Mary Meeker’s annual report on the state of the internet is here – all 294 slides – and as usual it provides the most comprehensive look you can find at how the digital world is causing us to evolve through challenges and efficiencies. The report offers insights into Artificial Intelligence, China’s huge influence, impacts on healthcare delivery, the use of Uber and AirbNb, worldwide views on privacy and more.

A few broader insights that Meeker, an analyst with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, shared at Recode’s recent Code Conference:

For communicators, those 294 slides offer actionable insights and guidance on where things are heading. Here is a sampling of interest to our industry:

The “Failing” New York Times? — Hardly. Look where it sits among the tech leaders on slide 81, titled “Subscription Service Growth = Driven by… Access / Selection / Price / Experience / Personalization.” Right there among Netflix, Amazon, Spotify, Sony PlayStation Plus and Dropbox is the “thriving” New York Times with 3 million digital subscribers and 43 percent year-over-year growth.

Platforms Are Taking Action on Divisive Content — As a counter to the “fake news” threat in recent years, accountability is rising as advertisers and users take on the content platforms (e.g., The Wall Street Journal: “Unilever Threatens to Reduce Ad Spending on Tech Platforms That Don’t Combat Divisive Content”). This year Facebook has removed 583 million fake accounts, lewd content (21 million posts), as well as hate speech and violent content. More than 3,000 content moderators were hired in the first quarter of 2018 with the goal of adding 7,500. Google and YouTube plan to hire 10,000 content moderators and reported the removal of 8 million videos.

Social Media Discovery — Do you have a social media strategy in place to raise awareness of your product or service? You should, as Meeker presents strong evidence that social media drives product discovery and purchases. Just like PR, social media raises awareness: Facebook (78 percent said the platform raised awareness of a product), Instagram (59 percent), Pinterest (59 percent), Twitter (34 percent) and Snap (22 percent). The awareness can lead to action as 55 percent of consumers surveyed said they bought a product online after a social media discovery.

Pay Attention to Local News Sources — Apps are among the sources where much of the buzz gets started. Under the heading “Offline Connections Driven by Online Network Effects,” Meeker singles out the Nextdoor app and its rise of 200,000 active neighborhoods, each with around 650 households. In my Nextdoor online community there are plenty of “for sale” announcements (I sold a lacrosse bounce-back within an hour of posting), but the genesis of disputes frequently start at this level and allow savvy PR counselors to spot a wave of issues and the pros/cons. Then it ripples to mainstream media and those “offline connections.”

Search Driven by Personalization & Localization – Customers want their information, they want it now and they want it close by. Sixty percent will Google a product or service followed by the words “for me.” Sixty-five percent will use the phrase “Should I” prior to the search. The big jump – 900 percent – came between 2015 and 2017 when more consumers began their query followed by “near me.” The user’s own personalization can lead to more successful results.

Savings Via Organizing Information + Teams — The report singles out a few workplace productivity tools that are leading to efficiencies such as Slack, with more than 8 million daily active users, and is attributed to a 32 percent decline in email usage and a 24 percent reduction in employee onboarding time. Also, Dropbox, saving 3.7K hours annually per organization in document management. And Zoom, offering 85 percent improved collaboration and 71 percent improved productivity plus a way to build trust with remote workers and reduce costly meeting times.

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Photo: Unsplash/Muhammad Raufan Yusup