Internet whisperer Mary Meeker recently delivered her annual Internet Trends report. At 355 slides in length, it’s full of valuable data points and insights that we all need to know and most of us don’t have time to read.
So what’s the biggest takeaway for retailers when it comes to mobile?
Get ready for distributed commerce.
Distributed commerce--turning every marketing or advertising piece that touches the customer into a potential point of immediate purchase--is arriving. ETA: right now.
Here are the highlights of Mary Meeker’s presentation that prove this to be true.
1) Adults in the U.S. are spending more time on mobile than desktop
Layer0 Analysis: While this is surprising to no one, it’s fundamental for understanding the potential and importance of distributed commerce. Mobile is the only category where consumers are spending more digital time per day and has surpassed 3 hours a day. Desktop and other devices stayed steady. This means, yet again, that mobile is the channel and point of customer experience that retailers need to cultivate. And the way customers engage with their devices--reading email, checking social media, searching for things they need or want right that moment--points to distributed commerce.
2) Ad growth = Driven by mobile
Layer0 Analysis: _Again, not a stupendous revelation by itself, but what’s next is important. Digital advertising is growing by huge amounts. And for the first time, mobile ad sales exceeded desktop. So we see that advertisers are moving to mobile, where their customers are, but there is still enormous room for growth. As nearly all other advertising mediums are at spending parity with the percentage of time spent by consumers, it reveals the challenge that major advertisers are experiencing to understand how to best capitalize on the new normal. We fully expect the gap in mobile ad spending to close rapidly as retailers convert more advertising to sales. And we are willing to bet that the most visual advertising mediums, like Instagram, will yield the strongest results.
3) Ads = Becoming Targeted Storefronts
Layer0 Analysis: There is a simple principle at work here: I see it; I want it. Smart brands are quickly learning that presenting their digital advertising and marketing as beautifully curated storefronts that can be clicked and swiped through pays off.
Visuals matter in an extraordinary way on mobile. And equally important is delivering a beautiful visual when it is relevant to the customer. The beauty of mobile is that there are so many data points available to provide context: user-provided data like keyword searches and social shares as well as information made available through the device, like location.
4) The Ad = The Transaction
As only Mary Meeker can put it: “...Ads / Content / Products / Transactions = Lines Blurring. Fast.”
Translation: this is what distributed commerce looks like. Ads--in social, email and search--can deliver compelling product content that translates into a transaction in an instant if you make it possible for the consumer to do it. And to make that possible, you need to set the foundation with instant payment options and a fast, flawless checkout so with just a swipe or click, you can turn product desire into product purchase.
5) Social media platforms are improving rapidly in terms of ad engagement and analytics
With improved engagements and analytics, distributed commerce becomes both feasible and perfectible. Social media companies are smart and responding to the needs of their advertisers. As more insights and data are derived from social media advertising, expect dramatic improvements in targeting, content and delivery.
So make no mistake: distributed commerce is here. Customer behavior is screaming that in every way. And now it’s up to business leaders to make smart decisions about how to capitalize on this new opportunity.