Jennifer Lane: Meeker’s Mobile Message

This article by RAIN CEO Jennifer Lane was originally published on her Audio4cast blog.

jennifer lane may2015

Mary Meeker updated her yearly Internet Trends report at the ReCode conference yesterday. Meeker’s a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and she’s an expert at seeing the next big thing. In 2011 she predicted that online audio was the ‘next big thing.’

Her presentation was some 180 slides long, full of meaty charts and graphs. I recommend a look at the full deck, which you can find here. The thing could be the basis of a college course — no, maybe an entire degree — it’s so chock full of past trends, current data and future predictions.

My favorite slide is some personal wisdom she passed on in closing, about effective decision making. The best decisions, she says, are often made by diverse groups of people. “Saying or hearing these words is magic: ‘That’s really interesting. I had never thought of it that way before. Thank you.’”

Meeker is talking all about mobile again this year, focused on the significant penetration of smartphones, and the growth of mobile video, which is also known as ‘vertical video’ because of the way people hold their phones. Vertical viewing is 29% of video versus 5% five years ago. In case you were scratching your head about Spotify’s jump to incorporate video, announced this week, it’s trends like this that are the impetus.

Millenials continue to drive mobile usage – 87% say their phone never leaves their side, and 60% think it’s all going to happen on devices within five years. Meeker’s next big thing this year is buy buttons, which she says are coming soon and seamlessly to wherever you spend your time online.

I’m thinking hard about online audio as enhanced mobile platforms, rather than a standalone media these days. Factoring in vertical screens and buy buttons to that equation seems like a significant value proposition to both consumers and advertisers. I had never thought of that before…

Jennifer Lane


  1. Mary is super savvy on identifying and predicting trends!
    What data does she provide that “The best decisions, she says, are often made by diverse groups of people.”

    I can think of many many anecdotes where that isn’t true. Apple is a great example. Jobs made the decisions and we got the ipod. When Microsoft went decision by committee we got the Zune. 🙂

    Those are anecdotes so hardly persuasive either way but is this just jumping on the diversity bandwagon or is there hard data behind this conclusion?

  2. Meeker’s annual slideshows are legendary stuff!

    But Michael raises a fair question, is Jennifer’s favorite slide based on data? As ‘nice’ as such a collaborative world might sound in theory, to my knowledge few significant products or brands came to fruition as a result of happy teams.

    “Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.”

    From the HotSeat,
    Tom McAlevey, CEO, Radical.FM

  3. How well will “Buy” buttons perform in a media where 79% of the time, the screen is dark and not in view? That is the challenge for ad supported Internet radio and streaming services. Audio may be the most mobile-ready of all media, but copying monetization strategies from visually driven applications has fallen short a created a $4.7 billion gap in revenue performance. http://bit.ly/1Awu5Nb

    The audio industry needs to “think different” about mobile engagement and develop its own playbook. One strategy will involve the use of voice and others will need to emerge.

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