Four Important Trends in Digital Media

With in-depth data on today’s digital trends, the recently released Meeker 2017 Internet Trends report offers insights on how people around the world are using technology. One key takeaway for the HIV community is that advances in technology are improving healthcare. According to a TechCrunch article about the report “New inputs like 3D scans and wearable devices, data monitoring, willingness to share health data, new health apps, electronic health record adoption, and a rise in medical research will improve [health] care accuracy.

Growth in Mobile Internet Usage

Another key takeaway for organizations that provide direct HIV services is the rise in use of mobile devices to access the internet. As Luis Scaccabarrozzi, the Senior Director of Health Policy at the Latino Commission on AIDS (LCOA) suggests, “At LCOA, digital media is being used differently by different programs that we provide – we’re able to effectively use mobile social media apps and social networks, especially through mobile dating apps, for a variety of purposes, including outreach, getting people tested and getting them connected to resources for PrEP and nPEP. Especially for our direct service programs that work with Young Latino Men who have Sex with Men, they’re young and social media savvy, and mobile is one of the best ways to reach them with information, awareness campaigns, and disseminating information.”

Trends in Digital Media

Here are four of the trends noted in the report that may be most valuable to HIV service organizations:

While mobile penetration is slowing down, mobile usage continues to rise

Targeting and personalization of content are increasing    

  • Facebook, Google, and Snap (parent company of Snapchat) continue to improve their ability to target ads to specific users
  • Google, Nextdoor, Foursquare, Facebook, and Uber are experimenting with “hyper-local” advertisements that show up when a user is near as store’s physical location
  • Snap is serving up images to users based on the images they share via the platform

Digital users are becoming savvier

  • Approximately 400 million people around the world block mobile ads on their phones
  • Twenty percent of mobile searches are now made using voice
  • The number of customer service conversations happening via chat  is increasing dramatically, as “users demand faster response times and greater access ”
  • Food delivery services are in high demand as more people rely on third-party restaurant delivery services (e.g., Doordash) and grocery delivery companies (e.g., Instacart)
  • Eighty percent of people who canceled their cable service (a trend known as “cord cutting ”) stated that it was too expensive and 48% report using a streaming service instead
  • Companies are hiring more designers, as “consumer tech teaches people to expect better interfaces

Information from “someone like me” is still a powerful concept

  • User-generated content on Facebook can generate up to 7 times more engagement (vs. brand-generated content)
  • Social media apps that allow users to share short video content continue to gain popularity, with mobile video traffic increasing for Facebook, Instagram, and Snap
  • Viewing of eSports (organized, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players) went up 40% from the previous year and media and sports companies are buying into the industry to connect with the fans, of which millennials are a large segment

For more on the trends in technology and digital media, read our recent post on Advice from Digital Thought Leaders.

*This post was originally published on July 11, 2017, on HIV.gov.

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