Mary Meeker updated her yearly Internet Trends report at the ReCode conference yesterday. Meeker’s a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and she’s an expert at seeing the next big thing. In 2011 she predicted that online audio was the ‘next big thing.’
Her presentation was some 180 slides long, full of meaty charts and graphs. I recommend a look at the full deck, which you can find here. The thing could be the basis of a college course, no maybe an entire degree, it’s so chock full of past trends, current data and future predictions.
My favorite slide is some personal wisdom she passed on in closing, about effective decision making. The best decisions, she says, are often made by diverse groups of people. “Saying or hearing these words is magic: ‘That’s really interesting. I had never thought of it that way before. Thank you.'”
Meeker is talking all about mobile again this year, focused on the significant penetration of smartphones, and the growth of mobile video, which is also known as ‘vertical video’ because of the way people hold their phones. Vertical viewing is 29% of video versus 5% five years ago. In case you were scratching your head about Spotify’s jump to incorporate video, announced this week, it’s trends like this that are the impetus.
Millenials continue to drive mobile usage – 87% say their phone never leaves their side, and 60% think it’s all going to happen on devices within five years. Meeker’s next big thing this year is buy buttons, which she says are coming soon and seamlessly to wherever you spend your time online.
I’m thinking hard about online audio as enhanced mobile platforms rather than a standalone media these days. Factoring in vertical screens and buy buttons to that equation seems like a significant value proposition to both consumers and advertisers. I had never thought of that before..
Latest research released by Juniper Research projects that annual global advertising spend on mobile devices is expected to reach $105 billion by 2019, up from an estimated $51 billion this year. Advertisers, drawn to the personalized and timely targetability that advertising on mobile devices offers, will drive spending on those devices to 44 per cent of total digital ad spend by 2019.
As a mobile medium, streaming audio should be poised and ready to take its share of that spend. Maybe, just maybe it’s time for the streaming audio industry to reinvent itself as mobile advertising enhanced with audio.
In February of this year Webcast Metrics said that 73% of listening to streaming audio platforms measured by the service is done on mobile devices. Up from 66% a few months before, and still climbing. With three-quarters of its audience on mobile devices, streaming audio certainly is a mobile platform.
Streaming audio advertising is at its best on mobile devices. Compared to mobile ads restricted to visual displays, streaming audio is a perfect medium, overcoming viewability issues with the addition of an audio element. New technologies enable geo-targeting, and audio interactivity that enables listeners to respond easily. What’s more, listening to music is a favorite smartphone activity, making it an enhanced branding environment for brand messaging.
There are good reasons for streaming audio services to position themselves to the advertising community as a superior mobile advertising platform. The demand for mobile inventory is great, and mobile audio ad units are appealing and effective. Mobile budgets are in place and growing. It’s a strategic shift that’s worth considering..
In the UK last year, advertising revenue on commercial radio grew 7.2% in 2014, while in the US it shrank 1%. According to an article I read by Lucy Barrett at UK’s RAB, radio in that country is alive and well and thriving across all it’s platforms:
In a new era of audio commercial radio is complemented not threatened by the rise of on-demand services and the RAB is more determined than ever to drive consideration for audio as a long-term brand building tool so growth should continue this year…
At RAIN Summit Europe in London last fall, RAB UK’s Michael Tull presented the results of a study called Radio Now. It’s a comprehensive, inclusive study of how listeners consume audio that finds that live radio and on-demand audio play complementary roles.
The study, which is well worth the time spent to read it, also find that when all other things are equal, a brand’s market share follows its share of voice. What’s more, campaigns which include radio have a much higher financial return than those which don’t.
Radio is growing its market share across the pond, not by building silos but by taking the broad view of audio. About a year ago, Global Radio, the market’s biggest broadcast company, launched DAX, Digital Audio Exchange, the country’s first programmatic audio exchange, giving media buyers access to competitive broadcast and online brands like Bauer Media’s Absolute Radio Network as well as Spotify and other online platforms.
Led by the RAB, commercial radio is thriving in the UK. Maybe that’s why Apple hired Zane Lowe…