By now, most of us in the tech world are aware that Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) unveiled her latest Internet Trends report. Her slide deck is highly anticipated every year, and not only for its graphs. It also provides insights into how KPCB, one of the foremost venture capital firms, is calibrating their investment worldview.

This year, clocking in at an astounding 213 slides, the report thoroughly covers both macroeconomic and industry-specific digital marketing trends. With that sheer size, however, not a lot of marketing professionals have time to analyze the whole deck, much less read through it. Fortunately, we at BuzzShift have done the hard work for you. In case you don’t want to wade through all 213 slides, we’ve gleaned the five most important digital marketing insights for you.

1. Online ads, especially video, have a lot of room for growth.

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Google and Facebook have both proven the basic effectiveness of online ads, so staying smart and staying ahead of the curve is the name of the game for marketers. Where there is uncertainty, the key is to use a lot of testing and experimentation, and keep it at a relatively low cost. In Meeker’s report, she referenced Unruly’s Future Video Survey and identified eight main variables to video ad effectiveness:Authentic

  1. Entertaining
  2. Evoke Emotion
  3. Personal/Relatable
  4. Useful
  5. Viewer Control
  6. Work With Sound Off
  7. Non-Interruptive Ad Format


If you aren’t testing all of these variables in your video ads, then you are missing out on potentially huge online advertising opportunities (at a small expenditure, relative to the huge traditional TV ad spends).

Takeaway; If you aren’t using video for online advertising, you need to re-assess your budget allocations for video production. And you’ll generally want to keep them short; not 1-2 minute videos, but rather 5-15 second clips that can engage and communicate to users quickly.

2. Know the three Vs of mobile ads.

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Meeker highlighted the success of Snapchat in terms of views and engagement, and pointed out Snapchat’s 3V Advertising:

  • Vertical – Make video ads for mobile devices, which are normally held in portrait (vertical) orientation. Ads displayed in vertical mode gained higher engagement than ads in landscape format.
  • Video – Compared to static images or text, video is a better, more comprehensive canvas for storytelling. In an increasingly noisy online world, it makes for deeper and more engaging ads.
  • Viewing – Always make ads viewable in full screen mode. Ads, both video and static, that fill up the entire screen are best, because they maximize attention and eliminate any other distractions. This is especially important when you have less than 3 seconds, on average, to get your message across or get your “hook” into the user.

Takeaway: Start exploring the mobile ad space, and think about testing to see which gets more engagement and conversion metrics in your social posts: landscape or portrait?

3. Visual or voice; take your pick.

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Google Voice search queries are up 3,500% since 2008, and 700% since 2010. Meanwhile, the chief scientist at Baidu, China’s largest ISP, estimates that in 5 years, 50% of all search will be done via voice or photo. That means a brand’s search results have to be very focused and the metadata around their visuals have to be very thorough. Schemas for structured data on your landing pages will only become more and more valuable as search results become more granular and accurate.

Takeaway: Get an SEO audit of your web assets, especially if you are in e-commerce, with an emphasis on image quality, metadata, schema.org compliance, and landing page relevance with long-tail search terms.

4. E-commerce is the ultimate growth hack for retailers.

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Brands that have e-commerce as their primary distribution channel grow their sales numbers faster than those that have physical retail as their main channel. Online brands need to be focused on three main characteristics:

  • Connectivity to their customers – Google calls them “micro-moments,” and Meeker referred to them as “micro-data,” but “always-on” feedback from users will result in more data-informed decisions, which will lead to more sales and more sales data, and more proactive sales based on predicting consumer needs.
  • Hyper-targeted marketing – Intent-based, niche-focused marketing and online advertising campaigns are more time-intensive on the front end, but they can yield higher conversions and more accurate customer data in the end.
  • Images + personalization – Again, images (and video) are the key here, along with personalization tactics. These tactics include remarketing particular products based on the specific product pages visited, or conducting A/B tests on pages or social images to see what resonates more with a particular sub-segment of your customer base.

Takeaway: If you are in retail, a smart, comprehensive e-commerce strategy can lead to explosive sales growth and long-term success.

5. If you are in digital marketing, you are ahead of the curve.

digital-marketing-trends5-768pxAnd give yourself an extra pat on the back if you are reading this and are fully operational in the mobile ad space, because the internet (and specifically mobile advertising) is where ad demand is growing. It’s also where the biggest delta is between the amount of time consumers spend on a medium, and the amount spent on advertising in that medium. See all those down arrows? If you are in any of those media, get out now.

Takeaway: Realize all the platforms on the web, including social media, are online advertising platforms now. Get (or stay) up to speed on the latest in ad technology, especially mobile-related ad tech. And hire us to help you along the way.

Did you read the whole Meeker report on internet and digital marketing trends? Did we miss anything that fellow marketers should know? Leave a comment below!