The channel consumption habits of consumers

Communicators who put a great deal of effort into perfecting every aspect of their communications and targeting, often don’t consider the message the medium itself conveys – a preconception (the medium’s DNA) - which gives the recipient an instant opinion of the sender.

Research agency fast.MAP investigated the media preconceptions of 3,000 adults to identify the personality and profile of each and discover how people were most likely to respond to messages delivered using them. In partnership with the Institute of Fundraising, it launched a new annual tracking study named the Media DNA Report.

Some results were as expected. For example, although social media has a slightly above-average 101 (100 = average) level of engagement among all groups, this is age-sensitive dropping among over 55s to an index of 62 – a third below average.

Thus communicators who wish to reach older groups would be wise to include media such as email (preferred communication channel across all ages and genders, with an overall engagement Index of 196) and direct mail, index of 131 overall, rising to 163 among over-55s.

Unsurprisingly, social media scores highly for sharing, index 120, because a message can be shared with thousands of people at the touch of a button. But it is not the best channel for a communicator who wants their message to be kept for later reference, because its score is a quarter below average.

Key findings

Women are more likely than men to hold onto an email (Retainable Index; Females, 212 vs. Males, 116)

Men and 18 to 34 year olds engage most with SMS (Engagement Index: Males, 70. Engagement Index: 18-34, 85)

Fundraisers’ significantly underestimate direct mail's appeal among 18-34 year olds (Engagement Index: Estimated 57 vs. 118 Actual)

Low-donation givers score social media highest for convenience (Convenient Index: Low Donors, 137)

DRTV is universally regarded as authoritative (Authoritative Index: Overall, 137) and trustworthy (Trustworthy Index: Overall, 132)

Direct mail scores highly as trustworthy and among the over-55s

SMS indexes highly for being personal and welcoming

Email scores exceedingly highly as people’s preferred contact route

Street and door-to-door fundraising’s strengths are convenience and ease of response

Social media over-indexes among the under 34s and for sharing (see infographic below)

DRTV scores exceedingly highly as being memorable, attention-grabbing and for its appearance


42 questions were submitted into a fast.MAP online self-completion survey broadcast during February and March 2015. The consumer panel comprised of 2,992 adults recruited from the 30,000 fast.MAP wholly-owned, closed panel whose profile echoes that of the UK’s population profile in age and gender.

The fast.MAP Fundraising-media DNA Report can be downloaded here:

Written by David Cole, MD of fast.MAP