15 Jun

Mary Meeker’s Crystal Ball: Many Big Hits and One Miss

By Greg Wester, SVP Marketing

Much like virtually everyone in the tech world, I discovered tons of fascinating gems in Mary Meeker’s iconic 2017 Internet Trends report. The 355-slide deck is chock-full o’ goodies that highlight what’s happening in technology today — along with numerous predictions for what’s coming next.

As always, when Mary Meeker helps us see around the corner, the view is an eye-opener. My three favorite insights from the 2017 report are:

  1. Mobile is dominating the tech landscape (Slide 9)
  2. Mobile advertising is full of opportunities (Slide 13)
  3. New tech is changing how we engage with devices (Slide 46)

At Mobile Posse, we’re constantly working to create new tech that changes how users engage with devices. As a result, we have invested a considerable amount of time and resources to sponsor and create research that helps understand user behavior to help further our innovation. This also means we look at new mobile research like Mary Meeker’s with great anticipation. The 355 slides in this installment did not disappoint, and I’m pleased to offer the following perspective.


What’s Missing from Mary Meeker’s Missive on Mobile?

From the Meeker report, we can learn a lot about what is happening in mobile. However, like the majority of research published on mobile trends, the Meeker report is a little light on insights about why these changes are happening. For those of us seeking to create tech to change how we use devices, the why is paramount in order to interpret what all that data means in terms of future mobile opportunities.

One thing is abundantly clear, consumers are spending more time on mobile than ever before. And thanks to advances in technology, their expectations for instant access to interesting content is also higher than ever before.

Unfortunately, the tech driving the mobile experience hasn’t kept up with escalating consumer expectations. Years ago, our devices were used only when we needed something, and our usage was primarily task driven. As such, we were happy to unlock, “hunt” for what we needed, and wait for it to load. Today, however, when we’re using our phones 100 times or more in a day, often because we’re bored, we want something interesting catered to us at unlock. Unfortunately, it’s not happening that way.

My own prediction: Whoever can deliver a better, more engaging first screen experience to mobile users will be on the path to domination in future Mary Meeker trend reports.


The Mobile Posse Crystal Ball

To bridge the gap between Meeker’s data and insights about what’s driving the future of mobile, consider what our own research reveals about mobile consumers.


Killing Time Is a Top Activity on Smartphones

FACT: The number one activity in mobile is looking for an activity on your mobile. More than two-thirds of users — 70% to be exact — agree that they use their smartphone to kill time. Additionally, they estimate that about 47% of the time, they unlock their phones without knowing what they want to do. Our research shows that there are multiple times throughout the day when users are looking for something – anything, really – to engage with. Whether in line at the grocery store or even during boring commercial breaks, mobile users continue to encounter fleeting moments when they are seeking some form of entertainment, providing a huge opportunity for some mobile solution to swoop in and save the day.


Boredom Can Be Predicted

In our recent research of mobile users, roughly 42% of mobile sessions exhibited qualities of “idle” use, defined as short, sporadic, and non-task or social driven. This is the perfect moment to deliver a bite of tasty content for people to snack on!

Interestingly, the majority of those idle sessions are followed by additional idle sessions. Here at Mobile Posse, we’ve also determined that these spurts of boredom are so prevalent that they can actually be predicted, making it possible to target users with relevant content at precisely the right time for optimal engagement.



Users Want a Better First Screen Experience

People are yearning for easier ways to get to what they want.

For example, Mobile Posse recently surveyed users about their interest in a better first screen experience, to which 46% of respondents expressed interest. Those that frequent Facebook for content and people with “fear of missing out” (those that often engage with push notifications) expressed higher levels of interest, at 72% and 68%, respectively.

However, as an industry, there has yet to be a holistic lens that uses consistent terminology and takes an ongoing look at the why of mobile user behavior. This is the gap in research that Mobile Posse is looking at Mary Meeker and others to help fill.




An Open Call for More Meeker!

Team Meeker: Please keep up the great work! The industry needs more and more comprehensive insights like this annual report.

Similar to your report’s findings that tech is changing the way we use our device, A 2014 report by Business Insider previously found that there’s a boom underway in consumer usage of apps that help them customize their smartphone experience. On Android, personalization apps saw a whopping 1,325% increase in user sessions between early 2013 and early 2014.

Flurry has also occasionally presented info on “personalization”, but has used a different categorization than Business Insider (including personalized keyboards and emojis).

In 2018, it sure would be great to see more in-depth insights from Team Meeker about the “why’s of mobile usage” and how we can deliver better mobile experiences.

Here at Mobile Posse, we’ll be doing our part. Look for more follow ups to our own research over the next few months.

Happy researching!