5 hot topics from the Ofcom Survey 2014The Ofcom Communications Market Report is based on a survey of 2,000 adults and 800 children and shows how connected and dependent on communications we Brits have become.

Technology has made us remarkably flexible in how and when we access the things that make our lives tick – products, services, information, social engagement and entertainment. No surprises there, maybe, but the speed at which it is happening is incredible.

This evolution in the consumption of online media has profound implications for the world of digital marketing both in the B2B and B2C arenas. Here we list the five most important conclusions we have drawn from the report to aid  your online marketing strategy.

  1. Blurring work and leisure
    • 72% of senior managers send work related emails outside working hours, 44% regularly
    • 53% of work related email/texting outside hours takes place in the evening at home
    • Six in ten workers regularly or occasionally send or receive personal texts
    • Higher management levels are more likely to blur work life boundaries and take part in personal communication and online activity during the working day

    Our comments: The opportunities to engage in B2B communications are becoming increasingly extended. Decision makers and their influencers are increasingly open for receiving business offers when at leisure and personal offers when at work.

  2. Accessing the internet
    • 82% of households have internet access
    • By end of Q1 2014 there were 6.1 million UK superfast broadband connections, up from 2.2 million the previous year
    • 57% access internet from their mobiles in Q1 2014, up from 49% in 2013

    Our comments: Again the opportunities for effective communication out of working hours are growing. There is little difference between age groups for mobile usage – 99% of 16-34, 98% of 35-54 and 92% for 55-64. The benefits of responsive website design are clear for reaching the extensive range of mobile users while also presenting with best effect on PCs and laptops that remain widely used both in the office and at home.

  3. Expanding ownership of smartphones and tablets
    • Six in ten adults (61%) now own a smartphone
    • Take-up of smartphones has increased by 51% from 2013
    • The number of households with tablets has almost doubled up to 44%, up from 24% in previous year
    • 14% of homes claim to own two or more tablets
    • Smartphones are favoured by younger people – 88% of 16-24s own smartphone compared with 14% aged 65+
      Tablet use is spread across generations, with over 28% of those aged 55+ owning one and many using it as their main computing device

    Our comments: These statistics not only demonstrate the rapid expansion in smart mobile devices but show the growing and universal popularity of tablets. Given the larger screen size and ease of use, this provides opportunities for more complex end in-depth engagement in the flexible mobile environment, especially given that many are now using it as a principal form of online communications.

    The Survey indicates that email maintains its popularity at work and for personal communication. Responsive designed targeted e-shots remain a highly effective form of focused marketing for reaching people on desktop PCs and laptops or when out and about with their mobiles.

  4. Boost in media consumption and multi-tasking
    • On average, UK adults spend more time in media and communications activity than they do sleeping, 8 hours 41 minutes as opposed to 8 hours 21 minutes in the land of nod
    • By multi-tasking on a number of communications devices at one time, this 8 hours 41 minutes is extended to the equivalent of 11 hours 7 minutes
    • 16-24 year olds spend 1 hour 24 minutes per day on social media compared with 51 minutes by other adult age groups

    Our comments: One of the main advantages of working outside office hours was seen as increased flexibility, but 80% of the sample acknowledged that it was “hard to switch off and relax.” Multi-tasking can lead to distraction and it can be hard to get messages across to those without time to take them in. Gaining engaging impact online and through social media relies on both content quality and simplicity – messages don’t necessarily need to be short, but they must be direct and easy to assimilate.

  5. Knowledge of new wearable technology is low
    • 46% of all adults had never heard of smart glasses and four in ten had not heard of smart watches
    • 25% had heard of these new devices but didn’t know much about them
    • Six in ten admit that new technology confuses them

    Our comments: Well, so much for number 3 of our “7 Predictions for 2014”. Judging by the Ofcom Survey, it looks that our enthusiasm for wearable technology was a bit premature. It still has a way to go to gain general acceptance and it is likely to be some time before wearable technology extends from being a niche form of communicating and receiving information. Watch this space, but don’t expect dramatic developments like the revolution in mobile usage.

To discuss the implications of the Ofcom Report and the current environment for your B2B marketing and communications, contact BBI Brandboost on 01494 452600, by email or via the Live Chat function on our website.

By Jason Freeman