Each year entrepreneurs, marketers, business owners, and more anxiously await the release of the Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report.
And while the 2016 report shows that our global economic growth has slowed and that garnering new Internet users in more developed countries has become more difficult, it's quick to point out that opportunities do exist.
Here is how business owners and entrepreneurs can take advantage of these opportunities.
If You Aren’t Investing in Mobile, You Are Quickly Falling Further Behind
Internet advertising in the United States has seen consistent growth year over year, totaling $10 billion more in 2015 than in 2014. Facebook accounted for the largest growth in advertising revenue with a 59 percent increase, compared to Google’s 18 percent.
This is thanks mainly to the $21 billion spent on mobile advertising. But even with mobile advertising showing the largest room for success and growth, brands still show a commitment to legacy media outlets. In 2015, 16 percent of advertising spending was spent on print yet it only accounted for four percent of media consumption time.
Entrepreneurs and business owners must invest in their mobile strategy, and make it a top priority. Even antiquated industries, such as insurance, which had previously focused mainly on print, radio, and TV, are joining the Internet advertising trend and many are leading the way.
You Must Engage, Target, and Support the Millennial Generation, Even if They Aren’t Your Target Customer
The increase in mobile ad spending can be contributed in part to the continued rise of new and old social media channels. With Millennials the largest generation making up 27 percent of the population, it’s no surprise that we’ve seen a change in how media is consumed and how products are bought.
These Millennials have grown up in an era when streaming media on smartphones is the norm, and who have admitted that social media is a primary source of news. To top it off, this generation, which will likely hold the majority of the spending power in the next 10 years, are using five screens at once at any given time.
As business owners, getting millennials’ attention early and often, even if only for 20 seconds, is key. If they aren’t your target customer now, they soon will be.
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- Be authentic. Millennials are realistic and capable of seeing through ungenuine content.
- Be visual. In 2015, 3.25 million images were shared via Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and Facebook.
- Be entertaining. Create videos that are just as powerful with no sound for the 81 percent of the population who mute ads. There were roughly 10 billion video views a day on Snapchat alone, including personal, procuration, and professional videos.
In case there is any doubt about the power of video and social media, consider Salt Lake City-based company Clearlink. It created a Snapchat filter for the city’s annual Pride Festival, and in fewer than three days it had more than 6,500 users and 400,000 viewers. That equates to reaching twice the population of the city.
Businesses Must Use Big Data, But Take Care to Do It Correctly
Big data is a powerful thing, and the ability to access it through platforms such as Looker, SalesforceIQ, and Cloudera CDH are giving businesses the opportunity to make smarter, more efficient decisions, as well as to create better customer relationships. The success marketers have seen using social media targeting shows that many customers appreciate big data when it’s used to better serve them.
But it’s also become evident that in the past few years the concerns around data security are valid. Since 2013, there have been roughly four billion personal records breached.
For businesses today, it’s become more important than ever to understand and validate the concerns customers have. More consumers now 45 percent in total are more worried about their online privacy today than they were a year ago. Top concerns include:
- Where companies sell the data
- Where companies keep the data and for how long
- How companies identify a consumer
- Who within companies sees the data
Consumer apprehension goes beyond just the management of their data, but carries into how that data is used to market to them. More than half of the consumers surveyed agreed that personalized marketing, while beneficial, is also unnerving. Consider insurance companies, which have access to driving history, credit score, and more.
That data is used to determine risk profiles, which then determines pricing. If insurance companies didn’t have procedures in place to effectively mask the identity of the consumer, privacy would be breached.
Businesses must be conscious of how and when they are using personal data to target both potential and current customers. B2C businesses should only use consumer data to:
- Solve a customer problem
- Understand who the consumer is and how they move through the sales funnel to make experience improvements
- Build customer relationships in which you are treating the customer like the individual he or she is
Related Article: 20 Social & Digital Trends That Will Impact Marketing in 2016
For business owners, entrepreneurs, and marketers, 2016 has proven that at the end of the day, the customer is king. Doing right by the customer and giving them what they want, when they want it, in a form they can understand, will align you with success.
*All statistics not sourced were provided by the 2016 Internet Trends Report.