According to Mary Meeker's Internet Trends 2019report, 88% of U.S. consumers use a second digital device while watching TV. They're searching for content related to the shows and advertisements they're watching, messaging friends, engaging with social media, and more — all adding up to the fact that consumers are spending more time online but progressing through a less linear research and purchase journey than ever.
For businesses, this underscores the importance of surfacing in search results at critical moments of intent — regardless of device or platform. But these second screen habits and increased time spent on online (6.3 hours per day, up from 5.9 in 2017) have other specific implications for businesses too. Here are some of the most important trends from the report.
Local business recommendations are on the rise.
As consumers are spending more time online, they are engaging more with local businesses. The Internet Trends report calls out Nextdoor, in particular, citing 29 million local business recommendations, a 71% year-over-year increase.
Nextdoor is a relatively small platform, but this subtle move tracks with Yext research showing that reviews volume is increasing rapidly for businesses across the board. Customers are writing — and reading — more reviews, and relying more heavily on ratings and online recommendations. As these engagements continue to grow, it's more important than ever to make sure you're monitoring and responding to what your customers are saying in order to create a better customer experience, and ultimately, drive more revenue.
"Table stakes today includes all of the advanced optimization techniques," says Duane Forrester, VP of Industry Insights at Yext. "And even with that work done, it's fair to say that a business today could outpace others on the strength of their reviews alone. And with consumers using reviews to make decisions, they are a strong signal of whether you can be trusted, so the search engines value this."
Learn more about best practices for reviews in ourComplete Guide to Reputation Management.
Image creation and image sharing have skyrocketed.
Instagram is up to 1 billion monthly active users, and more than 50% of Twitter impressions include images, videos, or other media, per the report. At the same time, we're seeing increased functionality, not just in terms of editing and sharing photos, but also an uptick in visual discovery (image search) and data-driven discovery leading directly to purchase on platforms like Pinterest.
As a result, businesses should think about their visual assets and how they're creating visual and video content that customers desire. It's not too early to start thinking about how visual search plays into your search strategy, either.
Customers prefer brands that provide personalized offers
In a retail survey cited by the report, 91% of customers prefer brands that provide personalized offers or recommendations. Not shocking. But while delivering a seamless and relevant customer experience — personalized wherever possible — has become table stakes, the opportunity here is to leverage AI-powered technology to better customize user experiences, many of which are now centered on visual media.