How we use social media and other communication channels is constantly evolving

How we use social media and other communication channels is constantly evolving

Chris Ashworth compares research findings from the 2017 and 2019 Construction Media Index.

The Construction Media Index is a set of comprehensive and impartial research reports detailing the communication channels available for engaging with the UK construction sector.

When Competitive Advantage first conducted this research in 2008 we were interested in how the industry was transitioning from hard copy to digital journals. This now seems to have stabilised with a small proportion of readers using hardcopy only, but with more than a third using both forms of media. The use of both reflects that the formats are used in different circumstances.

Digital perhaps being read while commuting and for news headlines. Hardcopy more for browsing and reading in-depth articles.

Use of Blogs, Vlogs and Podcasts has increased since 2017, with the majority mostly reading blogs. Respondents tell us that this trend will continue to grow, but at a slow rate.

The number of people using social networks, and the frequency of access, has remained much the same. But the mix of media used has changed. Twitter and Facebook have both seen a decline in use. LinkedIn’s usage has remained fairly constant but the new kid on the block – WhatsApp has shown tremendous growth and become the most widely used social media by our sample.

The more traditional forms of engagement; Exhibitions, Conferences and Technical Seminars have shown growth in the number of people attending them. These also rate highly in terms of people’s trust in the information they receive – a new measure introduced in 2019.

We started to monitor the use of industry Apps in 2017 and I was surprised to see that usage has not increased in 2019. Is this because the construction Apps are of limited value, are there so many that people don’t feel inclined to use them or perhaps the level and quality of information available from websites means that Apps are unnecessary for many product categories?

One to watch in the future is Immersive and Virtual Reality. These terms were only just becoming familiar in 2017. In 2019 there is still limited uptake but almost a third of respondents said they expected to increase their usage.

So what does this mean for those in marketing communications? Firstly, the comments in this article are generalisations and if you look at the trends of the different respondent categories there are some significant differences. For example, architects tend to be ahead of contractors in their use of social media. As with all good marketing campaigns, there is a need to tailor communications for the different industry decision makers and also recognise evolving trends in the way information is delivered.

Further Information

Chris Ashworth will be speaking at the Marketing in Construction Summit on the subject of Trust.

Competitive Advantage Consultancy specialises in helping building product manufacturers to be more effective at getting their products selected. Offering more than construction market research, we can work with you to inform and develop your strategy, with a range of sales and marketing tools all designed to help you effectively influence construction product selection.

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