Seven Trends Reshaping Our World: Viewed through the Lens of Digital Data

Dr. Stephen Kraus, Chief of Insights at SimilarWeb explained his company’s “modest” goal of synthesizing the click stream from “every website in the world” along with other sources to identify key trends.

Dr. Stephen Kraus, Chief of Insights at SimilarWeb explained his company’s “modest” goal of synthesizing the click stream from “every website in the world” along with other sources to identify key trends.



The other sources include: 

  • a panel of 400,000 devices (e.g. via ad blocking and other free apps that permit user tracking), covering at least one percent of 68 countries internet usage
  • global ISP data
  • direct measurement data 
  • data from over 3,000 clients
  • google Analytics

From these combined digital data sets (all passively collected), it is possible to derive the age, gender and products purchased. As such, insights are gleaned more from behavioral data than from traditional survey research.

Technological trends
• 51% have internet access
• 41% of global ad spend is online (vs. 25% for TV)
• There is more traffic on phones (52%) than on desktops (44%), perhaps suggesting where people shop vs actual purchase.

“The big get bigger “
1. Google
2. Facebook
3. YouTube
4. Yahoo
5. Amazon 

Interesting facts – 
• More people “go to Amazon first” (not Google) when looking for products!  
• Searches on Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant provide different results.

“The rich get richer”
The middle class is being “compressed” due to growth of the two extreme economic groups. This impacts how CPG companies market their products, by going low and high, e.g. “dollar” vs. luxury stores. Middle market retailers (e.g. K Mart) are struggling.

Demographic trends
Millennials in particular have adopted new lifestyles that disrupt many products (groceries), services (banking) and industries (transportation). Examples include increased ordering and paying online, expecting free delivery, marriage age, home ownership, and working 9 to 5.

Greater FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt)
• Dominant players — have more followers than the populations of most countries, there are still opportunities for startups to explore new data sources and attract niche markets and communities.
• Global alliances are shifting
• Terrorism/Security issues

In this environment, marketers need to provide clarity and certainty in their messaging and descriptions.
Our info needs (desires) often exceed what consumers are capable of or willing to tell us.

Steve left a major market research firm to join a market intelligence (i.e. big data) startup headquartered in Israel. This might portend another trend and address a frequent MRC question, namely, “What is the future of our profession?”