15 Things Event Organizers Need To Know From Mary Meeker’s Annual Internet Trends Report

As the worlds of B2C and B2B continue to blur, the trends seen in the consumer space begin to influence and penetrate the business world at an ever more rapid pace. So whether you run music events and festivals, or training workshops and business conferences, Mary Meeker’s huge annual Internet Trends Report is an important informational event for everyone who organizes events and has any kind of online presence. For those of you who don’t have a few hours to run through the 164 slides and digest the key points relevant to event organizers, here are the key take-aways you should pay attention to.

1. The world is going mobile, and that’s where the opportunity lies // Slides 4-9

Slides 4-9 of Mary’s presentation highlight the incredible rise of mobile and tablets as a medium for people to find and consume content on the web; and yet it has still only scratched the surface of its overall potential.

Take-away: If you’re not optimizing your content for mobile and tablets already, it has to be a top priority if you want your customers to find and engage with your event pages in the future.  Thankfully, if you use Eventbrite, then you’re covered in this area as our pages are mobile and tablet optimized! 

2. Mobile advertising is a good opportunity // Slide 15

This slide illustrates how big the opportunity is to advertise on mobile, mostly because the mobile ad market is surprisingly uncompetitive relative to the size of the potential audience.

Take-away: Mobile advertising could be fertile ground for event companies to expand their PPC and display ad activities at a reasonable cost.

3. Security is an increasing concern for everyone // Slide 18

Cyber security, and the threat of data breaches and being hacked, is on the rise around the world, increasing 4-fold since 2011, and the shift to mobile will only increase the threat.

Take-away: It’s more important than ever for event organizers to ensure the protection of their customers’ data, because a breach in data security can mean a breach in trust.  That’s why we take trust and security so seriously.

4. The way people communicate online is changing rapidly // Slides 37 & 38

Thanks to the success of apps like Whatsapp and Snapchat, people are starting to communicating less frequently to a large audience, and more frequently to smaller groups and individuals. (Slide 37) The content of this communication has also shifted from text to images and videos (the visual web), typified by sites like Pinterest and apps like Instagram. (Slide 38)

Take-away:  For event marketing departments, it’s important to look at how you can communicate via the new channels being utilised by your customers; and where it isn’t obvious how to effectively market through new channels, you should at least communicate in a way that resonates with consumers i.e. more visually.

5. If you want to get found online, focus on social // Slide 43

Referral traffic is now dominated by social channels like Facebook and Twitter, so if you want to be discovered online, it’s important to focus a lot of attention and marketing effort there.  This aligns closely with our own research on the power and effectiveness of creating a strong social presence.

Take-away: If you have limited time/resources and have to focus on one or two marketing channels, you should focus on social.

6. Which social channel you should use depends on what business you’re in // Slide 44

Simply put, this slide shows that for business content, twitter dominates Facebook; and for general interest / consumer content, Facebook is the clear leader.

Take-away: If you run consumer events like music and festivals, focus more budget and time on Facebook; if you run business events like conferences, focus more on Twitter.  For more research on this, check out our Social Commerce report here.

7. New types of content are growing in popularity // Slide 45

Beyond ‘visual’ content, other forms of content have also found massive success online, with the leaders being quizzes, lists, explainers and ‘news jacking’ according to this slide.

Take-away: It pays to experiment with the types of content you use to drive awareness and engagement of your events, because you never really know what will resonate.  If you don’t have the time or budget to be original and experiment, then quizzes look like a good bet for creating buzz!

8. Content + Community + Commerce = Keys to success // Slides 55 – 57

These slides show how the holy trifecta of content, community and commerce are driving success for online businesses.

Take-away:  Events should naturally fit all three criteria of success here, so make sure you pay attention to each and create great content, promote community engagement and ensure you make the most of your commerce opportunities.

9. Being easily discoverable on web & mobile is key to success  // Slide 63

We’re proud to see Eventbrite included on this slide as an example of a global platform helping improve discovery for a fragmented industry. This slide shows that the web is a vast tangle of information and distractions competing for users attention, so working with market leading platforms that can help users connect with the goods and services they want is not only smart, it’s becoming necessary to success.

Take-away: Organizers should join Eventbrite to enhance the discoverability of your events and help cut through the clutter of the web.

10 . The connected world is becoming a reality // Slide 68

Thanks to the runaway success and sophistication of smart phones, sensors ranging from barcode scanners and cameras to fingerprint security and heat monitors are everywhere and growing in use.

Take-away: How can you make best use of interactive sensors and a connected world at your events?  From scavenger hunts to virtual reality experiences, NFC payments to in-app offers based on geo-location targeting, the opportunity is massive!

11. Bad user interfaces (should) be a thing of the past // Slide 83

There’s been a sea change in design on the web, and consumer expectations are now very high.  Old ways of doing things, buying things and finding things have been transformed by slick new online interfaces and this trend won’t reverse.

Take-away: Events are no exception, and Eventbrite is leading the way to transform the way attendees and organisers connect online, helping to make the whole experience more seamless and enjoyable for all parties.  Make sure your event pages offer the kind of delightful user experience that helps them buy and then come back for more.

12. Multiple screens are now the norm // Slide 99

Rarely will an audience look at one thing anymore, without at least glancing at another screen such as their mobile or tablet.  This is true of live events too, with people living the experience simultaneously ‘in the moment’ and through their second screens, whether it’s recording the event or sharing their thoughts on social media.

Take-away: Are you taking advantage of this additional engagement?  Do you encourage live social sharing and activities delivered through mobile/tablets?  If not, it could be time to start.

13. Consumers are moving towards on-demand content consumption // Slide 106

Events, whether music gigs or business conferences, tend to operate in a linear, choreographed way.  However, this isn’t how consumers like to consume content anymore, with most opting to consume it on-demand, when and how they want to.

Take-away: How can you help empower your audience to enjoy your content on their own terms, rather than constraining them within the confines of a physical event?  If you get it right, this could unlock a whole new customer base.

14. Try to build fans, not audiences // Slide 114

Audiences are passive, they receive your content but they don’t engage with it, share it or return to it time and again.  Fans are that committed subset of an audience who eagerly await your new content, they share it widely with their network and form a habit of returning to it time and again.

Take-away: Events need fans because they spread the word and create a loyal, dependable revenue stream.  Focus your efforts on building out a fan base, not just an audience.

15. Video on mobile = increasingly important // Slide 125

This slide shows the rapidly increasing consumption of video through mobile.

Take-away: If you have videos that you want your fans and audiences to access, watch and engage with, make sure they work on mobiles!

There is a world of change online, with trends forming faster than ever.  This creates a lot of opportunity for progressive event organisers looking to find an edge in a competitive market. If you’re interested in working with a cutting-edge technology partner to help you both win at the fundamentals, and be well positioned to take advantage of changing online trends, you should definitely learn more about Eventbrite!

What other big trends did you spot?  How do you think you’re positioned to take advantage of these opportunities?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!