Over half the world’s population is online
More and more of us are ‘plugging in’. Consumers are spending an entire day a week online and mobile is the most popular way to access the Internet (around two thirds of the world’s 7.6 billion people now own a mobile phone!). And a new report from Ofcom highlights just how reliant we are on them. So, what does all this mean for brands trying to connect and engage with their customers?
Put down the pen and paper. That’s one of the key takeaways from this year’s Ofcom report. The growing use of smartphones and apps has impacted the way consumers are engaging with content and now the focus is firmly on digital communication. On average, people are spending 24 hours a week online, which is double the amount of time that was being spent a decade ago. And brands are waking up to this, choosing to invest more in their digital marketing strategies as the report reveals that online advertising now accounts for the majority of advertising spend. For brands operating within the pensions and benefits sector, it’s clear that to really increase engagement more needs to be done within the digital space. It’s not just about reducing paper statements and moving them online, it’s more about creating genuine connections with people through digital platforms (such as using tools like Facebook for business or technology like chatbots to increase engagement). Either way, providers need to think digital-first to ensure they’re not left behind.
The latest stats show that brands should be adopting a mobile-first approach because the use of mobile is growing at an exponential rate. 72% of UK adults use their mobile phone to get online and smartphones are the preferred device over all others. In fact, 37% of time spent online at home is on a smartphone and (aside from checking their alarm) 40% of adults look at their phone within five minutes of waking up! So it’s clear we’re all becoming more dependent on mobile technology and companies looking to increase reach and overall engagement need to take this into consideration when building communication strategies. Whether it’s push notifications, a podcast or a personalised video, there are so many ways to create digital communications that people can interact with when they’re ‘on the move’.
Think beyond Millennials
Despite what you might think, digital communication is on the rise across all demographics, including over 55s. Although many providers might think that people approaching retirement age or those that are interested in talking about ‘pensions’ only interact with paper statements and offline communications, it’s clear that there are more ways to reach people in the digital age. According to the report, over 54s use communication apps the most out of any age group and there was a 51% take up of smartphone devices in over 55s. More and more people approaching retirement age are using mobile devices and apps so for companies trying to reach and engage with more people the message is clear: digital isn’t just for Millennials, it’s for everyone.
Create more video
When it comes to online communications, video continues to be the most effective way of capturing your audience’s imagination. People watch an average of 3 hours and 23 minutes of TV a day, but with the rise of superfast broadband and smart TVs, more are heading online to watch programmes. One third of people watch content via an online subscription service and 29% choose to head to YouTube to watch video clips. If viewing habits are changing so dramatically, why wouldn’t this impact the way we talk about pensions? We already know that smartphone use among those aged 55-75 years old is increasing (you can read more about that and how technology in general has impacted pensions communications here). And we know that video is the most consumed form of media on mobile devices. So when it comes to communicating with people about their pension we should be looking to video to boost engagement (for some tips on how to do this effectively read our our recent article on how to create a personalised benefits and rewards video).
Get ready for voice recognition
There’s been a lot of buzz about voice recognition lately and while it’s something to consider within your overall communication strategy, it doesn’t appear to be at the forefront just yet. The report revealed that although one in ten people listen to the radio via a smart speaker, only 16% of people aged 16-54 owned one in the first half of 2018.
Source: The Ofcom Communications Market Report 2018