Internet Trends 2017 Report: Top 4 Takeaways

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The Internet’s abuzz about Apple’s WWDC keynote, but we’re still reeling over the rapid-fire Internet Trends presentation from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Delivered by partner Mary Meeker, the “most anticipated slide deck in Silicon Valley” dove into 355 slides of data affecting business, ecommerce, consumer behavior, and the global marketplace.

Here are the top four most buzzed-about Kleiner Perkins Internet trends and what they mean for your business:  

Visuals are replacing text

“A lot of the future of search is going to be about pictures instead of keywords.” -Ben Silbermann, Founder and CEO of Pinterest

The most innovative retailers and brands are finding ways to make images, video, data, and algorithms serve up relevant content. Now images are replacing words as the driver of all advertising and ecommerce, even on the back-end.

  • For sharing: Social platforms Snap and Instagram enable users to generate images real-time. The apps use geo-location to find users and serve up augmented overlays based on their location.
  • For finding: Google Lens, announced at the 2017 I/O developer conference, will provide greater context to images on the user’s device. The app uses augmented reality from a smartphone camera to serve up recommendations from your trusted network.
  • For utility: Computer algorithms can now infer user context from images alone, projecting augmented reality objects into scenes. Users can use these apps to visually project furniture around their home, then find specific product in-store.

What this means for you: Where privacy was once an issue, your target customer now has no problem sharing their location or information—if you provide a way to make their lives better. Understanding your customers, from their daily patterns to how they’d like to interact with your brand, will help you provide real value worth subscribing to long-term.

Voice will replace typing

Consumers are adopting rapidly to voice-based search over typing. As the Internet Trends report shows searches in natural, conversational, language on the rise, content too must evolve.

  • 20% of mobile queries are spoken
  • Nearly 70% of requests are natural/conversational language
  • Google machine learning has achieved 95% human word accuracy, up nearly 20% from 2013

What this means for you: When it comes to search, consumers don’t care how it’s accomplished—they just want answers fast. With the rise in search by voice, which takes place in “human” language, consider how findable the content on your site truly is.

Ads are the new transactions

The lines between ads, content, products, and transactions are blurring. Fast.

When social media platforms began serving up ads they became the new-age publishers—with a kick. More than traditional media, platforms like Facebook and Instagram can serve highly targeted advertisements, mining data from every “like”, “share”, “comment”, and reaction to user content.

According to the Internet Trends report, ads are evolving into targeted storefronts, where the content is the store and the ad is the transaction. The 4-panel Facebook ad entices users to swipe left to discover product while emails personalize product selection. High-quality media have taken place of irrelevant pop-ups, inciting a transaction within the app itself.

The content is the store and the ads are the transaction.

The Kleiner Perkins Internet Trends 2017 Report has the ad content appearing as a browsable storefront

Facebook serves up ads as browsable storefronts, while emails utilize personalization to deliver curated storefronts.

The Kleiner Perkins Internet Trends 2017 Report has ads as the new transactions, enabling purchase right from social media platforms

Advertisers deliver advertisements as high-quality content, with social media platforms enabling transactions from the app itself.

What this means for you: Shying away from high-value content marketing is no longer an option. As shown by the Content Marketing Institute:

  • 200 million people use ad blockers.
  • Consumers have developed a distaste for ads, but embrace high-quality content 7.8 times more, in comparison.
  • Done right, content marketing costs much less (62% less!) than outbound marketing, and generates more than 3x the leads. 

Gaming will elevate your industry

Interactive games. They’re the “motherlode” of tech product innovation and evolution, as well as modern learning. Even entrepreneurs Elon Musk (Tesla & SpaceX), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) swear by it.

“If you want to see what business leadership may look like in three to five years, look at what’s happening in online games.” -Byron Reeves, Professor of Communication, Stanford University

With 2.6 billion gamers today versus 100 million in 1995, global interactive gaming is rapidly evolving. But it’s still in its infancy, as Mary Meeker stated in the Internet Trends report. 

Interactive gaming is becoming way more dynamic with real-world simulations and is influencing multiple industries. For example:

  • Rewards and recognition: Space Invaders was the first arcade game to record high scores in 1978. Today, Airbnb recognizes top performing hosts through their Superhost Program.
  • Increased performance: STRIVR Labs and Stanford Football are utilizing video and virtual reality to repeatedly run plays and scenarios to improve performance
  • Simulations: Multiple verticals utilize interactive gaming to simulate real-life experiences for training, including the military, in pilot training, and in healthcare

What this means for you: As interactive gaming innovates tech product across industries, its implications for ecommerce remain to be seen. On one hand, interactive gaming has mined troves of data collection, analytics, simulation, and engagement. Kleiner Perkins even posed the question: “Could it be the evolution, growth, and usage has prepared society for the ongoing rise of human-computer interaction?”

And yet, don’t forget the human side of the “human-computer” equation. Virtual and augmented reality have the industry abuzz. But in the words of Danial Dashtizad, Creative Director at Miva:

“VR and AR should complement the brand experience. But don’t forget why users are choosing your brand. That’s your story: what you represent, and the experience you’re providing.”

Now that’s one trend that won’t fade with the times.

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