Every minute we watch 4 million videos on Youtube, send half a million tweets and post 50,000 photos to Instagram . Every second, Google processes 40,000 searches . The global datasphere is growing from 33 zettabytes (one ZB is a trillion GBs) in 2018 to 175 ZB by 2025 . This is an avalanche of new people, new devices, new means of commerce, and (of course) new ways of advertising.
By 2025 we’ll have 5.9 billion mobile subscribers, with mobile service reaching 71% of the world’s population. Europe and North America will be saturated with 80% of the population  enjoying mobile access. U.S. adults already spend an average of 3 hours and 35 minutes each day on mobile devices in 2018, and this will continue to grow . That’s why mobile ad spend hit $76 billion in 2018, more than TV, and by 2022, mobile ad spending will be nearly half of all ad spend: $141 billion .
Meanwhile, the WWW continues to grow, however people access it: desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones. 4.39 billion people access the web today, up almost 400 million from 2018 . Internet users are increasing at a rate of 11/second, and 52% of them are primarily mobile.
Global shipments of wearable devices — smart watches, wristbands, clothing — reached 125.3 million in 2018. That’ll jump to 189.9 million in 2022 . At the same time, the number of IoT connections will increase more than threefold, reaching 25 billion in 2025 . Each of these smart devices is another node in the network — and another step in a customer journey.
We’re watching video everywhere now, but we still love the big screen. At times, Netflix sucks up 15% of total global internet traffic . 70% of TVs shipped in 2018 are smart TVs with apps, app stores, and voice assistants  — and in many cases ad tracking — and most of them run Android, Tizen, or WebOS. And while people now spend more time on the Internet than watching TV, it’s still almost three hours a day on average globally .
AR went mainstream with Pokemon Go. Now we have augmented reality filters in Facebook and Instagram. And every day, Snapchatters spend over 500 years with Snap’s AR camera . Total XR revenues will grow from $3.7 billion in 2017 to $56 billion in 2022 , and all of it represents engagement, interaction, and opportunity for connection.
Google, Amazon, and others sold 86 million smart speakers in 2018 , and billions of phones and tablets give voice-first AI assistants virtually complete penetration in most nations. Meanwhile, the number of Alexa skills doubled last year, and now sits at over 70,000 , allowing you to activate everything from your car to your toaster to your TV with just your voice.
The complexity of modern marketing almost can’t be compared to pre-digital. From newspaper, radio, TV, mail, and outdoor, marketers have added dozens of digital channels: social, search, email, push messaging, in-app, video, web, influencer, content, display … and the list goes on.
In 2012 there was one platform that connected over a billion people. Today there are six with more than one billion users: YouTube, WeChat, and Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. (In fact, it’s seven if you count iMessage.) 17 In addition, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, Reddit, QQ, Viber, Pinterest, and Qzone each have hundreds of millions of users. Each has its own methodologies for marketing, interfaces for advertising, and different tactics for connecting with potential customers.
As both the number and consumer adoption of digital channels and platforms have gone through the roof, the number of tools marketing technology companies provide for marketers has exploded too. In fact, it’s jumped from under a thousand just five years ago to almost 7,000 today, according to Scott Brinker’s martech landscape. Those companies fill an astonishing 48 categories in marketing technology
More channels and more tools equals more data. As the global datasphere grows to 175 zettabytes by 2025, more and more of that has become addressable by marketers.
Organic marketing data such as social signals, mobile app usage, web traffic, email opens, and more joins paid marketing signals such as impressions, engagements, and conversions. Increasingly, marketers are getting location data from mobile devices and biometric data from wearable devices. Plus, enriched personal data from first-party sources such as account and purchase history is added to third-party demographic, habit, and consumer information.
Even a short decade ago, competition was largely localized. Today, Chinese entrepreneurs sell clothing on Facebook to American consumers, shipping it across the Pacific. European and Korean game publishers compete on global App Store and Google Play leaderboards. Direct to consumer brands compete with major fashion labels. And the pace of innovation is increasing.
Add it all up, and marketers are drowning in data. The challenge is seeing the signal through the noise.
In a study of 200 chief marketing officers in January 2019, we found that their biggest challenge was too much disconnected data. Data, which is supposed to be digital marketers’ salvation by revealing what impact both halves of their advertising 18 have accomplished, has turned into an enemy.
In fact, the majority (76%) of CMOs report the complexity of measuring marketing performance and sales attribution severely impairs their ability to grow, make informed growth decisions, and take appropriate investment risks 19.
As a scientist, the only thing I believe in is experimentation. I look at my current
system, perturb it through different creative and different levels of spend, and different bids, and new channels, and new partners, and I look what the effect is on the metric I care about.
Marketing scientists use tools. They use data. But they are not defined by their tools or their data. Instead, they are defined by their mindset.
Marketing scientists operate as scientists; they: form hypotheses, run experiments, measure results, and optimize based on their source of truth – accurate ROI for every marketing activity. This isn’t about setting it and forgetting it: there are always new channels, new creative, new ads, new offers, and new initiatives to test and optimize. And the cycle of experimenting, measuring, optimizing never ends.