One of the most important pieces of research to be published each year is Ofcom’s Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report.
The report looks at media use, attitudes and understanding, and how these change over time, including groups that tend not to participate digitally.
Covering TV, radio, mobile and games, with a particular focus on the internet, the research is full of insight for any public relations and marketing professional wishing to engage on behalf of an organisation.
Why it matters to your business
If you’re not sure why the data is relevant to your business, the report highlights the shifts in how people are engaging with online content and services.
The implications are widespread and impact on any communications campaign you’ll run both now and in the future.
Here are four key headlines from the report:
#1 Devices before laptops
There has been a considerable increase (from 6% in 2014 to 16% in 2015) in the proportion of adults who only use devices other than a PC/laptop (e.g. smartphones and tablets) to go online, indicating that these devices are no longer just supplementing PCs/laptops, but are starting to replace them.
#2 Mobile preferred
There is an increasing preference for mobile devices over more traditional media devices. While in 2014, adults were most likely to say they would miss their TV set the most, mobile phones are now the most-missed media device. The smartphone is the device mostly used for social media and is the preferred device for the majority of online activities.
#3 Apps and website usage matures
There has been a sizeable increase in the proportion of internet users saying they only use websites or apps that they've used before (42% vs 31% in 2014). This is seen across all socio-economic groups and may be linked to the growing tendency to use 'digital intermediaries' such as Facebook, Google, YouTube and Amazon for much activity.
#4 Channel confusion
There is increasingly polarity between different age groups in terms of communications activity. Whereas 25 years ago, all age groups shared just two common means of communication - landlines and letters - the landscape is now considerably more varied, and there is a risk that common means of communication that cut across demographics are becoming increasingly rare, with implications for social connectivity and information-sharing.
What does it mean for you?
It’s worth downloading the free report and working through the 200 page document, or at least the executive summary.
What you learn will advise how your organisation engages with your target audiences.
For example, the data showing that almost two-thirds of over-75s, and a third of 65-74s say that they do not use the internet at all, would suggest that more traditional means of engagement with this demographic is likely to have greater success.
The growing number of people favouring mobile devices over more traditional media devices, underlines the need for organisations to have a responsive and easy to navigate website, where appropriate geared to easily deliver what the public wants, whether that’s buying things online or completing government processes.
The statistic that just under half of internet users watch video clips online at least weekly demonstrates that video’s increasing popularity as a means to engage shows no sign of abating and should form part of every marketer’s armoury.
With just under six in ten (59%) of mobile users using their device for content creation (which can include taking photos or videos), curation of user generated content could prove a powerful way for organisations to build relationships with the audiences that matter to them.
Free insight for your organisation
Whether you’re a public or private organisation, local government or an individual looking to build online influence, the Ofcom Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report holds all sorts of valuable planning information. You’ll be hard pressed not to come away with insights relevant to you.
The 2015 quantitative survey was conducted by Saville Rossiter-Base among 1,841 adults in-home using a CAPI (Computer Aided Personal Interviews) methodology between September and October 2015.