Image - 2016 Internet Trends Report: Key Takeaways for Christian Organizations

The 2016 Internet Trends Report: Key Takeaways for Christian Organizations

Jill Van Nostran Digital Strategy

Last week, Mary Meeker, a veteran analyst with venture capital firm KPCB, presented findings from the firm’s 2016 Internet Trends Report. This annual report is always eagerly anticipated because of its pulse on and insight into the internet industry.

I combed through the 200+-page report to share some key takeaways for Christian organizations—ministries or businesses—using (or interested in using) the internet to reach people in new ways:

1. For the most part, the rate of internet use around the world remains flat. Except in India, where internet user growth has accelerated, reaching 40%.
The rate of global smartphone user growth has slowed, from 31% to 21%.
Global economic growth is slowing.
Internet connectivity growth is slowing.
But these changes also create opportunities for organizations that can:

    Innovate
    Increate efficiency
    Lower prices
    Create jobs
The internet can be at the core of these opportunities.

2. It isn’t much of a surprise that internet advertising in the U.S. is growing, with Google and Facebook advertising taking the lion’s share of the internet advertising market (76+%).
Yet, it may be true that its effectiveness has a long way to go. According to Unruly, 81% of people mute video ads and 93% of people consider ad-blocking software.
But, according to Unruly, online ads can be effective when they are:

    Authentic
    Entertaining
    Evoke emotion
    Personal / Relatable
    Useful
    Give viewers control
    Work with the sound off
    Non-interruptive

Internet Trends

3. Internet-enabled retailers/products/brands are on the rise. This is because of always-on connectivity, hyper-targeted marketing, images and personalization.

4. Visual usage (video + images) via social continues to rise.
Millennials primarily communicate via text.
Gen Z (>20) primarily communicates via images.
Smartphone usage is increasingly:

    Camera
    Storytelling
    Creativity
    Messaging/Sharing

This presents an opportunity for Christian-based organizations to reach people further.

    One example is (RED): World AIDS Day – Join the Fight Snapchat branded geofilter. Each time one was used, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated $3 to (RED)’s fight against AIDS.
Branded Snapchat lenses and Facebook filters are increasingly applied by users.
For Christian-based retailers, increasingly, people are using image-based platforms to find products and shop. Pinterest is one example.

5. Live video—Facebook Live, etc—presents a new paradigm for live broadcasting. This is another opportunity for Christian-based organizations to showcase the work they’re doing.

6. Messaging platforms continue to grow rapidly. Leaders: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat. They offer tools for simple self expression (ie filters, emojis, lenses, GIFs, stickers).
They are evolving from personal conversations to business-related communications. The key? They are conversational, they remember identity, specifics and preferences. In other words, they are personalized.
Best ways for organizations to be in contact with Millennials? Social media and chat. Worst way? Telephone.

7. What’s a day in the life of a mobile user look like in 2016? People spend 80% of their time in 3 apps: Facebook, Chrome and YouTube (USA) or Facebook, WhatsApp and Chrome (Worldwide).

8. Voice search is becoming more popular vs tapping out search queries on a keyboard—mobile or desktop. Developers are building platforms like Alexa, Ford Sync and Lexi app to accommodate this growing trend.
Interesting finding: smartphone sales peaked in 2015, and voice-search devices—like Amazon Echo—are beginning to take off.
Another interesting item of note is that cars today are becoming more like computers, with Wi-Fi, voice search, autonomous capabilities and more. Tesla is an example.

9. Data and analytics are becoming bigger than ever, with today’s organizations using analytics to make better strategic business decisions. Up until recently, many organizations didn’t know how to use analytics because it was too chaotic and confusing.

Bottomline: Internet growth may be slowing down, but the ways in which people use the internet are rapidly changing. Internet advertising, images, video, live video, personalization, messaging and voice search are all trends Christian ministries and Christian-based companies should be thinking about incorporating into their digital strategies. People are increasingly using these methods to find answers and information. If you want to get found, it’s important to be where and how people are searching.

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