UBM (United Business Media) recently released the results of an independent research study amongst architecture, construction and commercial property professionals about mainstream construction industry publications. The data gathered provides marketers with valuable information about the current market situation to guide their future campaign development decisions.
The study showed a gradual decrease in industry employees, falling from 100,534 people in 2005 to 80,513 people in 2010. The greatest difference was in the number of house-builders/contractors which fell dramatically. The number was nearly halved, demonstrating the impact of the recession which forced many companies to decrease employee numbers. Surprisingly, there is a significant increase in the number of architects which were the only group not to decrease in number.
The readership component of the study, obtained a sample size of 3,457 people and the results were weighted to ensure industry representativeness. The publications researched are illustrated in the diagram below.
Initially all building jobs were grouped together to gain an overview of the average issue readership for the whole construction and architecture industry. The graph below demonstrates the percentage of the sample who read each magazine:
Average issue readership findings
Average issue readership is defined as those who have read a publication in the last week (for weekly issues) or month (for monthly issues). Amongst the architects and technologists, Building Design was the most widely read publication. However, in the architecture sector the RIBA Journal (61%) and Architecture Today (51%) were not far behind. 33% of Technologists surveyed read Building Products Magazine on a monthly basis.
Amongst the housing associations and the quantity surveyors, Building publication has the highest readership by a large amount (45%) followed by Housebuilder (13%), this could be a result of Building and Building Design using their own readership database for the survey.
Regular readership findings
This group is defined as reading 3 to 4 issues of a magazine in a month (for weekly titles) OR reading 5 to 6 issues in the past 6 months for (monthly titles). These figures are important for establishing readership loyalty and commitment to a publication. The graph below shows the results:
Building is the overall market leading publication according to this research which could be slightly one sided as the database could be dominated by Building and Building Design readers.
An interesting find according the research was that Quantity Surveyors only regularly read 5 out of the 11 titles provided. Building (51%), CN (4%), Construction Manager (6%), Building Products (1%) followed by Architects Journal (1%).
When the readership was sorted according to decision makers in the building job sectors, it showed that 40% of Building readers were involved in purchasing decisions. For the other publications the regular readership consists of a mix of decision makers, with none of them being particularly influential over another.
The final part the research looked at the way the industry professionals surveyed used the internet, the regularity of usage and whether they preferred online or print versions of each publication. This part of the research concentrated on building.co.uk, bdonline.co.uk, cnplus.co.uk and finally architectsjournal.co.uk, each publications content is currently behind paywalls.
When asked how they would like to receive various types of content, the building sectors mainly preferred content via the internet. They did not favour print on its own unless it was supported by the internet which demonstrates the need to supply readers with quick and up to date information. It also depended on the type of content and the internet was the preferable choice for ‘news before other sources’ whilst a combination of internet and print was ideal for ‘practical value’.
These results illustrate that print alone is not sufficient for the building sector and internet is the medium that should be the main focus for targeting professionals with content. However, print should not be completely abandoned, but instead combined with online maximum impact and reach.
By a small margin, the architects seemed to prefer the combination of print and online content especially for ‘practical value’ and to ‘stimulate ideas’. Similar to the building sector, internet was preferred for ‘news before other sources’ even though the margin was slightly less (42% compared to 46%). Architects and the building sectors also agreed that print would be suitable on its own for ‘stimulating ideas’, with the architects preferring it by a larger margin.
When asked about last visit to the websites it is interesting to note 43% of those surveyed visited bdonline.co.uk in the last week and 35% visiting within the last month. This is useful data for marketers when it comes to keeping digital advertising campaigns fresh and informative. Readers of bdonline.co.uk will soon tune off to a 6 month digital advertising campaign as 43% of readers will be exposed to the advertisement on a weekly basis, however, the ad will be exposed to the 35% of monthly visitors on just the six occasions.
On the whole this independent research delivers useful insights into the industry, helping marketers in the creation of placement ads and implementing strategic campaigns. The readership statistics are valuable when deciding which publications to choose and why readers choose to read them. The data relating to online behaviour and usage is particularly useful for marketers when it comes to campaign longevity and freshness. Although the impartiality of the sample has to be questioned, the data provided can be used to make judgments and decisions on how long should a campaign last? Which publication to use? How can the marketer make best use of online and offline and target the right audience with the right message on a frequent basis?
Keep checking the UBM website as more results and detailed information from the research will be published shortly.