Mary Meeker’s internet trends report: 5 social media takeaways

The mammoth report has a number of useful insights into the latest social media trends, and we've trawled through the slides so you don't have to.

Mary Meeker’s internet trends report

It has become as iconic as it is insightful, and Mary Meeker’s latest Internet Trends report was released last week to the usual clamour from the relevant industries.

Meeker is a partner at VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and each year produces a comprehensive overview of current internet trends, covering a huge range of topics including online advertising, interactive games and smartphone use.

The 2017 report is 355 slides long, but we’ve picked out those most relevant to social media marketers to save you the trouble.

1. Measuring ROI

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Measuring social media ROI is no easy task as many marketers will know. This slide (the right half anyway) illustrates just how significant a challenge this is within the industry. More than 60 per cent of respondents in this survey said measuring ROI was their biggest challenge, followed by securing budget and aligning activity with the aims of their organisation.

The left side of the slide is a little bemusing, in that marketers consider engagement a more telling measure of advertising success than actual revenue. There’s no doubt that engagement can be a positive indicator of a brand’s social effectiveness, but if ROI is seemingly so difficult to measure then conversion and revenue should rank far higher.

READ MORE: Can we really measure social media ROI?

2. Facebook advertising

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Contextual Facebook advertising, such as links posted in Messenger like in the slide above, drive impressive conversion rates. More than a quarter of users who clicked on a contextual ad went on to make a purchase, which underlines the importance of omnichannel customer service. Even seven per cent of users who did not click on contextual ads ended up making a purchase anyway, which is still a healthy conversion rate.

3. UGC content

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Meeker’s research also provided insight into the effectiveness of user-generated content (UGC) on social media. A user posting content on a social channel can generate almost seven times greater engagement than content posted by the brand itself. The example in the slide above shows Ben and Jerry’s Instagram account, where the ice cream brand regularly posts images created by its fans.

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Ben and Jerry’s isn’t the only brand leveraging UGC; far from it. Some of the world’s biggest companies frequently regram content from customers, with almost 80 per cent of Qatar Airways’ Instagram content coming from users. Red Bull, BMW, Netflix and Starbucks also rely heavily on UGC.

4. Social customer service

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Social media is now a significant part of any large brand’s customer service make-up, but where do users think companies can improve? The above slide illustrates a mixed bag of responses.

Sixty per cent of respondents in this survey want to see ‘easier access to online support channels’ (slightly odd, given that accessing the Facebook page – for example – of any major brand is a simple task these days). More than half of those surveyed want to see faster response times from agents (a given), while consistency across channels and faster access to live support were also on the wishlist.

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Naming and shaming has become common practice on social media. As the above slide shows, customers clearly feel airing grievances in a public forum gives them a better chance of receiving an appropriate response. The number of customers who add a company to their shopping blacklist after a bad experience on social has increased over the past three years, albeit only slightly.

5. Gaming on the rise

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Meeker describes gaming as the ‘most engaging form of social media’. Global interactive gaming is now a mainstream activity, with 2.6 billion gamers in 2017 versus 100 million in 1995. Console gamers spend an average of 51 minutes playing daily; more time than is spent on all the major social networks.

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