Mary Meeker: The First Lady of the Internet

Every year the First Lady of the Internet, Mary Meeker, publishes a 100 page ‘state of the nation’ on what is changing online. This year we’ve picked out our highlights from Mary’s presentation.

Internet users growth is falling

For the last 20 years every digital business has had it relatively easy. Even if you were not at the top of your game, the fact that internet users were growing so quickly compensated for a lack of performance. Average was good enough to still grow. Well the bad news is that the growth party is over. Internet users over the past 20 years have grown from 35m to 3billion. But now whilst it’s still growing, the rate of growth is in decline – logical really. What this means for digital businesses is that less new users are coming online – hence to win we need to win market share. Winning market share can be much tougher than soaking up new entrants into a market.

Ad revenue growth is increasing

Advertising spend index is over the media available – hence there is more advertising being placed than there is media to put it on. Despite us all supposedly not liking online advertising and using ad blockers, ad revenue online is growing. It’s growing because it works. Data drives advertising online. More appropriate ads, to the right people with better, more engaging creative delivers results. Google’s ad revenue is up year on year by 14% to $75b. Advertisers are engaging and getting so much better. Publishers can do more to ride this wave.

Video Ads are leading the way

Actually all video content is leading the way. Facebook, Twitter, advertising – video is king. Online video has become couch potatoes TV. We consume vast amounts of it the same way we consumed TV in the 70’s and 80’s.

The Internet – Where 50% of all purchases start

Whilst only 10% of all purchase are made online, a massive 50% of purchases start online. So even for traditional bricks and mortar businesses – they need a dual play of dominating online to succeed offline. That means their relatively simple businesses of plonking a shop in a high footfall shopping centre no longer works. Cue shopping centres in trouble and old school retailers like BHS getting into trouble. There is no coincidence to the fact that Next plc’s share price went up almost 4 fold (from £23 to a peak of £80) in the past 5 years and them being one of the very first to really link online with high street shopping.