TOP Talk

Sixty Seconds for Social: Social Takeaways From Mary Meeker’s Report on Internet Trends

Posted June 12, 2015 By Mary Pavlu

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Venture capitalist Mary Meeker, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and former Morgan Stanley analyst, has published her Internet Trends Report annually for two decades, and with each one come fascinating insights on the direction of the Internet industry and related technologies. The report has taken on “must-read” status for those of us in the industry. The presentation, in its entirety, covers some of the biggest changes in tech, mobile and media - as well as what’s to come.

Venture capitalist Mary Meeker, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and former Morgan Stanley analyst, has published her Internet Trends Report annually for two decades, and with each one come fascinating insights on the direction of the Internet industry and related technologies. The report has taken on “must-read” status for those of us in the industry. The presentation, in its entirety, covers some of the biggest changes in tech, mobile and media - as well as what’s to come. But at nearly two-hundred slides, not all of us have the time to read the whole things. So, we’re helping you out with the top social takeaways in a far more digestible length.

The Rise of Messaging

One significant social trend in Meeker’s report is the rising importance of messaging apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Kik, which she referred to as “central communications hubs.” Meeker explained that messaging apps could become the place to purchase food and clothing as well as store personal information. Meeker’s main point is that the leaders in messaging are growing quickly, and that point is proven just by looking at the numbers. Snapchat has 100 million active users per day, WhatsApp has 800 million active mobile users, Facebook Messenger has 600 million and WeChat has 549 million. Another interesting point is that messaging apps make up six of the top ten most used apps in the world.

As for the future, Meeker shares that new Internet users will likely be current non-smartphone users, and are likely to get online first by using messaging platforms.

Video Is the Future

One of the most powerful changes reported by Meeker is the rapid growth in video. Video viewing comprised a colossal 64% of web traffic in 2014 (up from 62% in 2013). The major player behind this growth is Facebook, which boasts four billion video views per day, and which has quadrupled its size in the last six months, as Fortune reported in this recent video:

Meanwhile video game viewing has also exploded, with 100 million monthly active users on Twitch, up an astounding 122% in the past year.

Meeker also notes that mobile now accounts for 55% of web traffic, up from 52% in 2013. In fact, vertical viewing (on a handheld phone) now makes up 29% of total time spent on screens, a trend that is undoubtedly influenced by the growth of Snapchat and other mobile video offerings.

Social Media Growth (Or Lack Thereof)

Meeker also reports on some troubling findings regarding the most popular social networks, Twitter and Facebook. Her findings show that ARPU (average revenue per user) growth has been declining for both social networks over the past few years. So while Facebook and Twitter have been adding new users, revenue growth hasn’t kept pace.

Re/ code posited that the issue could be due to the users joining from emerging markets, “where digital advertising is nowhere near as mature as it is in the United States. So the companies are adding new users without the kind of revenue stream they get in more established markets.”

Check out the slide below for more details on the decline:

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Final Thoughts

The Internet tends to go wild for Meeker’s yearly reports, and it’s no wonder, given how much can change over the course of 365 days. When Meeker published her first report in 1995, there were 30 million Internet users. Today, it’s 2.8 billion.

Social takeaways like the rise of messaging and video, and the decline of Facebook and Twitter per user revenue growth made a huge splash in the media, but these observations are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of Meeker’s annual analysis. She also includes insights and statistics detailing mobile advertising, enterprise computing, the on-demand phenomenon - even drones! If you’d like to read Meeker’s full report, you can view the slides at KCPB.

Want to learn more? Check out these other resources:

Mary Pavlu

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