Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends: It’s Becoming More About Image, Voice, And Location

Voice is starting to supplant text when it comes to mobile search, as accuracy approaches 95 percent, Meeker said in the annual Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers analyst report.

The importance of voice-activation, connected intelligence, visual search, and location targeting as pathways for organizing and using digital channels that Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Mary Meeker highlighted in her Internet Trends last year are even more pronounced in her latest.

In Meeker’s 22nd annual Internet Trends report, the analyst essentially doubles down on how advanced connected intelligence’s influence on marketing and digital consumption is becoming.

The report comes as Apple may unveil its own connected intelligent assistant hub at its developer conference next week. Such a device would have Siri competing more directly against Amazon Echo’s Alexa.

According to Internet of Things market research Parks Associates, over 442 million — including connected entertainment, mobile, health, and smart home devices — will be sold in 2020.

As Meeker also made clear in 2016 and this year, the shift towards connected intelligence and the direct responses to consumers’ interests and purchases is already very much in motion: In fact, voice-activated connected device usage jumped 130 percent in the past year alone.

“Voice control is the top trend for 2017 in the IoT and smart home,” Elizabeth Parks, SVP, Parks Associates, told GeoMarketing’s Lauryn Chamberlain.

Among the highlights of Meeker’s 355-slide report:



Source: Kleiner Perkins


The State of Connected Intelligence

The influence of Meeker’s reports tend to match their accuracy of pointing out where consumers are already on their way. At the moment, Marketers have barely just begun to strategize how the connected home, connected car, and Internet of Things devices in between, will shape their branding and advertising.

While smart home product shipments rose 29 percent last year, according to eMarketer, the population with these IoT devices remains fairly small. Still, as Park Associates has noted, 56 percent of U.S. broadband households want to use voice-activated personal assistance to control smart home products versus 55 percent of those who want to use voice to control entertainment devices.

Earlier this month, eMarketer estimated that by the end of 2017, 35.6 million Americans will use a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month for sudden rise of 128.9 percent over last year. And according to Forrester, 33 percent of U.S. online adults say they use intelligent agents like Google Now or Cortana.

Google Home and Apple have tried to drive awareness with their individual efforts.  At the moment, Amazon’s Echo device has achieved considerable dominance with a 70.6 percent of users in that space. Google Home, which only launched last October, will have to catch up as it has just 23.8 percent of the market.

While that number could change quickly as these devices are still just outside the mainstream of consumer usage, there are a number of smaller voice-activated device makers, including Lenovo, LG, Harmon Kardon, and Mattel, that are entering the game now.

Location technology is at the heart of connected intelligence and the notion of responding to queries with a clear, personalized answer, as opposed to a list of hyperlinked text based on what’s most popularly clicked on, is already changing marketing as consumers lay the groundwork being digitally connected at home, in their car, at work, and on-the-go.

“I’m all in on voice,”Lou Paskalis, SVP, Enterprise Media Planning, Investment and Measurement Executive at Bank of America, told us recently. “It’s a fascinating environment and creates tremendous new abilities. But it’s a double-edged sword: it’s this pervasive, persistent connection at home.”

As a brand marketer, you have to be top of mind for folks in those voice-activated environments, Paskalis noted. As a consumer, you’re not asking Alexa for the top favorite banking brands. You’re going to the brand you already know. If you’re not in the consumer’s consideration set, you’re likely to get “disintermediated.”

“For us, voice-activation demands that we find a way to ensure that we are at the most top of mind brands in a space where, generally, there’s no screen to place our brand on,” Paskalis continued. “Voice search already is huge. I said three years ago that voice search would eclipse text search. It hasn’t happened yet, but I still believe it will. But that just means I have a whole new set of problems to solve.”

To solve those problems, the way technology is embraced within global economies will determine how fast or slow, positive or negative, the ultimate outcomes are.

As Meeker put it in her closing thoughts, the 18th century was about “cultivation and extraction,” where Enlightenment principles fueled scientific advances the led to the Industrial Revolution in the two following millennial periods. The 21st century’s economic growth is all about computing power and “human potential.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.