Internet Trends Report 2016
Last updated: Mobile App Marketing

Every year in early summer Mary Meeker of KPCB releases a well-researched and detailed report of global internet trends.

Her latest is the Internet Trends Report 2016. KPCB posts the slides publically (no paywall or email required).

The “big story” over the last few years has been the rapid adoption of mobile. More specifically, the migration from traditional media (print, radio, TV) and from the web to mobile apps.

From TV and Web to Mobile and Apps – slide 45

For example – take the following slide that compares the time spent in media with ad spend by medium.

More text, images, audio and videos are consumed via mobile apps and mobile devices than via “the internet”, print and radio.

Internet Trends Report 2016 mobile opportunity

This data aligns with reports from a wide range of sources including a report from Yahoo/Flurry. Per their data, in Q2 of 2015 more time was spent in mobile apps than watching TV.

With new “direct to consumer” offers for mobile subscriptions to HBO, Netflix and others, coupled with better terms from Apple and Google to support more subscription offers via their app stores – mobile and apps are expected to increase their lead and continue to eat away at TV’s declining share.

The Average Global Mobile User – slide 109

The amount of time spent on our mobile devices is a shocking 4 hours per day globally and even higher in the US.

What’s everyone doing on their devices all day?

The answer may not be surprising:  Facebook, messaging apps and search/web browsing.

Internet Trends Report 2016 mobile usage

Studies have shown while mobile apps account for roughly 90% of mobile usage, web browsing accounts for significantly more unique properties visited.

For example, a typical mobile user might spend 30 minutes in the Facebook app, 5 minutes in their favorite messaging app, 5 minutes reading links from Facebook in a browser, 15 minutes viewing content in apps and 5 minutes using Chrome for local search – visiting several websites via the browser.

Notice that the default behavior from within apps like Facebook and Twitter – or from Google search – is to funnel the mobile user back into a mobile app.

  • Open Chrome/Siri and ask for directions home >>> search opens Google or Apple maps
  • Sushi near me?  >>>  Open Yelp app
  • Facebook video post >>> Open Youtube app
  • Facebook article >>> Open content in app if available and web if not

Why is almost every navigation directed to an app instead of a website?

Mobile apps are the default option for almost every service (from maps to Twitter to Quora to recipes) for two main reasons:

  1. Businesses like Yelp, OpenTable, Target and Macy’s funnel mobile traffic to their app instead of their website as the user experience is often better, and an app user is far more valuable than a website visitor
  2. Ad blocking

Ad blocking Accelerates the Migration to Apps – slide 47

In Apple’s latest major mobile operating system release – iOS 9 – blocking ads on websites loaded in the mobile browser (Safari) became possible.

While ad blocking has been around for some time for desktop browsing, most consumers do not have data caps on their home or work internet.  Blocking ads on computers is done to avoid the annoyance of ads more than anything else.

Mobile plans however, almost always have data caps and overage charges.

Sure, web ads offer a terrible user experience for mobile visitors. But the real issue is that ads carry the very real cost of significant data usage. Double would be the average, with worst offenders like requiring 3.5x the data to display ads vs data needed to display actual content.

No surprise – mobile ad blocking software has soared.

Internet Trends Report 2016 ad blocking

Native ads – those that appear in mobile apps, on your Twitter feed or in the Facebook app’s news feed – can’t be blocked by mobile ad blocking software.

Media companies have a strong incentive to funnel views to their mobile app and away from the web. Direct access to visitors and a better user experience are bonus, publishers want to direct users to their mobile app experience so they can show ads.

Google’s accelerated mobile pages (AMP) and Facebook’s Instant Articles are attempts at creating a better user experience for content that only resides on the web.

Both Google’s and Facebook’s mobile apps have grown rapidly, are mostly-mobile, provide users a better user experience and monetize better than their website counterparts. But if publishers don’t adopt a mobile-first approach for their content, these platforms are happy to offer up “rented-land” (content tied to their platform).

The Digital Ad Spend Mix – slide 43

Even with the mobile ad spend growth up 66% in 2015 over 2014, increased spending isn’t keeping up with the growth in mobile usage.

Internet Trends Report 2016 digital ad growth

Facebook has been the early leader is reaching mobile users, in no small part because of the penetration and frequency of use of their Facebook app and now mobile app ad network.

Messaging – the Real Social Platform – slide 99

Some of the fastest growing mobile apps in 2016 are in the messaging space.

SnapChat, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are attempts to carve out a space on a user’s mobile device to serve as a second “home screen”.


Internet Trends Report 2016 messaging apps

Google/Android and Apple are making significant investments in their own messaging apps to help defend and cement their leading positions in the mobile space.

Tons of discussion over the last 6 months about Bots – the platform for Bots is messaging apps.

Voice Search in Mobile – slide 122

Owning the operating system – and in Apple’s case the hardware as well – provides unique opportunities to set priorities and differentiate your platform.

Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft all made large investments in either mobile hardware, mobile OS or both with very little to show for it.

Microsoft’s Surface and OS is too far behind to matter.

Facebook gave up it’s hardware aspirations and has been arguably the biggest winner in the mobile space the last two years with the most used mobile apps and the best monetization platforms for both advertisers and publishers.

Meanwhile, Amazon cut their losses on their phones and moved right into another category that competes with where Google and Apple are headed…Voice-powered interactions.

Internet Trends Report 2016 Google voice search

First introduced to the world in a big way with Siri, Amazon’s Echo is earning rave reviews.

Google shared that 20% of mobile search are voice queries. Mobile search surpassed desktop search in 2015.

Apple announced Siri will now be available on their Mac and MacBook products – moving voice queries from mobile to the desktop as well.

Voice-powered search has the potential to move search from web-centric ( and Chrome/Safari) to device-centric where the installed apps, location and previous actions impact a user search results far more than backlinks or keywords.