Each year, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers (KPCB) partner Mary Meeker, a true technologist and venture capitalist, releases an Internet Trends report. This report covers everything from healthcare to Chinese and Indian internet to video games, but it also gives us a look at what internet and technology trends are affecting media – specifically marketing, public relations, and advertising.

After reviewing this 355-page report, we have pulled together some of the top learnings that are essential for communicators to understand in order to better serve clients today and in the future.

  1. People know when they see an ad, and they are blocking it out Ad blockers are becoming increasingly popular – especially on mobile platforms, and on an international level – with the amount of users with ad blockers nearly tripling in 2016. Since ads face greater obstacles to reaching the right audience, brands must shift their focus to inserting themselves elsewhere on target media sites. Thought leadership opportunities and influencer marketing might show better results as the ad blocking revolution continue to grow.
  1. Cell phones are the new computer According to the report, an average person spends 5.6 hours a day on the internet, and that number is growing 4% year-on-year. Most of that has been powered by the mobile phone revolution and people are getting their news on mobile devices more than ever. The ad industry has taken notice and mobile spending is increasing on a massive scale. Similarly, communicators must think of new ways to make communications suitable for mobile devices and make it a bigger priority in their strategy. With mobile in mind, communications must made more concise, websites should be built mobile-first, content should be made more easily shareable, and mobile must be made a priority in the event of a crisis.
  1. Data, data, data and more data Consumers love data and they love to track things in real time. While Meeker shows this interest in data by pointing to the popularity of health and fitness apps, we can apply this lesson to communications as well. Reporters and those reading their stories care about real original data, and that data can be a key reason why media respond to a story idea or why a contributed article is selected to be published. Including data,—whether from a survey or other sources—has not only been proven to boost media exposure, but also enhance public opinion of a company or individual claiming expertise.
  1. Identifying ROI is still marketing’s biggest challenge It seems like every day, we see an article in an industry blog about new ways to report and track return on investment. Experts still struggle to identify the best way to show clients the value of their results. Meeker notes that one of the major problems organizations have with new media is tracking return on investment from social media campaigns. More and more PR and Marketing initiatives involve social media, and this only amplifies concerns of executives who ask why they are paying for it.

Now more than ever, communicators and marketers need to set clear objectives and goals at the outset – based on reach and audience engagement. Engagement can be tricky, but when you create content with engagement at top-of-mind, it should garner more (and higher quality) interactions, and result in a superior ROI.

There is a lot of useful information to be learned from this extensive technology report, and it covers far more than marketing. Much of it is relevant to everyday life and it does a great job at explaining the ways that the internet is changing consumers on a global level, as well as the ways that consumers are changing the internet. Check out the full report here.

Gabe Ross

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