Mobile is everything, BuzzFeed dominates, and other big trends shaping the Internet today

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Image: Shuttershock/Kostenko Maxim

Every year, Kleiner Perkins investor Mary Meeker puts together an extensive Internet trends report. On Wednesday, she announced her findings for the year of 2014 during the Code Conference. While some of her findings were rather obvious, others were much more interesting and revealing. 

We already knew that Internet and smartphone adoption rates are slowing down and will probably continue to do so, as the entire world becomes ensnared in the Web. However, you might be surprised by just how slow things are moving in those two areas. Internet adoption is down to 10 percent and smartphone growth has fallen to 20 percent. While this may be bad news for smartphone manufacturers and Internet providers, it’s hardly shocking. Unlimited growth is impossible in these two areas, simply because the number of potential users is quantifiable and therefore, limited.

Even so, Meeker doesn’t think we’re in the dreaded Internet Bubble that everyone keeps talking about in hushed tones. Instead, she sees huge potential in the realms of mobile advertising, cryptocurrency, messaging apps, and unconventional services like Tinder, Alibaba, and BuzzFeed, which disrupt established norms and societal conventions.

Here’s a list of her main points on advertising as the Internet age goes mobile:

  • Mobile data traffic grew more than 81 percent 
  • 25 percent of total Web usage is from mobile (up from 14 percent in 2013)
  • Mobile advertising growth is up 47 percent. Mobile now makes up 11 percent of all advertising on the Internet
  • Google, Facebook, and Twitter lead in ad revenue
  • There is still too much advertising in print, but lots of potential with mobile advertising
  • Mobile app revenue trumps mobile ad revenue, making up 68 percent of all mobile monetization

Meeker also noted that the frequency and reach of cyberattacks has increased dramatically. Cyberattacks have now hit 95 percent of networks and it will only get worse as mobile rises. This of course, opens up huge opportunities in security development and deepens the privacy debate. Meeker sees ample room for growth in online education and health technology. Apps such as Duolingo and Coursera have large followings globally – not just in the U.S. like you might think. Health technology will also help spur sensor growth in mobile devices.

As far as traditional forms of media go, Meeker noted that there will be a lot of big changes coming soon in all areas, as print, TV, and news all go mobile.

Here’s what she had to say on traditional media:

  • Image-heavy social media platforms, apps, and websites such as Instagram, Pintrest, Tumblr, and others will continue to outpace text-heavy alternatives
  • We will see more big apps like Facebook and Foursquare unbundled into multiple apps, spurring app growth
  • BuzzFeed rules news with winning formula of listicles, quizzes, and other non-traditional forms of media
  • 50 percent of BuzzFeed readers access it with mobile apps
  • 75 percent of BuzzFeed readers access it via social media
  • 50 percent of BuzzFeed readers are in the coveted 18-24 age range
  • Digital tracks declined for first time ever to -6 percent, as streaming music services climb 32 percent
  • Bitcoin, Coinbase, and other types of digital cryptocurrency could one day replace paper money
  • Smartphone are taking over screentime around the world
  • Apps replace TV channels as online viewing rises

There’s more to Meeker’s report that we didn’t highlight here, but if you want to take a closer look at her report, feel free to browse the 164 slides below:


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