The impact of coronavirus and home working on our key industry media

Home working has become everyone’s new modus operandi, but what impact will this have on marketing in the construction industry and the channels we consider as part of our campaigns and more specifically media strategy…particularly in the short term?

Nick Gill - Head of New Business & Client Services

Nick Gill01.04.2020

A number of trade magazines are sent to home addresses and it could be argued that some readers will find themselves with more time to consume their content over the next few weeks. For those trade magazines that are sent to business addresses, most publishers are taking proactive steps to ensure they reach their intended recipients – with many contacting their readership to ask if they’d like theirs sent to an alternate address.

For the purposes of this blog, I’ve examined whether there’s a pattern in the impact lockdown is having on their associated online traffic and digital engagement.

Speaking to a selection of the most respected magazines and publishers, the evidence all points to the same conclusion...

That industry professionals are turning to respected online news sources in record numbers to understand how coronavirus will impact their business and are also using this period to invest time in e-learning and their own professional development.

Building, Building Design and Housing Today

  • Building.co.uk saw a huge surge in traffic last week with a 206% rise in users and a 235% rise in page views. It anticipates this upward trend continuing.

“We are seeing a massive uptake in digital engagement across the sites of Building, Building Design and Housing Today as the wider built environment strives to understand what the crisis means for their business. We’re seeing our advertising and sponsorship clients looking to capitalise on this audience to convey their messages and also thousands of professionals looking to update their CPD requirements to learn and join the many debates hosted on our webinars in a digital environment.”
Cameron Marshall, Commercial Director, Assemble Media

The Architects’ Journal

“In these turbulent times digital content is key. At AJ we’ve made our coronavirus content free to view – this includes a series of practical ‘how-to’ guides to help architects through the coronavirus crisis as well as regular surveys to investigate the effect this is having on the profession. All-user views are up 155% as we are now reaching a much wider audience. Social media reach is also continuing to grow with an increase across all platforms - combined 479k followers across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.”
Hannah Buckley, Account Director, EMAP

Construction News

“To support our industry through the coronavirus pandemic, Construction News has made more of our content free to view. Reaching a wider audience, with total page views up 189% and users up 132% the Construction News website and social media platforms has seen an explosion on engagement with news and intelligence for construction professionals to navigate this new reality with industry insight, data and thought-provoking opinion. As always, CN will continue to bring you the latest news and analysis as construction battles an unparalleled challenge.”
Maria Gonzales, Commercial Manager, Construction News

Construction Enquirer

  • Since the start of the crisis, readership of the Enquirer has more than doubled. It received 582,000 page views in just three days last week.

“Our traffic has increased markedly during the pandemic as the industry turns to us as its trusted source of online news and updates. The Enquirer has always been an online only news service and doesn’t suffer the paywall problems of traditional publishers. The industry will continue once this crisis is over and a strong message to the industry from suppliers that they are always there - even in troubled times - is a vital brand message which pays long-term dividends.”
Grant Prior, Publisher, Construction Enquirer

Heating Ventilating and Plumbing

  • Since the lockdown was announced traffic has surged. Between 23-29 March, the website received 9,926 new users, well over double the amount of visitors in the week prior.

“The coronavirus lockdown resulted in a massive spike of traffic to our website. The immediate question for every heating engineer and plumber was whether they would still be able to work, so breaking news stories we published on government guidance for tradespeople and clarification on whether builders’ merchants could continue to open saw a huge increase in the number of visitors to the site. In these unprecedented times, it’s critical for publications such as ourselves to be disseminating these important updates to our audience to ensure they’re informed enough to take the appropriate decisions to protect their businesses and livelihoods.”
Joe Dart, Editor, Heating Ventilating and Plumbing

Professional Builder

  • Page impressions on probuildermag.co.uk increased by 300% last week.

So what does this mean for marketers?

We all recognise these are unprecedented times for clients, publishers and agencies alike. Rather than pausing all comms, now is the time to re-focus your fire on delivering your brand message in the places you know your customers and potential customers are congregating – and in ever-increasing numbers.

If you’re a publisher, a regular reader or visitor to these key media outlets, I'd be interested to hear your own thoughts and experience. I’ll then round this up on a weekly basis, charting the use of comms through the crisis.

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