Each year, Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers produces a much-anticipated Internet Trends report with an abundance of useful information for the entire tech industry. This year it includes valuable tips on what we can learn from the recent history of the mobile platform, and what we can expect from it going forward. Meeker’s slide deck consists of more than 200 pages, so to save you reading time we’ve collected some of the most useful information related to the mobile space.
First, Internet advertising is still growing. In fact, online ads grew 20 percent last year overall. And while that number is large, it isn’t nearly as impressive as the 66 percent growth in mobile online ads. When compared to desktop advertising, which increased by just 5 percent, the gap is even more striking.
Users are also spending more and more time on their phones or tablets. Consumers are now spending 25 percent of their time on mobile, Meeker reports, compared to 22 percent on desktops. Among the five categories broken out in her report, only television attracted a larger share of our time. But while television reigns supreme now, it’s been on a steady decline as mobile rises.
Mobile advertising may be growing, but not nearly fast enough to keep up with consumer demands, Meeker argues. Mobile advertising accounts for only 12 percent of ad spending, while desktop advertising accounts for 23 percent and print media accounts for 16 percent. Mobile advertising now accounts for $21 billion of online advertising, out of the $60 billion spent on all online advertising. Meeker says there is a $22 billion opportunity in the United States alone for mobile advertising.
Simply put, if you are investing more of your time and effort into print media than mobile in 2016, you’re allocating funds to the wrong medium. Among print, radio, television, desktop, and mobile, only one of those is climbing.
So what are some of the challenges the report points to? Ad blocking is one, which we will get to in a second, and the slowing of Internet growth is another. Internet users grew from 35 million to 3 billion in the past 20 years, but those numbers aren’t rising like they used to. In the not-too-distant future, companies that embrace new platforms and take measured risks to jump on new technologies will be rewarded. Publishers need to take advantage of the growth in mobile to exploit the new normal of smartphones and tablets. Companies that use non-intrusive advertising practices can break the mold and reinvent what advertising means to Millennials, whose buying power is poised to balloon as they reach mid-adulthood.
These solutions go hand-in-hand in the fight against ad blockers. Ad blockers have grown 94 percent over the past year on mobile devices. That means the value of creative, intuitive, and user-friendly advertising is rising as well. Making ads that people want to see and won’t perceive as getting in the way of their viewing experience is paramount as mobile advertising progresses in the coming years.
Mobile advertising is a large space that is ready to become much bigger. Controlling and understanding this platform can be a huge boost to anyone creating content. For publishers still thinking about jumping into mobile, the time has come to go ahead and do it—or risk being left behind.