and her presentation at this week’s  Web 2.0 Summit was as fact filled and interesting as ever. The trends that jumped out at me:

People of the world are truly becoming connected to each other – and mobile platforms will accelerate this trend.

  • 81% of the users of the top 10 internet properties (Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc.) are outside the United States. It’s no surprise that the immense populations of India, China and Russia are rapidly connecting to the internet, and there is still room for them to continue to grow. But who would have expected that Nigeria and Iran would add so many? And where was the largest percentage growth? The Philippines.
  • 85% of the world’s population is covered by commercial wireless signals – more than the reach of the electric grid.
  • World trade is 24% of global GDP, compared to 10% in 1960.

Mobile platforms are taking over desktop-based platforms in the near future and marketers must be ready.

  • Phones that are internet-enabled (smartphones) grew 35% globally and already represent over half of the total mobile market in many markets. Shipments of smart phones now exceed feature phones in Western Europe and the US and the rest of the world will follow this trend.
  • Mobile use of search engines, applications, and e-commerce are ramping up sharply. Consumers say the biggest reason they abandon an in-store shopping experience is because they found a better price elsewhere, using their smartphone to check pricing.
  • Advertisers have a big opportunity in reaching consumers via a mobile device: while consumers spend 8% of their time with mobile media, advertisers are currently allocating only .5% of their advertising budgets to the mobile channel.

Social technologies are no longer a separate channel – social is core to every digital experience.

  • In June of 2011, consumers time spent on social channels exceeded that of large Internet portals (AOL, Yahoo, MSN) for the first time.
  • Facebook now has over 800 million global active user, 50% of whom log on each day. Facebook is third in total internet traffic after the search giants Google and Microsoft.
  • There are more social networkers today than there were total internet users in 2006.
  • USA consumers are only #12 in the time spent using social networks:  Israel, Argentina and Turkey are at the top of the list. (Countries of “the Americas” make up 8 or the top 12.)

Our voices –  and our ears – will become important again.

  • In recent years, texting and apps have become the dominant way that people use their phones – actually making phone calls and talking to people has become a much smaller percentage of total usage.
  • Voice and sound recognition technologies are beginning to be deployed in our devices, and as these technologies continue to improve in quality and affordability, we will increasingly use these enhanced tools to allow us to see and hear the people at the other end of our connection. This could give brands an unprecedented way to connect directly with consumers.
  • The “face” of the brand may need to become a real person – or group of people. The internet makes business transparent – it’s pretty hard to hide behind a corporate entity. Brands will need to become comfortable with allowing consumers see the person(s) “behind the curtain”.

A video of Mary’s presentation is available on YouTube.

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