Mary Meeker recently released her 2018 Internet Trends (entire presentation below) and several of these trends are particularly important for gaming companies (both real money and social). For those of you not familiar with Meeker, she was formerly one of the top tech analysts on Wall Street and is now a leading VC (Venture Capitalist) with Kleiner Perkins. Her annual Internet Trends report has become required reading and although I hate predictions (they are about as accurate as your local weather man) she does a good job of identifying underlying developments that change the way business operates.
The trends that are most important to companies are:
- Smartphone shipments are flat, the base is not growing, while growth in the number of Internet users has fallen to less than 5%. This fact means for game companies growth will come from increasing the amount of time existing people spend in games and, in particular, your games. It also means you need to monetize these existing users better.
- Easy to use products are becoming pervasive, and Meeker points to Messaging (Telegram), Commerce (Square Cash) and Media (Spotify). This development is consistent with the growth of hypercasual in the game space.
- Messaging (WhatsApp, WeChat, FB Messenger, etc.) is growing at an incredible rate. This trend suggests CRM, acquisition, support and games on messaging platforms will become incredibly important.
- Voice technology is lifting off, suggesting voice will be an increasingly important element of games.
- Personalization plus collective data is creating better consumer experiences. Game companies need to continue making experiences more personal for players without crossing over concerns about privacy. This can be done by keeping data cumulative, rather than personal.
- Social media discovery is driving purchases. Discovery of products is expanding from Google and Amazon to Facebook and Instagram, which should reinforce their importance for game marketing.
- In performance based marketing channels, competition for top placement has reduced ROIs and increased the importance of improving LTV.
- Shopping and entertainment is converging, with one example people using YouTube before making a purchase. Game companies need to leverage this by making their games purchase ready on entertainment shopping destinations.
- New retail, a phrase pioneered by Jack Ma, puts the right product in front of the right customers at the right time. This translates to how we should present in-app purchases in games, right package to the right player at the right time.
- Data is an increasingly important driver of customer satisfaction. You should look to leverage this data so the player experience is tied to their interests.
All of these trends should be considered as your green light and grow your games. Rather than building for today, you should build for when you launch the product and years in the future when players will still be playing. I am sure there are other trends you may find useful and recommend you review the full presentation.