Thanks to the mass-market adoption of digital devices and a fragmenting media landscape, the viewing habits of the likely American voter are harder to predict than ever before. Now, the majority – more than 50% of us, in fact – fall into a category that presents a significant challenge to advertisers used to traditional media buying plans.
We’ve presented studies on the “Off the Grid” patterns of media consumption – marked by a near-total avoidance of live television, except sports – and there will always be a segment of the population still tuning in to live television for their media and video, though that segment is shrinking. Reaching these two groups is fairly straightforward; television ad buys reach traditional TV viewers, and likely voters who have gone “Off the Grid” can be reached with digital strategies in lieu of traditional media buys.
But the majority of us fall into a third category, “Screen Agnostic.” These are likely voters who combine live television with other methods of consuming media: time-shifting television with recording devices, for example, or streaming content on their computer, tablet or smartphone. Strip away everything else, and here’s the result: In 2014, advertisers can't be certain what more than 50% of likely American voters will be watching.
“Screen Agnostics” can’t be reached with one easy solution. It takes a combination of digital and traditional techniques to ensure
coverage between live television and digital media providers. Often in politics, however, many still prioritize television spending at the expense of a comprehensive strategy – or any digital
strategy at all. It’s shortsighted to ignore digital tactics in building any campaign, and research into modern American viewing habits only reinforces this need.
The goal is to ensure the right messaging lands on every screen, reaching even the most elusive audiences – including “Screen Agnostics.” New microtargeting capabilities allow agencies and strategists to segment audiences and reach specific likely voters like never before.
Not only does this power decisions like reaching viewers and their devices during their weekly viewing of “Modern Family,” it helps direct targeting strategy to viewers who can’t be reached through traditional methods. Additionally, a good comprehensive strategy empowers campaigns to act on viewing data from valuable segments and further direct both traditional and digital advertising expenditures.
Modern viewers – and voters – are subjected to advertising at nearly every turn. Sharp targeting cuts through the clutter and relies on quality and relevance, not quantity, to attract attention and engage the viewer in meaningful, memorable ways.