TV Audience Only Partially Attentive To Ads

An explosion of marketers' messaging from TV, radio and online platforms doesn’t necessarily mean they receive full -- or even half of -- consumers' attention for those advertisements.

For example, of the 160 TV commercials each person is exposed to on a daily basis -- 75 minutes in total when considering the five hours a day spent watching TV content -- only 30%, or 23 minutes a day, gets “full attention” for those ads. This comes from a recent analysis from Media Dynamics, a media research consultancy.

Ed Papazian, president of Media Dynamics, says that 50% to 60% of the audience is only partially attentive when a commercial appears on the screen. Papazian says his estimates come from a number of third-party researchers, such as Simmons and MRI, as well as other studies.

Papazian tells Media Daily News: “The main point is that far from being bombarded with ads, as many seem to believe, most consumers are perfectly capable of controlling their intake of unwanted advertiser sales pitches by zapping the ads, by absenting themselves -- in the case of TV -- or by simply not paying attention.”

Papazian says the results are worse when looking at radio, online and print. With radio, consumers spend an average of 148 minutes a day consuming that content, where some 31 minutes of advertising time is run. But Media Dynamics estimates that just 20% of that advertising time is “fully attentive,” or just six minutes.

When looking at online/print, total advertising time, which comes to 41 minutes a day, just 20% is “fully attentive” -- or eight minutes a day.

Media Dynamics says the TV results do not include PBS, but radio results do include satellite and Internet radio.

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9 comments about "TV Audience Only Partially Attentive To Ads".
  1. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC , May 20, 2014 at 11:40 a.m.
    "All generalizations are dangerous, even this one." Alexandre Dumas ________________________________________ "There are many benefits to this process of listening. The first is that good listeners are created as people feel listened to. Listening is a reciprocal process - we become more attentive to others if they have attended to us." Margaret J. Wheatley ________________________________________ THE SAME IS TRUE OF ATTENTIVENESS, ITS MEASUREMENT AND ITS REPORTING. Onwards and upwards!
  2. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC , May 20, 2014 at 11:43 a.m.
    "All generalizations are dangerous, even this one." Alexandre Dumas "There are many benefits to this process of listening. The first is that good listeners are created as people feel listened to. Listening is a reciprocal process - we become more attentive to others if they have attended to us." Margaret J. Wheatley THE SAME IS TRUE OF ATTENTIVENESS, ITS MEASUREMENT AND ITS REPORTING. Onwards and upwards!
  3. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct , May 20, 2014 at 4:48 p.m.
    Agree with Nicholas. Also, 30% is actually quite a lot. Think about how many digital ads we don't pay attention to. Think about how many magazine ads we skip. And OOH advertising? As one who resents the increasing level of chaotic noise advertisers are imposing on my life outside of my home, I aggressively ignore 100%. If there's the merest indication of the shape of a logo - I avert my eyes just to avoid the pain of visual noise.
  4. Anni Paul from BoscoSystems , May 20, 2014 at 5:51 p.m.
    Another reason why ads on the small screen matter more than those on the flatscreen in our living rooms. Look at the gobs of cash Google, Airpush and other mobile ad savvy companies are making because they understand this. Advertisers will eventually catch on and direct more $4 toward mobile.
  5. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc , May 20, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
    Taking the case of TV, we should remember that there are thousands of commercial recall studies conducted each year with claimed telecast viewers as their base. Most of these use some form of reminding or prompts to stimulate the respondent's memory. On average, and bearing in mind variations in methodologies, the normative recall finding ranges between 30-45%. Of course some ads fare much better while others fall well below the norms and we do not know for certain whether some of the people who claim to have seen a commercial are doing so in error. However, we feel that our full attention estimate, is a fair one. We have looked at similar data for the other media in making our estimates all of which are summarized in our annuals "TV Dimensions 2014" and "The Media Book". As for Nick's observation that generalizations are dangerous, that would be a fair point if we were claiming that all commercials functioned in exactly the average manner as to exposure, recall and impact....but we didn't say that, did we?
  6. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct , May 21, 2014 at 2:15 p.m.
    Thanks, Ed. And Anni - gobs of cash to the media company are not an indicator of relative ad effectiveness. There's plenty of evidence that as a % of consumer mind-share, each individual paid search ads are far less impactful than most other media options.
  7. Grant Bergman from SurveyConcierge.com • GrantBergman.com , May 21, 2014 at 3:03 p.m.
    TV, print and radio have long been judged based on what some today think of as quaint concepts like "day after recall," both aided and unaided and including both brand registration and detailed recall. Thirty percent full attention seems like huge vindication of TV ads for the enduring value of this format. That's 30% attention for something that is in fact an intrusion on what we meant to be doing by turning the TV on. There is really no comparison to online ads. For the most part we're talking about mass marketing vs. direct marketing. While there is overlap, the purposes and economics of each – not to mention consumer response behavior – are generally very different.
  8. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc , May 21, 2014 at 6:39 p.m.
    Just to be clear, we didn't use the typical TV ad recall level as the sole basis for our estimate that 30% of the "audience" is fully attentive when a commercial is on their screen. It's just one more piece of evidence to look at. A number of somewhat dated observational studies---using cameras, videotape and secret "spying" by family members----revealed "eyes-on"in the 50-55% range when TV commercials aired---- which was roughly 10-15% lower than when program content was on. We assume that the current level of eyes-on viewing, during commercials is probably a lot lower than the old studies revealed----but certainly not as low as some might think for a variety of reasons. For one thing, the agencies have learned how to make their TV ads more attention-getting ----and entertaining---- precisely because of concerns about shorter attention spans, heightened ad/promotional clutter and more ways to easily "zap" commercials. We have also done a lot of work in the ad receptivity area and this research shows very clearly that a surprisingly large number of people---especially in the mid- to lower areas of the socioeconomic spectrum--- are receptive to TV ads and watch them to learn about new products or ways to use old ones, as well as for their entertainment and general information values. Another indicator is the surprisingly low incidence of dial switching avoidance when commercials are on. Three decades ago, when there was much less ad/promotional clutter per break---and fewer channels---- approximately 2-3% of the audience switched channels during an average 30 second TV ad. Now, with much more ad clutter and many more channels to sample, the average dial switching figure has risen to about 4-5%. Of course, that's a huge increase, percentage-wise, but in an absolute sense, shouldn't it be far higher----if almost every viewer pain no attention to TV commercials?
  9. Martin Thomas from Always On Communications , May 22, 2014 at 2:15 a.m.
    I'm actually mystified why the headline of the article was written the way it was. Why call out the HIGHEST SCORING medium, from the study itself (which notes that "...the results are worse when looking at radio, online and print") rather than leading with "Online Audiences Are Only Partially Attentive To Ads" or even better, how about "TV Audiences More Attentive To Ads Than For Other Media Types." To me it just seems like the continued persecution of so-called "traditional" media in the trades. TV did better than all other media types, yet the typical executive who sees this headline of the article won't read the actual article content and will walk away thinking, "TV advertising doesn't work."