If you are even vaguely serious about communicating with people in 2017 there is a document Lord of the Rings-style rules them all.
The 246-pages of the Ofcom communications marker report gives you a snapshot into the shifting sandbanks of the communications landscape. I simply can’t overstate how much it can help you do your job.
The document always brings surprises and this year is the same as other years. I strongly suggest you download it and spend a couple of hours with it. You can do that here. There are also inserts for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
To whet your whistle, here are some things public sector communicators should know.
63 things comms people need to know about how people are using the media
We are more mobile and more powered by smartphones
Faster networks go hand in hand with increased data. Data used by each mobile phone have risen by 44 per cent to 1.3 GB per handset. More than 90 per cent of people own a mobile phone and 76 per cent use a smartphone.
Homes are connected, 88 per cent of households are now connected to the internet and 66 per cent use a phone online.
TV and DVD ownership s declining while people are binge-watching TV on demand. More than a third watch back-to-back TV programmes while 30 per cent sit down with the family once a week.
Most popular UK social media channels
YouTube and Facebook still dominate. LinkedIn has fallen away and Twitter has gained ground.
YouTube 42.0 million
Facebook 39.7 million
Twitter 21.9 million
Instagram 19.4 million
LinkedIn 15.9 million
Pinterest 12.4 million
Snapchat 10.3 million
Google Plus 8.7 million
The most checked app is Facebook
Those with the Facebook app on their phone check their accounts almost 12 times a day. This is higher than 10 times for WhatsApp, twice a day for Spotify and once a day for YouTube.
Ownership of internet-enabled devices
It is not just the desktop PC that people are using to go online.
What the internet is used for
General surfing and browsing is most popular (87 per cent) with email (85 per cent), online shopping 69 per cent with social networking 61 per cent, watching TV and video 53 per cent, short video clips 43 per cent. A flat 40 per cent use the web to visit local government or government websites.
Young people watch YouTube most but over 55s are the biggest audience
The peak time for YouTube is 5pm to 11pm.
Most YouTube content is viewed by 18 to 24-year-olds with 31.9 hours a month. But this sector (13 per cent) is smaller than the over 55’s (22 per cent) who watch 6.5 hours a month.
There is a generational gap amongst favoured channels
For 18-to-24s, Facebook use at 83 per outstrips over 55’s 66 per cent of over 55’s use the channel. Almost three times as many use YouTube at 68 per cent over over 55’s. Twice as many of the younger demographic (42 per cent) use WhatsApp and almost double (35 per cent) use Twitter.
Google Play leads the field with 96 per cent and 88 per cent navigate with Chrome, maps 86 per cent, YouTube 80 per cent and gmail 71 per cent. Facebook is used by 64 per cent and Twitter 45 per cent.
Winding down is a generational thing
Adults on average turn to live TV with almost 50 per cent using this as a crutch. But for 12 to 15-year-olds mostly turn to social media with 27 per cent.
Most look on YouTube and Facebook on laptop and PC
With YouTube, the PC or laptop is used by 71 per cent and 52 per cent use a smartphone and 39 per cent a tablet and 33 per cent TV.
With Facebook, PC or laptop is favoured by 67 per cent and 63 per cent smartphone and 36 tablet. Just six per cent use TV.
We keep in touch by sharing images and video not SMS
In 2012, SMS was the most favoured way to stay in touch. This has become images and video.
Almost everyone – 97 per cent – of smartphone owners use the device for sharing pictures and images and almost two thirds post images and video.
Holiday pictures are the most popular channel
24 per cent holiday pics
20 per cent Pets and animals
20 per cent Landscapes or buildings
19 per cent Funny images
16 per cent Myself
15 per cent Friends
13 per cent sunrise, sunsets and nature
Emojis have become mainstream
Far from being a niche occupation, they are being used more and more. A quarter use them every day while one-in-five think they’re important to their communications. A majority – 80 per cent – think they are fun.
Audio remains important
Radio numbers dominate with almost one-in-nine listening to the radio every week with the average 21.4 hours a week. A third use podcasts every week.