Engineers like receiving content by email — they rank it third behind search and digital publications. But their email habits don’t necessarily align with this preference, judging by How Engineers Find Information 2019, a study by engineering.com.
Only 9% read every email sent to them, and a mere 19% open most emails and scan the entire message.
But 49% delete most emails automatically, and 45% only read subject lines. Another 23% open most emails and scan the top item. The study notes that email open rates are declining.
Yet in a seeming contradiction, 96% say they will at least will consider an email sent to them. And 51% will at least open every email that comes in. But nobody is getting a 51% open rate, the study wryly notes.
Those engineers are probably referring to "the emails they actually see — that promised land of the primary inbox and not Google’s 'Updates' tab or Microsoft’s 'Other'," it continues.
Engineering.com surveyed 1540 engineering professionals.
It found that 84% of all content consumed by engineers is digital, and that it is increasingly accessed via mobile devices. Mobile use rose from 53% in 2016 to 61% in 2017 and 75% in 2018. And the number is higher — 90% — for people age 25 and under, and 84% for those in the 26-35 category.
However, only 51% of those ages 56 and up use mobile devices to view content.
Whatever the medium, engineers spend a good part of their work week absorbing content.
In 2018, they spent 10.3 hours per week consuming content, up from 8.3 hours in 2017. Those with final buying authority spent 12.2 hours absorbing content, compared with 11 hours for those who are part of a decision-making team.
In addition, people who conduct research and analysis and make recommendations spend 10.7 hours consuming content, while those with no input spend 7.9 hours.
Digital publications are the primary content source, with 74% of those surveyed having turned to them within a 30-day period. In contrast, 49% participated in online training in that time and 47% visited vendor websites.
In a positive finding for paid-content sponsors, over half view such material favorably.
For instance, 42% will read sponsored content with the same level of skepticism they apply to other media. And 13% feel that sponsored stories provide good information because the vendors have ensured that they are accurate.
Another 37% read them with an extra dose of skepticism and 9% don’t read them because they are likely to be biased.
Still, 35% of the engineers surveyed would request a proposal based on thought leadership content, proving “proving a direct link between content marketing and pipeline,” the study states.