Every year in early summer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers (KPCB) provides a report on the top “Internet Trends“. The report is presented by Mary Meeker, a star analyst with a focus on the Internet & new technologies.
Video: Internet trends report | Mary Meeker, KPCB | Code Conference 2016 (Source)
This year’s presentation by Meeker consists of 213 impressive slides that comprehensively range from global Internet trends (stagnating number of global Internet users, progressive increase in China and India, slowdown in the increase of global smartphone usage) to the subject of data (understood as a platform that makes people’s lives easier and companies more efficient).
As the report shows, the top 3 Internet trends by KPCB are currently dominated by mobile messenger apps, live videos, and smart home/language assistants.
All three areas already or will soon rule our lives and are already an integral part of the online marketing of many brands.
Most people probably think that messenger apps are not new. Messenger apps have been around for quite some time. It all started in mid-90’s with PCs that run ICQ: "I seek you" was constantly displayed on a small window at the bottom right of the screen. By 2009, the program had approximately 500 million registered users.
Today, seven years later, we constantly chat with friends and colleagues on our smartphones and have gotten used to "privately" communicating every situation at any place through live chats (text/voice/image) with a clearly defined number of people.
“Messaging is one of the few things that people do more than social networking.” Mark Zuckerberg, 11/2015 (Source)
(Public) social networks no longer form the basis for our online communication. Today, mobile messenger apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Snapchat are often the basis for our online communication.
Some are even talking about a new home screen that, from a marketing point of view, has to be seized!
Figure 1: The growing number of monthly users of different messengers
Messenger apps continue to grow rapidly in businesses. The two Asian messengers, WeChat in China and LINE in Japan, have recently proven to dominate the Asian market through their successful market-oriented approach.
Both have long developed from simple apps for fast 1:1 text communication. They now offer many functions that include voice and video messages, animated GIFs, and stickers. You can set up brand accounts and even integrate complete purchase processes, including online payment.
This means that WeChat and LINE can be regarded more as an eco-system than just pure messengers. Thus, this multi-functionality becomes indispensable for online marketing.
WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are well aware of these development stages and are also enhancing their functions. For instance, Facebook’s monetization strategy has a clear focus on its own messenger.
Unlike WhatsApp, it will be able to generate a significant number of sales, e.g., for its products brands, even before the end of this year.
This "conversational commerce" is based on chat bots. These are text-based dialogue systems with an input and output mask that should automate communication with customers to a certain extent and hence facilitate communication efficiency for the different brands.
- As explained in the article by Karim Bannour, KLM uses Facebook Messenger to provide its customers with detailed up-to-date information about flight booking, departure gates, etc.
- BILD, which is Germany’s first brand to use the Messenger API globally, has also added a "Live Ticker" for the upcoming 2016 European Championship in France to follow after its "Bundesliga Live Ticker". This will constantly provide information about the German team during the entire tournament.
After the use of messengers and hence the 1:1 communication has surpassed the social networks, marketing experts are now looking to benefit from this trend. And the messengers are increasingly providing them with the hereby necessary infrastructure.
The next months will be crucial for the Facebook Messenger: The API was announced this year at the legendary f8 developers conference.
Recently, the North American basketball league (NBA) jointly set up an "NBA Bot" with Facebook that is aimed at providing information about the various players and teams during the upcoming playoffs.
The plans to introduce an end-to-end encryption, as has already been implemented in WhatsApp, have also advanced considerably.
Its implementation means more security for users as well as future corporate accounts and hence more stability for purchase processes.
In 2014/15, Facebook recognized the potential of mobile live video streaming and made it appealing to the masses. The world’s largest social network was responding to the increasing popularity of two apps, Meerkat and Periscope, which had made live video streaming popular on Twitter.
Twitter ended up acquiring Periscope, and Meerkat is no longer active in mobile live video streaming.
Figure 2: Overview of the evolution of videos
Facebook has fully integrated live videos in its service and is implementing measures to popularize the feature. Recently, it was announced that video comments on posts will also be possible in the future.
Ads in live videos should also be possible in the future, which will be very beneficial for companies.
Mobile live video streaming is possible on both private profiles as well as Facebook pages. Currently, there are over 10 billion video views on Facebook every day, and the number is increasing steadily.
The most successful live video so far is from Candace Payne. The video has approx. 155 million views (3.5 million shares, 2.8 million likes). It shows a woman in her car who bought herself a "Chewbacca" mask and cannot help laughing hilariously about it.
Video: Resounding success – the live video by Candace Payne (Source)
Another key player when it comes to live videos is Snapchat. Snapchat developed its appeal through its 24-hour half-life of its content.
