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7 Stats that Every IR Professional Should Know About

The Internet — and the way we use it — is constantly changing. Here’s what IR teams need to know about the trends that have transformed digital media over the last few years.

Last month, Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report was released, outlining the remarkable shifts taking place online around the world, and the results offer some unique insights for those in the Investor Relations space. From a shifting U.S. population to the evolving roles that technology is playing, here are 7 stats gleaned from the report that every IR professional should note.

1. Changing Population

Millennials now account for almost one-third of the U.S. population: 27%, to be exact. For IR professionals, this means that segment of the population will increasingly make up a greater percentage of retail investors as their spending power continues to grow. Understanding this enigmatic group, including how they communicate, how they make their money, and how they spend it, is therefore crucial moving forward.

2. Time on Mobile

Worldwide, mobile users are spending an average of four hours per day on their mobile device. In the United States, that average jumps to five hours, and considering that 48% of millennials prefer to be contacted via email or social media, it’s clear that IR teams will have to either adjust accordingly or fall behind.

3. App Usage

Just as important to know is how mobile users choose to spend those five daily hours on their devices. In the U.S., the average user has 37 apps installed on their phone or tablet, and use 12 of them every day. To engage shareholders more fully, IR professionals would do well to explore using a mobile app.

4. Photos Shared

Everyday, over 3.25 billion photos are shared via platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. This highlights our affinity for visual stimulation, helping to inform a communication strategy for any IR team. Multimedia is the new and preferred way to communicate, which means that leveraging visual content and emerging multimedia platforms is quickly becoming non-negotiable.

5. Messaging Continues to Grow

Every month, the number of active users on messaging platforms continue to grow — WhatsApp now has over one billion users. Moreover, the way in which these platforms are being used is changing, as everything from banking to taxi services are integrated into their interface. These business accounts are improving customer service and satisfaction (increasing up to 65% in the case of Rogers Communication), and IR departments should not fail to implement them into digital marketing and outreach strategies.

6. More Data, More Possibilities

There are currently more than nine billion petabytes of data in our digital universe (a petabyte is one million gigabytes), and it’s being generated by a growing number of sensors, servers, and other sources everyday. According to CEO of Looker Frank Bien, “Data is moving from something you use outside the workstream to becoming a part of the business app itself.” IR is already a data-saturated field, and will only become more so as data becomes easier to process and collect. Having a proactive approach and the right tools will maximize an IR team’s reach.

7. Cybercrime

Security and privacy has always been of critical importance in IR, and this has never been more true than it is today. Since 2013, there have been approximately four billion data record breaches around the world, and people are taking notice. 45% of survey respondents are more worried about their online privacy than they were just a year ago, and in the last year, 74% have limited their online activity due to privacy concerns.