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Last Week Online #26 – Another week of online trend reports

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
3 min read

Another week of online trend reports — a bit like oatmeal, more healthy than fun.

Mary Meeker, now at the venture firm Bond Capital, released her 333-slide "Future of the Internet" report on Tuesday at Recode's Code Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The report is mandatory reading for everyone curious about digital trends, here are some of the highlights from this year's report:

  • More than half of the human population is online; there are now 3.8 billion global internet users, up 6% year-over-year
  • Of all the people being online, 26% of internet users fit into the "constantly online" category, up from 21% in 2015
  • China makes up 21% of total global internet users vs 8% in the United States
  • 63% of adults say they are trying to limit their personal smartphone use
  • While overall internet usage keeps growing, social media usage is flattening — but that's not slowing down online ad spend
  • Public and private investments into tech companies are at a two-decade high, nearing $200 billion last year
  • Wearable technology is flourishing, users have doubled in the past four years
  • E-commerce and ride-share driven digital payments are rising
  • Image-based communication, like Instagram, is (still) on the rise
  • YouTube and Instagram are gaining the most for time spent on online platforms
  • Interactive games like Fortnite are taking off. Total players have accelerated at 2.4 billion, up 6% this year
  • Media time spent on mobile hit "equilibrium."

Siri, can you live up to the hype?

Despite the hype around voice and virtual assistants, adoption is not happening as quickly as expected – according to a new report from SUMO Heavy. The survey of just over 1 000 U.S. adults found that 46% of respondents "never" use virtual assistants and 19% use virtual assistants less than monthly. These two groups are effectively non-users, and together, they represent 65% of the audience. The results are constant with earlier surveys.

Not surprising – that the majority of voice usage is happening on smartphones. Not to my previous knowledge – there's a fair amount of usage on the desktop (15%) as well as in-car systems (11%). The report also suggests a significantly lower smart speaker penetration rate in the U.S. than other surveys have claimed since 18% of virtual assistant usage on smart speakers is equivalent to device ownership.

Another surprise is the operating systems. Google has been promoting Google Assistant very heavily for both smartphones and its smart speakers. However, the report shows much more usage of virtual assistants on iPhones. Overall there are more active users on iOS than Android (44% vs 28%), and there are many more "rarely" and "never" respondents on Android (72%). This could be a result of Android vs iPhone demographics and the fact that there are a lot of low-end Android phones in the market. However, the result is still surprising.

Big data won't tell you all you need to know – Forrester report reveals

A recent Forrester report surveyed over 200 B2C marketing decision-makers, including 54 CMOs, to uncover the methods they use to understand their customers. The common thread is over-reliance on big data – defined in the report as a "combination of structured and unstructured data, including log files, transaction information, internet of things, social media metrics".

More than half of the brands surveyed agreed that small data – "a combination of VOC data, customer journey data, user focus groups, surveys, behavioural user experience data" – is essential to unlocking the thoughts and emotions behind customer actions. However, when asked if their customer experience strategy and execution was informed more by big data or by small data, 29% of the respondents said they rely "completely" on big data when making decisions.

41% of brands using small data strongly agreed they know why a customer chooses to purchase from them. For brands not using small data, this number drops to only 31%. The report also reveals that having a contextual background for your customer data — big or small — is a crucial success factor, leveraging data to drive business decisions.

Tool of the week: Saia

Saia is a nifty browser-based word processor made for content marketers and SEO-writers in mind. It's a lot to keep in mind when creating texts both that Google loves, and that people want to read. SEO-writing is a complex process that Saia wants to simplify with smart features.

Saia helps recommend the best keywords for your topic – backing the suggestions up with search volumes. It also suggests the best format for your article – should it be a guide, a listicle, an explanation or a case study? How many words should you write? You can also use Saia to collect your research from around the web through a little browser plugin.

If you write a lot for the web, you should try it out.

Last Week Online

Anna Loverus Twitter

Thinker and doer. Loves running, wine, and human behaviour.

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