Maximizing Ad Campaigns for a Multitasking World

By John Springer  | 

The reality of today’s fragmented, multi-platform and multi-device, media environment is that sometimes advertisers don’t have consumers’ full attention. One recent study by mobile company Ericsson found that nearly one-third of consumers now browse the Internet related to content they are watching on TV. Another study by Deloitte claimed the number of multitasking consumers may even be as high as 90%. That’s a lot of distraction. What strategies can advertisers use to ensure their ads get seen in this environment?

Retargeting and Cross-Device Campaigns Matter More
While it’s true that today’s consumers are multitasking with more devices, technology has simultaneously made it easier for advertisers to be more flexible when it comes to following consumers across devices and viewing platforms. Not only are there a growing variety of retargeting platforms available to advertisers, tools like programmatic and cross-device campaigns make it easier to keep up with consumers’ increasingly agnostic media habits. “As programmatic and cross-device advertising continue to evolve, they’ll provide marketers with better ways to reach desired audiences irrespective of device,” said eMarketer’s analyst Paul Verna in a recent article on the subject.

Use Mobile to Get Multitaskers’ Attention
Although consumers are doing more multitasking while watching TV, research suggests many of them are spending more and more of that multitasking time on smartphones. One recent Google study found that when millennial consumers watched video on smartphones, more than half said it was their sole activity. This is one reason why more publishers like ESPN are investing in more “second screen” video content within mobile apps.

The Best Solution May Be No Solution
Do advertisers need to take action to address multitasking behaviors? As strange as it sounds, some advertisers are finding there may be no need to adjust strategy at all. Take this 2015 study from the University of Illinois, which found that certain types of consumers had the same levels of ad retention when they were multitasking as when they were paying full attention. It turns out some multitasking consumers may be paying attention after all.

Multitasking may be here to stay, but as ad technology tools like programmatic and retargeting get more sophisticated, and channels like mobile video offer new advertisers options, expect to see plenty more evolution in the years to come.

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