2015 Internet Trends: What do they mean for banking?

It’s been more than 15 years since we started using our phones to do more than just talk. Today, we’re surprised to find anyone who isn’t mobile-savvy, with a raft of apps and capabilities readily available, and Americans already spend almost a quarter of their time, 25%, on mobile devices. In fact, this space has grown so fast over the last decade that it might actually be slowing down.

So why does this market get only 8% of ad dollars spent? Is this equation set to be upended? And if other industries are rapidly moving their ads to the mobile market, should banks and other financial services providers be going the same way?

These are just a few of the issues that leap off the page in the new Internet Trends report from market analyst Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Every one of these reports has been an eye-opener, and this one is no exception. The report—you can find a list of key findings here—is chock-full of critical insights that should be mandatory reading for everyone charged with doing business online, which means just about everyone. The transformation in consumer behavior is nothing short of seismic—again!—and those who don’t change their own practices with it are doomed to fail.

Consider that one stat about spending 25% of our time on mobile devices. It’s not only about time—it entails many short browsing sessions vs. a few long browsing sessions, which in turn means information is consumed in bite-sized pieces. If you’re an industry that has a lot to say—let’s kindly assume financial services falls into this category—it mandates a massive shift in communicating techniques.

Here’s another seemingly simple change. We all know that video is a preferred medium on mobile devices, but did you know that vertical video ads like Snapchat’s are watched in their entirety some nine times more than their horizontal equivalent? This in turn means those gauzy, long-distance establishing shots might be put aside in favor of more close-ups. In fact, you know those five-second ads that can be very irritating? Like carousel ads and integrated buy buttons, they not just real, they’re really effective. Swatting them away is not an option. We need to find ways to make them work better.

Moving up from the consumer to the enterprise, the changes are even more breathtaking. From cash registers to Slack and from paper files and insurance brokers to Zenefits, the goal here is not simply to be more efficient, as in, to do the same things but do them faster. The goal is in fact to do things differently, which in turn allows institutions to offer new products and new services to new markets, all while setting new metrics for success.

And of course, if there’s anyone out there sick of hearing about millennials, get ready, because we’re going to hear a lot more. The importance of this market simply cannot be overstated. It’s coming to dominate the workforce (already making up 44% of the on-demand workforce), has money to spend, and is still making decisions about which institution to go with. We all know these kids and nearly-kids love features like Remote Deposit Capture and other forms of instant gratification. So here are some questions: Is your institution’s user interface millennial-ready? What new capabilities have been developed in just the past year specifically for this audience? What’s the adoption rate for these apps?

Finally, speaking of overplayed issues, let’s talk Big Data. The report lays out the case for the brave new world we now inhabit by making it clear that in just a few years, we’re going to realize just how uninformed we still are, in 2015, when making decisions. Think we’re advanced in using actionable intelligence to guide business initiatives?  Think again.

Sure, the digital generation is so dynamic as to always be changing, and each new report like this captures only a moment in time. But appreciating that reality on an intellectual level and applying it to routine best practices are two different things. We’re always evolving, and that’s good—in fact, the report states that industries like ours have changed much faster than, say, government, health care and education.

So yes, we’re changing. But are we changing fast enough?


Written by Jack Dougal

Jack Dougal

Jack Dougal is Banking.com's resident news reporter. He writes regular blogs covering the latest stories and key developments in the global financial services industry.

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