What 2016's Internet Trends Mean for Nonprofits
For those of us who have been in the technology industry for some time, Mary Meeker is a household name. Her annual reports about
internet trends have been the go-to source for those trying to anticipate what will happen next with e-commerce, online advertising and internet usage, in general.
She published her first report in 1995 while working for Morgan Stanley, the firm that served as lead manager for Netscape Communications’ initial public offering. She is now at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, and published her most recent findings in the “2016 Internet Trends Report” earlier this year.
Here, we’ll review a few powerful ideas from the report that I think will have the biggest impact on nonprofits over the next few years.
• Online advertising growth is accelerating. U.S. internet advertising grew 20 percent last year, up from 16 percent growth in the prior year, as marketers try to keep up with audiences increasingly spending their time consuming media. There is a particular opportunity in mobile advertising, since so much audience time is spent there, but there are also challenges to effective mobile advertising. For example 81 percent of people mute video ads, and 93 percent are considering using mobile ad-blocking software. So, ask yourself: What is the growth rate of your internet advertising budget—and what are your contingency plans for an ad-blocking future?
• Online retailers can inspire your mobile user-experience. There’s so much innovation going on in online retail. That’s because the overall e-commerce retail environment has grown to more than 10 percent of all retail spending. Compare that to less than 2 percent in 2000. It’s worth experiencing some of these new e-retail brands, such as Stitch Fix, to see how they create mobile customer experiences.
• Consider Millennials as an investment. Are you tired of talking about Millennials yet? There’s a reason there’s so much focus on this segment of our population. They’re the largest generation (at 27 percent of the population) and their spending power will rise significantly over the next decade. If you’re interested in being relevant in the future, you have to take them seriously. This means experimenting with the media they enjoy (e.g., Snapchat, Periscope) and benchmarking brands that are good at building relationships with this crowd. What are your plans to engage Millennials on their mobile devices this year?
• It’s all about the visual. We’ve been moving for some time from text-based communication to images and videos. Now, the leading social media sites are proving what we’ve guessed for some time: The younger your audience, the more you need to engage with images and videos. The best example of this is Snapchat, where more and more brands are experimenting with video engagement. Take a look at Snapchat Discover, where the top-performing channels average six to seven minutes per Snapchatter per day. And before you dismiss Snapchat as a waste of your organization’s time, consider that the World AIDS Day “Join the Fight” filter by (RED) got more than 76 million views. Another potent stat: The Gatorade Super Bowl Lens got more than 165 million views on Snapchat—more views than the Super Bowl itself!
I could keep going, but I’d rather direct you to the report itself. Check out the full thing here!
Philip King is founder of The Donation Funnel Project, an experiment in online and mobile fundraising. He is a regular contributor to NonProfit PRO.