The Meeker Report – what it means for reputation management in the Middle East

The full report was released on 1st June 2016 by KPCB, but I have selected areas that I find most relevant for the marketers and communicators amongst you.

Advertising

Online advertising acceleration is predominantly fuelled by growth in ad spend directed towards Facebook (59%) and Google (18%), from 2014 to 2015. Both these platforms are growing faster than the rest because of their sophisticated data-mining that allows advertisers to drill down to specific audiences with more effective targeting. Twitter has a lot of catching up to do to stay in the race. Online advertising plays a major role in the communications sector as it allows a company to promote the messages it wants to be famous for.

Efficient use of a marketing budget is the key driver in digital spending growth but mobile seems to be underfunded, where time spent outstrips ad spend, leaving a $22 billion opportunity gap.

The message for the Middle East, where most people own two mobile phones, is to look at mobile advertising for your next campaign. Most Facebook campaigns automatically optimise for mobile.

Content

Ad-blocking is on the rise, people are voting with their feet against invasive marketing tactics. An alternative route to your audience is to create engaging visual content that they want to consume. Video has evolved across all formats, from live to on-demand long-tail content, is a key driver here. The live format in particular has been popularised since 2015 with Facebook Live, Periscope, Meerkat and Google Hangouts and boosted virality. Short format video views are on the increase too, something brands need to mindful of – can you get your story across in 15 seconds or less? Probably not an entire message house, but with a more focused approach this should not be insurmountable.

Channels of Communication

Messaging continues to grow rapidly. Whilst Facebook owns the world’s two most popular in WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, perhaps the most intriguing innovation is coming from Asia in the form of WeChat and Line, amongst others. These platforms have matured beyond frivolous-but-superior-to-SMS options and offer users the ability to send money, book taxis and flights amongst other tasks. Paul McCartney sells “sound stickers” in Japan via Line these days, his popularity on the messaging platform dwarfing his Facebook and Twitter followers in the same market. Yet more opportunities for direct brand relationships beyond the “traditional” social networks, as they can also encompass commerce and customer service in a more convenient format than being placed on hold for hours.

How many applications do you use on your smartphone every day? And how many did you download once and never use again? It seems the global trend is to spend 80% of your mobile time inside just 3 applications – a web browser, a social network and a messaging app – so you are not alone. But maybe think twice when recommending to a client to develop their own application, as the time and money might be spent better directed towards fresh content on an existing platform.

The full report goes in detail on a few other topics, such as car ownership decrease, traditional companies investing in their technology successors and the might of the Chinese internet companies, but for us mere marketers and communicators I have focused on just the few areas above. Looking forward to discussing how these trends affect your company and how we can best safeguard your reputation in this light, as well as build out your brand architecture through quality storytelling and influencer engagement.

Many thanks to TechCrunch for your bitesize version of the full report.

Header image courtesy of Benjamin Child via Stocksnap.io

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