When the Internet arrived with its unbridled offering of content to search and surf, the chance that T/V (Television/Video) consumers would stop and engage with an advertiser’s message at scale was further compromised, and became further based on hope. What other buying model besides gambling and day trading rests so much on hope?
A 2014 IAB Research Analysis of Prosper Insight Data for Media Multitaskers provides some intriguing information about an important segment of today’s media consumer base.
-- Media multitaskers are those who regularly go online while watching TV.
-- Compositions are higher than general population for 18- to 34-year-olds, females, African-Americans, renters and singles.
-- Media multitaskers are much more likely than the general population to surf the internet, use social media, check email, play video games, view video/TV online and listen to online radio. They are heavy digital media users.
-- Media multitaskers report they are above-average regular watchers of online video ads (65%) and mobile video ads (50%).
-- 51% of young (18-34) adults regularly go online while watching TV, a 119 index to all adults.
-- 90% of young (18-34) adults occasionally or regularly go online while watching TV, a 110 index to all adults.
-- Media multitaskers report that they are just as likely to watch broadcast and cable TV commercials as the general population, while reporting being influenced by them at the same or greater level.
·-- When asked how often they watch an ad that a website plays before video content, 59% of media multitaskers and 51% of the general adult population reported that they watch these pre-rolls regularly or occasionally.
Because digital T/V (unlike analog) brings measurability to consumer media actions and behaviors, advertisers no longer need to overcompensate by throwing enormous numbers of ads up against the consumer wall, hoping something sticks. T/V advertisers are now drawn to and pay premiums for pre-rolls because the viewer clicks to start the ad, with measured completion rates sometimes upwards of 70%. There are also many tech and research companies now measuring time spent with video ads as a dimension of ad effectiveness (ad starts/ad completions/% completed, etc.).
So is Multitasking good or bad for video advertising?
· Plus: The overall amount of consumer time spent on ad-supported media increases with multitasking, and represents a higher proportion of online video ad viewers. Minus: Second screen media use doesn’t necessarily include ad viewing, and doesn’t explain the role or motivation of continued ad avoidance.
· Plus: Because the added media usage for video is digital, there are stronger engagement metrics available for both display and video formats. Ads can be more targeted and measured, creating efficiencies. Minus: It seems that advertisers now need to buy incrementally more media, to increase the chance that a potential ad impression is seen in a more fragmented distribution system, where half the users are multitasking.
· Plus: Multitasking viewers are no longer being “held hostage” to advertising, because they’re spending time with the content they most want. Minus: Scattered viewer attention reduces the chance of a placed video ad being seen.
· Plus: Because 18- to 34-year-olds are leading the way in media multitasking, they are still a minority (31%) of total adults, and can become the laboratory for learning and developing new approaches to ad-supported video. Minus: The time frame for movement from younger, early media adopters to mainstream is shorter and shorter in the digital age.
· Plus: Based on the research above, media multitaskers report that they are seeing ads and are influenced by them. Minus: Self-reported behavior is not necessarily real behavior -- how does one really measure how one is being influenced? More behavior-based measurement is needed to truly understand what is gained and lost from multitasking.
I hope to see industry leaders pursue more behavioral, multiplatform research on the more granular effects of media multitasking, so advertisers can better understand how to approach engagement with these elusive media lovers and their fast-shifting attention spans.