August 9, 2016, 5:05 PM

2016 Internet Trends: quantifying the mobile uprising

The widely followed annual Internet Trends report from Mary Meeker documents that advertisers remain too heavily invested in print and TV and not enough in mobile.

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“Innovation needs to be part of your culture. Consumers are transforming faster than we are, and if we don’t catch up, we’re in trouble.” –Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus

It’s summer virtually everywhere. No real need to “fly south” on a tropical holiday when it’s so warm and beautiful on Main Street, your back patio, and at the lake. 

Last weekend we got an invitation to spend a lazy day at a friend’s lake home, a little over an hour’s drive from Raleigh, on a warm and sunny summer Sunday. When we arrived just after 1 pm, our host had just returned from a two-hour pontoon boat trip around the lake and was relaxing with his wife and another couple on the back deck. After grabbing some sandwiches and refreshments from the kitchen, our talk turned to the report my friend had printed for his weekend reading:  Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2016.

A little background. Mary Meeker began her career as a securities analyst and until 2010 worked at Morgan Stanley as a research analyst. In 2001 she began publishing the annual Internet Trends report on the state of the Internet and in 2011 she joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (Silicon Valley’s premiere venture capital firm).

My friend Aaron motions to me on his back porch after flipping through Mary’s Slideshare deck in a hunt to find the fact that piqued his interest the most. Aaron points me to the chart that shows the rise in internet advertising growth in the United States.

As the CEO of a digital advertising agency, I’ve seen firsthand the disparity between mobile and desktop growth. Her report showed that the majority of internet advertising growth in 2015 was due to mobile, which accounted for 66% of overall growth compared to just 5% on desktop.

While desktop still commands almost two-thirds of total internet advertising dollars spent, in the past six years alone mobile ad spend has seen an exponential rise from less than $1 billion to over $20 billion.

That’s over a 20x increase in less than a decade! At the current growth trajectory, mobile ad spend could overtake desktop as early as 2017.

After digging deeper in Mrs. Meeker’s report, it’s apparent that advertisers remain far too invested in legacy media (print, TV). Last year, 25% of all time spent consuming media occurred on mobile devices, yet only 12% of overall advertising dollars in the USA were dedicated to mobile. There was $22 billion in advertising opportunity left on the table!  

Sticking to the mobile trend, there was another compelling slide that will have an impact on the future of marketing: the rise of voice technology. In 2013, an average of 30% of Smartphone users utilized voice assistants, such as Apple’s Siri, on a regular basis. By 2015, that percentage more than doubled to 65%.

According to Google Trends, voice search queries are up 700% since 2010 and 35-fold since 2008! In May of 2016, 1 in 5 Android searches on a mobile device were voice searches, and it’s estimated that by 2020 at least 50% of all searches will be made via images or speech.

You might be thinking, so what? What does it matter if someone speaks a search query or types it? The answer is simple: Most people speak differently than they type. You might type, for instance, “paid search advertising” into the search bar. But when you speak it, you might say something like “what are the latest trends in paid search advertising?”

With the speed of voice recognition, you’re more likely to flesh out an idea, and the results that can incorporate more of these keywords will rise to the top while those stuck in the days of shorter text searches will falter.

The final key takeaway from the report was the influence that social media has on millennials. In particular, visual social media such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest all have at least a 45% reach among 18-34 year olds. The average user spends 150-300+ minutes per month on these channels. Specifically, Facebook has a nearly 100% reach in this age bracket and over 1,000 minutes per month by the average user!

The rise of social media has been happening for years, but to see the penetration for an entire generation speaks volumes of its overwhelming importance in the future of digital marketing.

As the summer winds down, it’s important to take these mobile and social trends into consideration with your business. With the winter holidays fast approaching, utilizing the incredible wealth of data from Mary Meeker’s report could be vital to the success of your marketing efforts. Knowing where the opportunities lie can go a long way to improving your ROI and achieving your goals.

Carpe diem,

ROI Revolution provides search marketing services to 21 of the Top 1000 online retailers in North America, according to

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