2014 Internet Trends: Mobile Boom, Messaging Shifts and Audience Migrations


Former Morgan Stanley analyst and current Kleiner Perkins investor Mary Meeker presented her annual Internet Trends report yesterday at re/code’s Code Conference. Meeker and KPCB have published a report every year since 2001, providing the technology and media industries with powerful insights into the future of digital and how the world interacts with each other and communicates.

Here are a few takeaways we found for marketing and PR professionals:

Mobile UsageIt’s no surprise that mobile and tablet traffic is increasing. In this graph, you can see on the global level that as a percentage of web usage, mobile usage has increased by more than 10% year-over-year. Traffic on mobile devices now accounts for a quarter of all web traffic. In some nations, such as China (with 616 million users), over 80% is mobile.

PR professionals need to focus on creating and publicizing mobile-friendly content, because chances are that one in four people viewing and interacting with your content will be doing so on a mobile device – be it a tablet or smartphone. We already know images and videos are widely shared, so try turning your next monotonous press release into an infographic. Tell your client’s story with an entertaining video. If your latest news or client story isn’t visual-friendly, make sure your client’s mobile website is up to date and working correctly. Being ready for mobile is the table minimum.

MessagingOnline messaging services, like WhatsApp and Snapchat, have grown to a user base of over one billion people, and all within the last five years. People are sharing fewer general messages to all of their followers (i.e., a Facebook post) and instead having more targeted and personalized interactions with a smaller group of close contacts (i.e., a Snapchat photo or video).

Brands can take advantage of this trend by following a basic rule in PR: if you want your audience to interact with you, you need to go to them. If your audience is on Snapchat, get involved. Over the past year, we’ve seen several brands get in on the Snapchat action, and quite successfully. Through the use of Stories, brands can broadcast product promotions, announcements, sneak peeks – you name it – to all of their followers at once. The content is then visible to users for 24 hours.

More broadly, the age of being able to hit large clusters of people all at once is coming to a final close. As people form more tight-knit communities, your brand’s story must be more and more compelling in order to migrate from niche community to niche community. You can’t rely on everyone being on the same social networks anymore.

DataThe rise in mobile technology and integration of pretty much everything consumers do, has paved the way for big data collection. Marketers have an astonishing amount of data at their fingertips. Currently, 34% of all data collected is useful, but only 1% is being analyzed. It is critical that marketers invest more time and resources into data analysis. Ask yourselves, “What insights can be learned?” and seek to answer the question. It is from those insights that you derive a strategy. A well-informed and directed strategy should be based in data. You have to know where you stand currently to reach your goal. When you start a road trip, one of the first steps is mapping out your directions. If you know where you are headed but don’t know where you are now, how can you find your way?

AudienceApps have replaced channels in the day-to-day activity of consumers. TV channels have migrated to on-demand apps and YouTube. What does this tell us? The media industry is fragmented. Instead of watching the evening news, the Internet can provide consumers with thousands of news sources, right at their fingertips. Consumers want their news from the source, from the experts, so they’re going to niche news outlets and sources, of which they have zillions to choose from.

Even if we have a million people making contact with reporters to get placements, it would be impossible to touch every outlet. This is why they say content is king. This is why your story, your news, has to be captivating. It has to attract readers and illicit emotions. Your fans will become your best advocates. They will share your story. Simply, targeting five news outlets won’t work anymore. Don’t throw away your traditional media lists, but your focus should already be shifting from the outlet to the story, to what your audience truly wants and is willing to share. Without solid content, your story will go nowhere.

This slide says it best: your audience stops when you stop. Your fans keep working on your behalf long after you’re done. Your goal shouldn’t just be audience, but be cultivating those true fans whom you love and love you in return.

Tori Sabourin
Marketing Coordinator



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