Lessons from the Federal Media and Marketing Study
Federal government employees are visiting social media sites more frequently than ever before. Across the board, social media use has increased, including upticks in the use of Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. But the increases in all of these paled in comparison to the millennial darling Instagram-54% growth from 2017 to 2018! We’ll go into more on Instagram in a little bit…
Personal mobile devices have blurred the lines between one’s work and personal lives, especially on social media. Even if work devices have certain social media sites blocked, personal devices, a 24/7 companion for many, have made it so social media marketing can’t be ignored and can be a dynamic tool for marketers. According to the study, a majority of feds (62%) acknowledged having seen work-related advertising while they are visiting sites (including social media) for personal use, and of those, over half (57%) acknowledged having had clicked through at some point.
So, you may ask “How do I make sure my company’s social media content is engaging and clickable?” Social Media Today points to visualization: “Visuals are key to maximizing your social media presence, and the emergence of image-based formats like Stories has only exacerbated this.”
Now back to the noted rise in Instagram… the growth in popularity of Instagram and story functions across social media sites is driven by imagery, including infographics, and can increase your visibility and help drive click-through and readership. Don’t worry that your brand will be co-located with consumer brands and pictures of pets; the mash up of those things is what makes it more visible and appealing to today’s audience. The “work brain” and “home brain” operate together in today’s younger audience.
To help B2G marketers, Market Connections looks at resources and best practices to help our clients achieve goals for reaching their public-sector audiences.
With that in mind, we are sharing Social Media Today’s article on 2019 Social Media Optimization Guide. This guide provides the latest data on dimensions needed for all aspects of visual imagery on social media including popular sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, and will help prevent marketers from making the most common mistakes such as using incorrect sizes or resolutions that can inadvertently make posts or sites appear unpolished and unprofessional.
Market Connections’ action-based research can also support your federal marketing needs by identifying the best platforms to reach your target audience with our Federal Media & Marketing dashboard or creating primary, research-based thought leadership and marketing content (including infographics, white papers, webinars and blogs) you can use to share across social media and other market channels.
Learn how social media and other marketing tactics should fit into your overall strategy for reaching federal audiences. Watch a recording of part one of our three-part webinar series, Marketing Tactics & the Federal Environment.
Finally, we invite you to join us for our upcoming webinar: Media Habits in a Time of Change: A Federal Media & Marketing Study Webinar on Wednesday, February 13 from 2-2:30 PM EST.
In the past, we have shared some interesting insights from our Federal Media & Marketing Study. We highlighted how federal employees respond to targeted advertising across websites and social media sites visited for personal reasons. We also discussed the confidence levels they have in the news reported from different sources. But year after year, what our audience wants to know is which digital sites are feds actually visiting?
Leading the list of top federal and congressional sites is GovExec.com, with over one third (37 percent) of federal decision makers and influencers listing it as a site they visit. Rounding the top three, are FederalTimes.com (25 percent) and Politico.com (24 percent).
In addition to being first among federal and congressional sites, when compared to the top general websites including Weather.com, CNN.com and FoxNews.com, GovExec.com ranks fifth among these high-volume sites, proving this website is one marketers should definitely consider if they are trying to reach federal audiences.
While GovExec.com, ranks at the top of both federal and general digital sites across the overall audience, if you were to slice and dice the data by demographic, the list of top digital sites looks different. When focusing on defense agencies, DefenseNews.com and MilitaryTimes.com rise to the top of the list of federal and congressional digital sites visited.
While a general direction for the overall federal audience is helpful, we know federal marketers often need more detail for specific agencies, product categories or level of decision-maker. Whether you need data to launch a broad awareness campaign or a deeper dive for more detailed information to support your agency-based marketing, subscriber-level access to the Federal Media & Marketing Study data dashboard can help federal marketers track media habits based on specific demographics, including agency type, specific agency, location, job function and purchasing area, among others.
Learn more about the study and subscribe to the dashboard.
Did you miss the Federal Media & Marketing Study breakfast event? Join us for the first of our webinar series highlighting key points and insights from the study, “Marketing Tactics and the Federal Environment: A Federal Media & Marketing Study Webinar.”
As federal marketers, we sometimes forget that our audience are not just federal decision makers and influencers, but regular people who watch the same TV shows, visit the same social media sites, visit the same websites and have the same media habits as the rest of us. Feds are people too! With that in mind, the 10th annual release of the Federal Media & Marketing Study wanted to ask about their habits when it came to how they responded to advertising… and more importantly work-related advertising.
To our surprise, and the relief of many, at least six out of ten respondents had seen work-related advertisements in both websites they visit for work reasons and personal reasons, and four out of ten specifically saw work-related advertising in their personal social media – a sign that advertising targeting (or re-targeting) is viable in this market. This was further reinforced during a discussion with our excellent agency panelists at the recent study release breakfast. The blurring of the lines between work and personal lives provides a great opportunity to reach decision makers with work-related content in their personal sphere.