With its snaps from existing stories, the rapidly growing app (currently has about 200 million users) offers the perfect opportunity for users (individuals/companies) to set the scene with their images and videos (max. 10 sec). This has currently set the basis for approximately 10 million video views every day, just like on Facebook. More information on Snapchat and its global significance can be found in the following blog article from Starcom Germany.
However, it is important to point out that the live video views on Facebook and Snapchat cannot be compared with each other. This is because of the way in which the views are counted (Facebook from 3 sec., Snapchat On Tap) and its average length (Facebook offers up to 2 hours, Snapchat only allows 10 sec. long clips, which can be combined into a story).
Going back to the most popular video on Facebook: The American retail company, Kohl’s, was mentioned twice in the video. This led to the retailer’s app climbing to the 1st position in the US iOS App stores. In addition, the demand for Chewbacca masks shot rapidly.
Companies can use live video streaming (broadcasting) as part of their online marketing measures to raise their brand awareness through regular live broadcasts.
- A perfect example for this is BILD that uses regular broadcasts on Facebook with their BILD Daily program.
- Another example of a very professional approach is Lufthansa. Among other things, the airline used a very popular broadcast for the opening of a new airport terminal in Munich. Since then, the #LHCityOfTheMonth action has been introduced for regular Livestreams from the selected city of the month.
These examples show that Facebook Live can come in handy for brands, especially when it comes to events. In addition, companies have the opportunity to conduct interviews where they can showcase their expertise and collaborations with influencers.
The so-called "behind the scenes look" additionally enables you to allow your customers an insight into the exciting areas of your company such as the production process or the various operations of your different teams.
Such insights bring the fans closer to your brand thanks to the exclusive experience and direct dialog with you (through questions, affirmations, rejections, etc.).
Smart home and language assistants that not only continue to digitize the daily (work) life and your own home but also help you structure this in a more personalized and energy-efficient way, are on the rise now more than ever. *
For a long time, Google has always tried and auto-completed the terms in the search slot whenever you are trying to search for something on the Internet.
Figure 3: Development of the human-computer interaction
Nowadays, many people not only use their smartphones to make phone calls but also to browse the Internet among other things. Similarly, more and more people now prefer to send recorded voice messages.
The times of sending text messages seem to be long gone. Images, voice recordings, and videos now dominate the online communication.
Amazon Echo is a black tower that is serves as a speaker and also has voice computer (Alexa voice) with a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection. The tower, which can be placed in the middle of the room, is based on artificial intelligence and thanks to its special speech recognition, can still interpret voices with music playing in the background.
Echo is much more of a digital home assistant through which you can access real-time information, e.g., regarding your lighting and heating systems, via the Internet.
Amazon Echo has developed gradually and already has a wide range of apps. It is basically an intelligent interface through which you can access different services through voice-control.
Interesting: For a long time, no one expected Amazon to be successful as a hardware manufacturer. This appears to be changing and its effects are certainly felt by Google and Apple.
These three large technology and Internet companies also offer voice-controlled, adaptive software solutions for mobile devices. This means that Siri, Google Now, and Cortana are less integrated in the smart home segment and instead have more to do with supporting end users with their everyday activities.
Your home is the smartphone:
- Siri assists you in "writing" and sending emails through voice recognition as well as answers all questions that you ask, may it be directions, weather, or the like.
- The same applies for Cortana. This is linked to the Bing search engine. Here, "personalized language models" are saved in order to improve the personalization of Cortana and hence provide the user with the best possible experience and results.
- Google Now is the personalized, digital, smart assistant from Google. The app is based on the extensive Google resources such as calendar entries or birthdays of the friends you have on Google.
Amazon seems to have been the first among its competitors to recognize this. With Amazon Echo, it introduced a product that could not have been more advanced and modernized. However, this only applies to smart homes. When it comes to intelligent language assistants, the other four companies are extremely well established.
It will be interesting to see who manages to combine these two fields. If anything, they are both based on the same subject – data.
They are the new currency in online marketing. But it is not just data possession that comes in handy, there is a lot more to do with targeted data processing and assessment as well as how the companies take advantage of the situation in order to generate more profits.
Published on 08/25/2016 by Johannes Lenz.
From 2010 until the beginning of 2012, Johannes Lenz was a Digital Consultant Corporate Communications at Grey Worldwide Dusseldorf. Since 2012 he has been a Corporate Blogger at akom360 (Publicis Media) and is responsible for the strategic Social Web Communication at Digitalagentur & Facebook Marketing Partner. Since August 2015, he has been respomsible for Corporate Communications/Social Media at Starcom Germany.