Internet advertising continues to grow with mobile ad spend now outperforming desktop, according to the latest Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet Trends report.
Time spent on mobile versus ad spend has grown considerably since 2010 (8%/0.5%) to 33% in 2018.
Google and Facebook are still dominating the Internet ad market, whilst Amazon, Twitter, Snap and Pinterest have made gains in 2018 (+2.6x).
The report warned that acquisition costs could stifle mobile ad spend growth with programmatic display ad gains potentially having a negative impact on prices. At the same time, advertisers are having to consider new GDPR ruling which could still have a lasting effect on ad targeting.
Among the most effective marketing strategies, free trials are preferred among 42% of customers, who are aware that free often means ‘ad-supported’.
Meeker mentioned Spotify as an example of an app model where conversions work with the majority of users (60%) on an ad-supported freemium subscription and 40% enjoying a monthly paid subscription.
Recommendations by others were found to be the main reasons for consumers to trial a subscription.
The report highlights a steady increase in time spent using mobile devices on a daily basis among US adults from 0.3 hours per day in 2008 to 3.6 hours a day in 2018. Indeed, in 2019 time spent in mobile for the first time was higher than time spent watching TV.
The dominant platforms users are spending their time on include Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, WeChat and Instagram.
Overall, innovation among Internet and tech businesses remained particularly strong in businesses outside the US with financial service companies such as Alipay in China, Revolut in Europe and Nubank in Brazil driving much of that growth.
However, there are some concerns among adults that they are spending too much time online with social media platforms consider to affect people’s sleep quality, and boosting anxiety levels.
The number of adults trying to reduce their smartphone usage has thus increased from 47% in 2017 to 63% in 2018.
Mobile devices have enabled users to take photos and share them whenever they feel like it in order to communicate and share their stories. Annual image creation has doubled in 2017 from 2013 with image sharing on Instagram now at one billion photos monthly.
Meanwhile, 50% of tweets now include photos, videos or other media types.
The changes have been bolstered by companies including Google, Instagram and Pinterest continuing to improve their image sharing functionalities.
The report also noted that interactive gaming grew 6% year-on-year with 2.4 billion interactive game players globally in 2018. The benefit of interactive gaming is that users get to interact with each other whilst playing their favourite mobile or online video games.
Fortnite was cited by Meeker as a standout freemium model with the potential to become a new social network. The game already has over 250 million players who interact online and play in teams together.