On the Record

Insights and Analysis from Gallatin Public Affairs

What we can learn from the Queen of the Internet

June 7, 2017

by Hannah Smith



In tech circles, Mary Meeker is widely regarded as the “Queen of the Internet.”

The Silicon Valley tech investor earned the title because she delivers an annual “Internet Trends” presentation that has become the Internet’s “State of the Union” address. She started with 25 slides in 2001. At the Code Conference last week, she clicked through 355 slides in just 33 minutes. (It’s a master’s class in presentation training. But that’s a topic for another day.)

While she’s best known in tech, her report has applications for any professional whose job involves communications and technology. Which is all of us.

With an eye toward public affairs, digital advocacy and communications, we’ve distilled her 355 slides into eight key takeaways:

  1. Big picture: Digital first disrupted newspapers and retail. Now it is disrupting every single industry – public affairs included. Effective communications and advocacy now require an investment in storytelling that is digital, mobile, visual and social.
  2. Smartphones are a fully mature market with sales slowing and hitting saturation. This is a reminder that our audiences are smartphone ready. Our emails and websites need to make it easy for our friends to read and take action on their phones while on the move.
  3. A majority of the time U.S. adults spend on the Internet each day is spent on a mobile device. U.S. adults spend 5.6 hours per day on the Internet, including 3 hours per day on mobile. Five years ago, Americans spent just 1 hour per day on mobile.
  4. Online ad spending is now about half mobile.
    Desktop advertising has been relatively flat since 2011 while mobile has grown rapidly. For public affairs, this matters because digital advertising is the most effective and cost-efficient way to identify and communicate with potential supporters.
  5. Internet ad spending will very soon (probably this year) surpass TV advertising. This has been building for years and will likely happen by the end of 2017.
  6. Even so, ad spending in the United States remains too concentrated in print. This chart has been freaking out newspaper publishers for six years. The amount of time Americans spent with print has dropped 40 percent. Ad dollars in print have dropped even more.
  7. Google and Facebook control 85 percent of the growth in online advertising. Their share keeps increasing because their vast data only drives better and better targeting.
  8. If you work in healthcare, there’s a new section just for you. Meeker and her team dive into how digital is changing one of the economy’s most important sectors.

Learn more about Gallatin’s digital advocacy services

Hannah Smith

Associate, Oregon

Hannah Smith is a relentless cheerleader for clients. She listens and works collaboratively with clients to develop custom solutions that fit their needs. She has a deep knowledge of digital communications and a proven record of helping businesses, organizations and nonprofits use social media.