This week Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins unveiled her annual “Internet Trends” presentation to the world.  To web trend geeks, this presentation has become sort of mini web holiday, as it usually provides a fantastic mix of easily digestible information, great high-level insights, and occasional ephemera that make for good copy on blogs and media sites that cover the business of the web.  Yesterday, Derek Thompson of The Atlantic explored a particularly key piece of information regarding consumers’ time spent versus ad dollars spent across types of media, and came away with 3 key learnings…

– Takeaway #1: We still love TV. 
– Takeaway #2: Advertisers still love print.
– Takeaway #3: Audiences move faster than advertisers.

That last takeaway is the most important one for any brands or marketers to consider, but not quite for the reasons stated in Mr. Thompson’s piece.

According to Meeker’s data, we spend 42% more time consuming media on mobile than on print while advertisers spend 25x more dollars on print than on mobile.  As Thompson reasonably surmises, there’s quite likely some lag between the growth of popularity of mobile media for consumers and the movement of ad dollars towards that medium and away from print. But that’s not the really important way in which audiences move faster than advertisers today.

In traditional print media, advertisers are forced to stand still.  They pick their publisher platform, buy ad space, and expect their customers to come to them.  While on the web, customers may come to find your brand, but whether you’re advertising or engaging in social marketing or not, your customers are on the web talking about you. And they move so fast, whether you like it or not, as brands, you’re not just in competition with other members of your industry, but with every other brand on the web.

Case in point, yesterday I saw this rather amusing tweet in my time-line that was in response to one of the users I follow…

Personal, responsive, engaging, and funny.  It was so good, that even though the customer was annoyed about the delay, he retweeted Jet Blue’s communication.  Which allowed everyone who follows him see the engagement as well.  Honestly, at a brand-building level, it worked on me.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one to follow @cwilk and notice.  Because a bit later, this happened…

Not only are your audiences - your customers - not standing still on the web, waiting for you to push messages to them, but the speed of their communication and the level of their interconnectedness is such that every brand is competing with every other brand on the web at real-time.

Whether you like it or not.

This dynamic creates a demand on brands to own themselves.  People are on the web, both in mobile and on the desktop.  They’re already there much more than they are on the unidirectional medium of printed media, and that trend will just continue to grow.  Whether brands decide to start spending the proportionate ad dollars on the desktop and mobile web or not, they’ve got to be in the web space and representing themselves in such a tight-knit way as to be responsive to current and potential clients needs at web speed.

That doesn’t necessitate more ad dollars be spent on the mobile and desktop web, however. It just necessitates that brands re-think the way they understand and communicate with their audiences and do so very quickly.

Tags: Marketing, Web