Automated Creative founder Tom Ollerton recently interviewed Kepios and DataReportalfounder Simon Kemp about his latest series of Digital 2020 reports, which examine trends in digital, social media, mobile, ecommerce and more.

Here are 5 things he learned as a result of the conversation:

1. We’re not all connected 

As you can imagine there are a vast number of stories, both obvious and more subtle, emerging from the hundreds of pages of data in Digital 2020. When I asked Simon what stood out for him, his response was twofold.

Firstly, usage is still growing; there’s a 7% growth in internet users (298 million people), despite the fact the web is more than 30 years old. This isn’t a surprise, but it is reassuring as it shows that more people are getting access.

However, there are still large pockets of unconnected people – while more than 4 billion of us use the internet, there are a significant 3.2 billion who either don’t or can’t. While this number will never reach 100% due to factors like age, we still have a long way to go before the internet is ubiquitous. 

2. Don’t dismiss gaming 

A large portion of our chat was dedicated to gaming. Digital 2020 shows that 81% of internet users play games every month and 69% play games on smartphones.

Simon believes the marketing industry is missing a trick when it comes to gaming – marketers who aren’t gamers themselves can be too dismissive of its potential and find it difficult to understand.

There are a number of different types of opportunity in gaming – there’s playing the games, of course, and there’s also those who watch others playing as a form of entertainment. If the right brands can work out how to tap into the trend in a non interruptive and culturally relevant way, there’s a huge, engaged user base waiting.  

3. Yahoo is still a big deal, honestly 

Simon’s been pulling these reports together for a long time and he’s aware of data trends from even further back. I asked him what’s remained constant.

His response might surprise marketers – an old favourite, Yahoo, remains in the top 10 websites. Most marketers wouldn’t think to prioritise Yahoo, yet it attracts “more traffic than porn”.

A huge global audience checks into Yahoo regularly, whether that’s for weather or finance updates, or to check their mail. Simon believes this points to the fact that people’s behaviours don’t always change as fast as marketing media might have us believe. 

4. There’s a subreddit for everything

Reddit makes marketers uncomfortable, but it has more than 430 million monthly active users. It’s bigger than Snap and TikTok (out of China at least).

And it’s growing rapidly, especially in response to the coronavirus crisis. It’s very much a conversational platform, but while on places like WhatsApp we converse with people we know, on Reddit we connect with those we don’t know, that have shared interests and passions.

Whatever you like doing, there’s a subreddit for it, whether that’s dogs, Candy Crush or niche techno music.

For marketers, Reddit is both fascinating and challenging – there’s no room for a broad brush approach from brands as it’s too in-depth and too nuanced. Instead, the best way to get cut through is to create great content that’s picked up organically. 

5. If it’s good enough for world leaders…

Simon’s reports have pulled in millions of views over the years, but 2020 was the first time a world leader has tweeted about them.

The president of Cuba, no less. It’s amazing, Simon says, how many people are using these charts from all over the world to illustrate their points, which is of course what they were created for – to be ‘stolen’, and reused.

In this particular instance the data ended up being politicised, with Díaz-Canel arguing that people are getting more access to the internet and mobile devices. But the fact that the reports have such widespread utility is a pretty remarkable achievement. 

You can contact and connect with Simon Kemp as @eskimon on Twitter.