14 Surprising Internet Trends that Marketers Will Love

by Ritika Puri

Last updated on January 15th, 2018

At the heart of every marketing strategy is a human-to-human bond. If you want to generate sales, you need to think beyond clicks, impressions, pageviews, and shares to understand how people really use the Internet.

A key place to start looking is how the Internet has evolved in the last 10 years and why certain trends have emerged.

Take a look at the following infographic from BestEducationSites, which features a deep-dive into the online landscape in 2002 and 2012.

Internet Then and Now Infographic

Here’s what we can learn from what’s changed

1. In this 10-year period, Internet Explorer was the most popular web browser, holding 95% share of the market. Today, demand for variety has boomed, and IE only holds 39% of the pie, with Chrome coming in at a close #2 (28%).

2. In 2002, there were 3 million websites. In 2012, that number exploded into 555 million. Competition-wise, the space is extremely crowded for capturing your audience’s attention.

3. Ten years ago, people spent an average of 46 minutes online per day. Today, they spend four hours.

4. In 2002, only 9.1% of the world’s population was online. Today, 33% of the world’s population is online, which means that growth in international markets has exploded. With only 33% of the world’s population online, however, there is still significant opportunity find customers overseas.

Here’s what we can learn from what’s stayed the same

5. In 2002, the most popular search terms were Spiderman, Shakira, Winter Olympics, and World Cup. In 2012, popular expressions were Rebecca Black, Google+, Hurricane Irene, Pinterest, Ryan Dunn, and iPhone5. As these phrases suggest, technology has emerged as a mainstream consumer trend, which is, perhaps, due to the booming tech sector that has created so many jobs.

6. In 2002, the top meme was Ninjas. In 2012, the top meme was Forever Alone. Ninjas are still awesome, which means that memes can withstand the test of time.

7. In 2002, social network Friendster made its debut with 3 million users. Today, the top social network site is Facebook, with 900 million users. Even back then, 3 million users was a significant proportion of the online population. Over the last 10 years, and into the next decade, we will always gravitate towards the platforms that connect us to our peers.

Now let’s jump beyond this infographic to learn about more amazing trends online

8. According to the Pew Center, 61% of current Facebook users say that at one time or another in the past they have voluntarily taken a break from using Facebook for a period of several weeks or more. Could it be that we feel overloaded with our virtual social lives? Or is it merely that our online media consumption interests are diversifying to blogs, Twitter, and Pinterest?

9. That same study says that 20% of the online adults who do not currently use Facebook say they once used the site but no longer do so. Perhaps users are finding alternative social media that fit their specific needs. The social media market is diversifying with new options for different types of consumer needs.

10. According to another Pew study, 46% of internet users post original photos & videos online; 41% curate photos & videos they find elsewhere on the web and post on image-sharing sites. People love sharing details about their lives, and images help to create a sense of community among social circles. From a business standpoint, images are key for building a personal rapport with consumers.

11.The World Bank says that 75% of the world’s population has mobile access. More than 30 billion mobile apps were downloaded in 2011. From education to government and business, mobile is the mission-critical technology to connect marketers with the entire world.

12. The Economist says that 4 million people have used Airbnb since the company launched in 2008. That metric signifies consumer trust in alternative business models.

13. On average, companies respond to only 30% of social media fans’ feedback, says SocialBakers. Stat #7 tells us that social media is a powerful force. As these platforms mature, consumers will demand more transparency. There is a strong opportunity for companies to reach target audiences through higher levels of transparency on social media. Now is the time to step up. Your conversion funnel needs it.

14. There was an 80% increase in smartphone and tablet opens in the first half of 2012, explains Litmus. If you’re managing an email marketing campaign, remember that you’ll be reaching your audiences in a variety of contexts. They’re on the train, at the doctor’s office, and in between meetings at work.

You pick #15. What metrics are most important for today’s marketers to know?

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Ritika Puri

Ritika Puri is a San Francisco-based blogger who writes about trends in business, internet culture, and marketing. She’s inspired by the intersection between technology, entrepreneurship, and sociology. By day, she works for a large online media company, and after-hours, she runs her writing consulting business, UserGrasp.


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  1. Arun says:
    December 2, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Interesting… like to knw more

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