The big question is, “Are they clicking on this advertising?” Yes, yes and yes! Nearly six in ten have clicked on work-related ads on websites they visit for work and for personal reasons, and nearly half click through on personal social media (even when it’s not LinkedIn!).
What does this mean for our government contractor clients and those trying to reach federal audiences? In addition to federal media placement, you may want to invest in targeting and re-targeting on social media and websites feds are visiting for personal reasons.
How do you know what websites you should focus on? Where should you invest your digital advertising dollars? What websites are feds visiting most?
With three years’ worth of data on the media habits of the federal audience, the Market Connections Federal Media & Marketing Study dashboard can help marketers develop a sound advertising and marketing strategy based on solid research. Among many features of the newly updated and easy-to-use dashboard, marketers can analyze which digital websites their audience is visiting by agency, agency type, location, job function or even purchase area to help them make decisions on media buys for advertising and sponsored content.
If the federal audience is important to your business, a subscription to this dashboard will help you hone in on your federal market strategy and increase the ROI of your federal marketing investments
Variations of Confidence in News Reported by Media: A Federal Media & Marketing Study Preview
The federal workforce may be as polarized in their views of the media as the general population. Last year, the Federal Media & Marketing Study asked federal workers how they felt about “fake news.” Two-thirds said recent commentary about “fake news” had at least some impact on their perceptions of news organizations’ credibility.
This year Market Connections wanted to dig a little deeper. Thinking there might be some halo effect that the media source has on the advertisers, we wanted to understand how confident decision makers felt on the news reported from different media sources.
What we found is that decision makers felt more confident about news reported from federal publications, such as Defense News and Government Executive, compared to many general media outlets, including CNN and Fox News, which hovered near the bottom of the list. Many media outlets, including print, digital and radio, fell somewhere in between.
And to no surprise, stark significant differences in confidence were evident by agency type and political party affiliation.
What does this mean for government contractors and their agencies when it comes to advertising and other media spending?
“While reach is important, one must always consider the credibility of the source among the target audience. If they are skeptical while reading the news, they might be skeptical of those adjacent ads,” says Market Connections President, Aaron Heffron. “You have to consider balancing reach with confidence and trust. While at times, it may be worth reaching larger audiences, if you are targeting a specific audience, you may want to make other considerations.”
Join us on November 8 to learn how confident decision makers are of the news reported by different media sources, how much time they are spending with different types of media and the top print and digital publications both inside and outside the beltway, among other key data helpful to federal marketers, agencies and media outlets.
Market Connections tries to stay abreast of news and topics that can help our clients and make us better partners. We recently came across the 2018 results of The CMO Survey®, sponsored by the American Marketing Association, Deloitte and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. This biennial study gathers opinions from top marketers at US B2B and B2C for-profit companies with the goal of predicting the future of markets, tracking marketing excellence and improving the value of marketing.
Among a myriad of interesting findings, one in particular caught our attention: digital marketing expenditures are expected to increase by more than 12% over the next year, increasing the proportion of marketing budgets allocated to digital by almost 25% in the next five years.
As always, we like to see how overall marketing trends align with those in the B2G community. Many times, overall marketing or corporate trends can be leading indicators of where the government marketplace is going. However, this time government contractors aren’t following the lead of corporate America, but rather, they are in lock-step with their commercial counterparts.
Recent findings focused on the federal market from our 2018 Government Contractor Study (in partnership with Professional Services Council and Merritt Group) showed that among 200 government contractors, over half (52 percent) said digital marketing was part of their overall marketing budget and 53 percent said that they increased their digital marketing spend in 2018.
What does this show? Overall, marketers (whether B2B, B2C or B2G) are seeing the value of digital marketing. Yet, with what will likely be a glut of companies focusing on advertising in the digital space, where should you focus your marketing dollars? Where can you go for more information to make smart, strategic decisions to maximize ROI?
For those focused on the federal market, Market Connections’ Federal Media & Marketing Study can help focus their efforts. In our 10th year, this study of the federal media marketplace provides a comprehensive review of the media and buying habits of federal decision-makers across the country. It details more than 20 different job functions and maps them to individual media usage spanning print, broadcast, social, mobile and digital.
Whether you are focusing your efforts with overall civilian agencies or specifically trying to reach IT decision-makers for Department of Defense, the tool can help you make better decisions on where to place advertising based on their habits.
- Which publications are they reading most?
- What social media are they using more often?
- For those “Inside the Beltway,” which radio stations are they listening to or tv programs are they watching?
Market Connections will be unveiling results from the 2018 study on November 8, 2018 at the Valo Park Conference Center in McLean, Virginia. To register, visit www.marketconnectionsinc.com/fmms2018event/.
The CMO Survey® collects and disseminates the opinions of top marketers to predict the future of markets, track market excellence, and improve the value of marketing to companies and to society since 2008.