All marketers look forward to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report for its valuable data and actionable insights that can be incorporated into the overall marketing strategy. This year’s report makes it evident that digital marketing is constantly growing in significance as compared to traditional media. Social media is bigger than ever as a platform for content sharing, and offers a plethora of opportunities to brands for engagement. Here our understanding of the 4 key takeaways and trends for social media from the 2014 edition of Mary Meeker’s report:
1. The Internet Trifecta: According to Meeker, it is more crucial than ever for brands to integrate content with community and commerce, a concept she named ‘the internet trifecta’. Before the advent of the internet, customers would engage with each other during shopping trips, social gatherings and visits to their preferred places of worship; talking about the latest news, or the best places to shop, latest purchases and so on.
2. The importance of visual content: About 1.8 billion photographs are uploaded and shared on the internet and mobile daily. The growth of social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest points to a growing increase in the importance of visual content. The key to shareable content? Images and video. The last time you shared something interesting with your friends on social platforms is more likely to be a fun video or an interesting image. In fact, 2/3 of what Meeker calls “digital universal content” is consumed or created by customers.
3. Share of screen: 84% of mobile owners use their devices while watching TV, in this era of multi-tasking – they do this to combine shopping, texting, searching for information and checking the latest scores. Clearly, marketers need to push relevant content that integrates both platforms. The TV budget you allocated needs to ensure that you are covered on mobile as well, for the same campaign, or you risk losing your customer’s attention. With shrinking attention spans and the increasing number of devices, marketers need to be prepared and have a digital and social strategy that encompasses all media.
4. The increasing importance of data: Big data is one of the most popular buzzwords in marketing and social today. However, Meeker’s report suggests that of all the data collected on the ‘digital universe’, only 34% of it is useful. Further, only 1% of this is actually analysed. This underlines the value of converting data into meaningful insights that can improve the overall customer experience.
Here’s how brands can leverage these insights and translate them into action items:
1. Bloggers as spokespersons: This sense of community lives on in social media when customers recommend products, ‘talk’ to brands and interact with friends at the click of a button. Brands that invest in digital need to also focus on building relationships with their consumers. The blogging community has become powerful as a tool for brand PR when they are ready to write relevant, targeted and useful content for your brand. The value proposition by the brand needs to be strong to attract the right kind of influence online through bloggers and micro-bloggers.
2. Contextual content creation: Today’s consumers are no longer interested in sales-y, pushy messages from brands – they look for values and benefits that they can relate to and connect with their daily life. This is where contextual content creation comes in. Brands need to focus on targeting their messages with a dual objective:
i) provide value or delight and ii) make it easy relatable to the current happenings in the world, to the consumer’s daily habits or to certain specific pain points they may have.
3. Targeting keeping the audience in mind: Brands need to adopt multi-faceted approaches to promoting and marketing themselves. When we roped in a B2B brand for managing their digital presence, we soon learnt that we have to unlearn everything we knew from other client experiences because the B2B space is so different. Brands need to deep dive into digital and separate the consumer industry approach from the purely business approach for better results.
The power and influence of digital and mobile on marketing this year is evident in Mary Meeker’s report for 2014. Has the time for brands to re-evaluate their marketing strategy arrived? Has traditional media finally taken the backseat for once? Only time will tell.