Mary Meeker

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Scary Mary (Meeker) and that fallacious chart are back again

I was elsewhere earlier this week when Internet savant Mary Meeker released her gargantuan annual slide deck on big-picture digital trends.  I was not surprised that it received respectful coverage, as is warranted, nor, alas, that her updated chart implying imminent doom for print got special attention.

That’s too bad.  Of the 197 slides, this isn’t one of her best and has a pair of flaws that make it misleadingly alarmist.

If you’ve missed the chart, a staple in her presentation for a decade, it compares time spent on various platforms with ad spend.  For 2014, Meeker found print only gets 4 percent of attention but 19 percent of ad spend. She calls that “over-indexing.”

Internet spend has moved up quickly the last few years, but mobile now accounts for 24 percent of time spent and only 8 percent of ad spend.  Read more

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Print still attracts more advertising than it deserves, Mary Meeker says


Newspapers and magazines attract 19 percent of total advertising spending, Mary Meeker says in her annual Internet trends report. But consumers, she says, spend only 5 percent of their time reading them.

Time spent with print media has declined, by Meeker’s charts. In 2012 she said it earned 7 percent of consumers’ time, and 25 percent of ad spending. (Jeff Sonderman called that year’s slide “The one chart that should scare the hell out of print media.”)

Meeker took some heat last year for floating a bogus fact about smartphone usage. But Poynter’s Rick Edwards wrote in 2010 that “I like Meeker’s broad term of measurement” for ad spending vs. time spent.

Meeker’s big picture measure seems to me to suffer from one critical oversimplification: the notion that advertising is more or less equally effective by platform.

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