Mary Meeker’s 2014 Internet Trends: Mobile Really is the New Black

If Silicon Valley drives the tech community, then there are few more authoritative sources to discuss what’s coming next, than KPCB partner, Mary Meeker. Meeker presented her annual Internet trends report at the inaugural Code Conference this week, and while the tickets sold out almost immediately months ago, the rest of us are fortunate enough to learn from the content shared on the stage.

The presentation emphasized mobile’s rapid growth rate—an evolution that resembles that of the once-steep adoption curve of the Internet itself, spurred forward by broadband access and its ever increasing speeds. Since 1996, American adults Internet use has grown from 14% to 86%—fueled by an always-on Internet and content revolution that made the Internet as essential to communication now as the telephone was in the mid-20th century. When the Internet met the phone, however, something incredible happened: “Always-on” became actually always-on, and even more compellingly, “always in hand.” The Internet went from being something you used on the computer at work or home, to being an instant portal to create, engage, consume and transact anywhere.

Meeker’s first 16 slides show that if you’re not leading with mobile, you’re running the risk of not being relevant. In her 2013 presentation, the mobile conversation focused primarily on smartphone operating system market share and the emergence of a big opportunity in mobile advertising. This year, with YOY mobile data traffic growth of 81%, the focus was on the near ubiquity of the mobile device, and the growth of mobile traffic as a proportion of all web usage—25% of all pageviews globally now come from a mobile device.

Mary Meeker trends slide

Recent forecasts from eMarketer tell a similar, but perhaps even more striking story: that the average adult’s daily time spent on mobile this year will increase nearly 25% over 2013—outpacing growth for all other media—and effectually cannibalizing it. Not only are we doing more on our mobile devices, we’re opting for mobile-time over other activities, like watching TV (commercials) or online shopping on our desktops. The consequences are clear for advertising, but the marketing department still has some catching up to do. It’s not enough to serve dozens of Facebook ads and implement a sophisticated retargeting program; truly personalized marketing requires knowing who a customer is, wherever they decide to interact with you—including your website, mobile websites and native apps.

Earlier this month we introduced you to the concept of Marketing Continuity—a framework for thinking about your marketing programs as one seamless end-to-end experience across all devices. By building out a customer profile, encouraging a logged-in state on both web and mobile, and leveraging the data you collect to build highly-relevant and personalized experiences, you can seriously move the needle on customer experience, conversions, and ultimately, revenue.

Mobile is a central part of this framework, and the key to making it work. In order to recognize customers and serve up the right content and offers to them, you have to know that they’re Sarah, age 34, from Baltimore, who loves babies, skiing and pugs—not just some anonymous user from North America between the ages of 13 and 65. Registration and login are the first step on the critical path to establishing that deep level of customer knowledge, and especially important on mobile where there’s no other truly effective way to track your customers across devices.

I encourage you to explore Janrain’s resources to learn more about the best practices for designing mobile experiences, as well as implementing mobile registration and login and driving user adoption. Watch the recording of our recent webinar, “Mobile is the New Black,” and download our brand new guide to Mobile Login Best Practices. And, as always, don’t be a stranger! Reach out in the comments with your thoughts, feedback and questions—and thank you for helping us make Mobile May a huge success.