By Deborah Wroe

Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2016 has found that one in three adult internet users (34%), equivalent to 15 million people in the UK, has sought a period of time offline, with one in ten (11%) doing so in the last week alone. Some people are seeking Wi-Fi free holiday spots, some are taking the odd day off here and there and blimey, some are reporting they are actually talking to friends and family.

Remarkably people also reported a lack of ‘netiquette’ from strangers who can’t seem to put their devices down. A quarter of UK adults (25%) complained that someone bumped into them in the street at least once a week because they were too busy looking at their phone and one in five users (22%) admitted being late for a meeting with friends or family. I can honestly say I’ve had a friend turn up late as she was “arguing with strangers on Facebook” – her words.

FOMO (fear of missing out) is often cited as a reason for being an online addict. “But I won’t know which celeb was paddling naked on his hols” we hear them cry or “how will I cope if I don’t know how many of friends had Pornstar Martinis last night?” and indeed according to the study 16% experienced a ‘fear of missing out’ (‘FOMO’) while on the web wagon, 15% felt lost and 14% ‘cut-off’.

So what does this mean for marketers? Well, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If significant numbers are digitally detoxing and you only market digitally or even more niche, only on Facebook or only on Twitter then you might be missing out.

I recently saw a punter ‘complaining’ on a comedian’s Facebook page that he hadn’t known about an upcoming gig. “Didn’t need to advertise mate it sold out from my mailing list” was the concise retort. How refreshing in this day and age eh, that a good old fashioned mailing list made for a sell out gig. Now the mailing list will have been email I’m sure so anyone having a full on digital detox would have missed that too but I’d argue that for most people a digital detox would mean less time on Twitter and Facebook scrolling (or arguing) but emails might still be read.

Another friend of mine once assumed that because she’d posted something to Facebook I’d seen it. I was quite genuinely surprised that she thought that meant it had registered with me. But it struck me that businesses might think the same? Even though as a page owner you do now get a stat on the number of people that have seen a post. You can’t assume customers will see all your posts or all your tweets.

Marketing is about testing and refining and being where your customers are. If more of them are taking digital detoxes then you need to think about your marketing activity and spend and adjust your behaviour to their behaviour.

The Ofcom report can be found at http://media.ofcom.org.uk/news/2016/cmr-uk-2016/