Construction Media Index – sourcing product information


The latest research from Competitive Advantage shows how construction professionals source product information. Here, Managing Director Chris Ashworth provides a glimpse into some of the consolidated findings

Just completed, the 2017 Construction Media Index (, the fifth edition of this research, provides specific findings on communication channels for construction decisionmakers working for architects, main contractors, offsite manufacturers, housebuilders and builders’ merchants.

The reports researched construction professionals to learn how they gather information to guide their purchase and design decisions. They also aim to provide insight into what specifiers and other influencers in the industry read and where they source information.

The manufacturer website is king

Manufacturers’ websites still rank top for specifiers seeking product information, particularly those sourcing information with a bias towards technical data. Overall, direct contact with construction product manufacturers ranks highly, with phone calls and meetings ranking next in line to visiting the manufacturers’ website.

It is important to note that although search engine usage has decreased, it is still popular. Could this slight decrease be in response to a greater choice of online information sources?

The Construction Media Index reports an increase in the use of YouTube, with 55% of construction respondents saying they use it as a source for product information and ideas. Pinterest also shows strong results for ideas, advice and inspiration, and to obtain product information. This move to a more visual media source is reflected in general statistics:

• Four times as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. (Animoto, 2015).

• Almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. (Google, 2016).

• Visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. (Buffer, 2014).

(Source: Hubspot)

Are social networks an effective way to market?

Our desk research shows there are more than 1.6bn social network users worldwide, with more than 64% of internet users accessing social media services online.

The leading social network, Facebook, accounts for one in every six minutes spent online and one in five minutes spent on mobile.

By 2018, the number of social network users worldwide is predicted to grow to 2.44bn, or nearly one third (32.58%) of the projected global population.

The Construction Media Index shows an increase in the use of social media by construction professionals. In 2015, only 53% accessed social networks for work; this now stands at 89%

For communicating with construction professionals, our Construction Media Index market research shows that LinkedIn is the most popular network. It is also the network choice for work, with 90% of users using it in a work capacity. Yet the average LinkedIn user spends 17 minutes per month on LinkedIn, so it has a less active user base than other networks. Twitter and Facebook both show significant increases in usage in this year’s Construction Media Index findings.

In 2015, the Construction Media Index revealed that most construction industry decisionmakers use more than one social network for work and the social media channels used vary with profession. This is still the case for 2017, yet those that are more active on social media are now the 19-35 age group, not the 36-55 age group, as was the case in 2015.

Traditional methods for sourcing construction product information

The Construction Media Index continues to highlight challenging times for trade journals. Hardcopy-only readership has dropped to just 10% in the 2017 survey. The use of product directories has remained steady at 56% in 2017, similar to the 2015 findings.

Across all decisionmakers, 42% attend one to six seminars in a year, with almost 60% attending an organised event. This, however, varies across professions according to CPD requirements.

More about the Construction Media Index research

When developing your marketing, a multi-channel approach is best. Deciding how to combine these channels to get the best results can pose a challenge for even the most adept marketer.

The Construction Media Index provides independent research into how decisionmakers in the construction process source information. It provides evidence-based guidance for your strategy, on how construction professionals use social channels, where they go to seek more in-depth product data or where they go for simple idea generation and inspiration. Each report considers key players in the construction supply chain, allowing you to tailor your communications accordingly. As well as online information sources, trade journals, product directories, exhibitions and CPD are also considered.

The Construction Media Index is published by Competitive Advantage Consultancy and sponsored by MRA, Ridgemount PR and CIB.

The 2017 Construction Media Index is available to purchase online at:


Chris Ashworth

Managing Director

Competitive Advantage

Tel: +44 (0)1252 378053

Twitter: @CompetitiveA

LinkedIn: Competitive Advantage 

Youtube: CadvantageConsult


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