What businesses need to know from last week’s OFCOM report

OFCOM’s Communications Market report published new information on how and why people use technology. The latest trends in social media, radio, TV and more. The findings tell us how different age groups behave. How they communicate, read news, share information and buy goods. If you’re a business that markets its products and/or services to the public, this is a gift.

Now we understand you’re busy and it’s difficult keeping up to date. So, we’ve done the hard work for you. Here’s our need to know for you and your business.

1) Social media is growing… and growing

Posting images and video online is now more popular than sending text messages. In fact, the number of text messages being sent has dropped by 6 billion. Facebook is the most popular networking site with seven in ten (72%) adults using or owning a profile. Instant messaging is a key motivator with 42% using Whatsapp. While 34% use Twitter, 23% Instagram and 21% Linkedin. YouTube is way ahead in the field as our favourite video sharing site and mirrors the rising popularity in video content. How long this will last is anyone’s guess as Facebook announces the launch of its new video platform.

What does this mean for me?
You can’t afford to dismiss or undervalue social media whatever your sector. BUT it’s important to understand the distinct differences and added value of each social media channel. As well as how you can use it to engage your target audience. If you are using SMS marketing you may need to consider how to adapt this to the instant messaging market. Don’t jump on the social media bandwagon without research, a plan, policy, and online personality! Start small, evaluate, amend, get it right. And then consider expanding.

2) We’ve got trust issues

We take the images we see online with a sizeable pinch of salt. Over 44% of respondents said it wasn’t easy to tell if an image is real or fake and the same could be said for video. Although we’re aware that images can be embellished through filters, photoshop etc, that doesn’t stop over third of people feeling inadequate by photos shared by friends and colleagues.

What does this mean for me?
Trust is everything in business. Your customers, clients, suppliers, partners, all rely on you acting with honest and integrity. Never use fake or misleading photos and always make sure you have the appropriate licence in place before using images. Do not just grab images off the internet! Lastly, if you are retweeting content through social media always remember to attribute the source. We always recommend taking or commissioning original photographs or using reputable photo libraries.

3) The older generation are no longer ‘off grid’

53% of over 75s have internet access at home – up from 8% in one year – and this is predicted to increase. Alongside this the over 65s watch three times more TV than 16-24 year olds, averaging 5 hours and 44 minutes a day. While older people engage in relatively fewer digital channels than younger age groups they do tend to view content at home, in a ‘captive’ environment.

What does this mean for me?
Re-evaluate your marketing strategy to this demographic if they are already one of your targets. Find out how these customers are engaging with your business and their wider interests and activities. This demographic’s behaviour can be easier to predict and are geographically more stable than other groups. Use this knowledge to your advantage and achieve greater cut through online.

4) Selfie stays strong

Over a third of 18 – 24 year olds share selfies online, with the wider population more commonly sharing holiday snaps. ‘Sharenting’ is the latest buzz word for parents sharing pictures of their children online. With around 20% doing this at least once a month. 56% however shy away from this practice, choosing instead to protect their children’s privacy.

What does this mean for me?
It’s hard to see the selfie trend waning any time soon but what makes it interesting is it’s now becoming a family pursuit. Integrating selfie opportunities into promotions and campaigns will instantly give you amplification in the younger age ranges. Think about creating photo opportunities into competitions and news using landmarks, interactive displays, photo cut outs and treasure hunts. The IAAF’s Hero Mascot is a prime example of effective online engagement!

5) The fight for the TV remote is SO over

Average TV viewing has dropped by 12% and gone are the days we sit down as a family to enjoy the weekly sitcom. Teens chose social media (53%) for their alone time and to watch what they want to on TV. Meanwhile mum and dad might be looking at their smart phones or tablet while the older sibling binges their way through the latest box set. In fact multi device homes means 78% now have a tablet computer and 76% a smart phone.

What does this mean for me?
Teenagers and young adults are less likely to be influenced by their mum and dad’s choices, making independent decisions earlier on in life. Increasingly this generation wants to be heard, respected and above all included. Reaching out to this audience through social media is possible for any business and any cause, just look at Labour’s successful election campaign. Don’t tell them what and how to think, tell them why you are different and how they can get involved.

6) We still love ‘the wireless’

And lastly we give a nod to the radio, a much overlooked medium that’s still a part of our daily backdrop. 9 in ten adults (89.6%) listen to the radio every week from commercial , talk radio and public radio broadcasters. Radio 4’s Today Programme remains one of the most influential and continues to set the news agenda for the day.

What does this mean for me?
Have you explored radio opportunities which could offer a more accessible space to get your voice heard? Local radio stations in particular are always looking for news and announcements to fill their air time. Consider how many people you could reach via a targeted radio advert compared with PPC advertising.

We recommend you take a look at OFCOM’s website for more info and if you need further tips and advice, just give us a shout!