The At-Work Daypart

As many of you know by now, media has traditionally been segmented into many different kinds of categories. One of those categories is temporal, or segmented by time. This is called the “daypart,” and folks in the online industry have finally started looking at their medium in this kind of way. The greatest impetus for doing so comes as a result of a Media Consumption Study that the Online Publisher’s Association (OPA) released this past February in partnership with Millward Brown Intelliquest.

It has taken awhile, but the findings of this study are finally making their way into agency presentations as arguments for viewing online media in a way analogous to the offline advertising world.

The most compelling bit of data to be found in this report is that the at-work Internet user spends more time with the Internet than he does with any other media. According to the study, the share of total minutes of media consumed using the Internet is 34% among the at-work audience. That means that 34 of every 100 minutes of media consumed belong to the Internet. That is more than any other medium (television accounts for 30%).



What this implies is that if you want to reach working people, the Internet is likely the best way of doing so and 9-5 is likely the best time.

Given this information, what surprises me is that every major advertiser with product to sell isn’t looking at this data and salivating all over the conference room table.

Think about it.

If you’ve got stuff to sell, wouldn’t you want to talk to folks who have jobs? I mean, doesn’t it stand to reason that people WITH money are more desirable than those WITHOUT money?

You see, as it turns out, people with jobs are usually exchanging their time and services for some kind of compensation. That compensation typically takes the form of ‘money.’ That money can in turn be exchanged for other goods and services. Those goods and services are typically what companies have to advertise.

The at-work audience has always been one of the hardest to reach. To date, media most often used to speak to an at-work audience are morning newspapers, outdoor, and radio. Newspapers are used because that is what working folk read on the trains or buses they ride to their places of employ; outdoor -- because it can be placed (more or less) strategically on commuter routes or around people's places of employ; and radio -- because, at least in the days of old, it was often piped into places of employ. Classical, jazz, or the sounds of Kenny G and Michael Bolton –- music that, if played loudly enough to fight its way from the background to the foreground, would make any listener sitting at his or her desk suddenly feel like they were in a dentist’s chair. Is anyone really paying attention to this stuff?

But as much as these media have ‘endurance’ – the messages stay on the page or on the billboard, or repeat on the air – they are neither engaging enough nor truly present in one’s consciousness. They are all incidental and background.

With online, though, I’ve got you sitting right in front of my message. Sure, you can ignore it, but the attention level an individual has when they encounter the ad is equal only to that of those in an audience waiting for a movie to start (by the way, I HATE paying $10 to see a movie in Manhattan and still having to sit through ads for whatever soft drink company has the concession stand contract).

Sure, much can be made about the quickness with which one flashes by web pages, ads no more than forgettable graphics on a page barely looked at. But when you are on the web actually using it for something, or reading something there, you are as intent and focused as if you were driving in heavy fog.

You aren’t going to get huge click-through rates and unprecedented online purchasing, but you are going to get an audience that can’t help but notice you.

The at-work audience might very well be one of the most attentive audiences to be found, and they can be spoken to in the most clutter-free environment that exists. Competition for attention is shared only with the tasks at hand or the demands of the boss.

Oh, and let’s not forget that they have a few bucks, which is helpful if you are a company with something to sell.

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