New Research on Adult Media Consumption Habits and What it Means for Advertisers

By Beth Hurrle  | 

New data released by eMarketer reveal that US adults spend more than 12 hours every day consuming media. While this statistic is fascinating in its own right, it’s also of particular interest to advertisers, who can use additional details from eMarketer’s figures to draw conclusions about their own ad spending plans. Here are three insights from eMarketer’s media consumption numbers.

TV still rules
Within the 12 hours spent consuming media each day, eMarketer notes that adults spend nearly four hours with traditional television. While this number is down by seven minutes from 2016, it reinforces the continued importance of TV campaigns in the advertiser arsenal. Advertisers seem to agree: nearly all the major TV networks reported a strong upfront season this year, and a growing range of innovations like programmatic and addressable TV are bringing many of the benefits of digital campaigns to TV advertising.

Multitasking has gone mainstream
Another interesting tidbit from eMarketer’s research is that the reported time spent figures measure time spent with each type of media, whether consumed in isolation or simultaneously with another media. For example, if a consumer is active on their phone while also watching TV, these activities are measured separately. One of the biggest reasons for the growth of simultaneous media consumption is mobile devices. eMarketer notes that US adults will spend more than three hours per day using their phones for activities unrelated to phone calls — like browsing social media, watching videos or playing games. For advertisers, this multi-tasking mobile behavior suggests an opportunity to experiment with more “second-screen” campaigns that optimize for multiple devices. Twitter, for example, has built a big business around such second-screen advertising.

Ad creative needs to scale
Related to the point about multi-tasking above, consumers’ media consumption habits are continually in flux. While lots of time may be spent today watching traditional TV, tomorrow that attention might shift to video watched on a laptop or a mobile device. In fact, rather than thinking about the viewing habits for each of these devices as siloed from one another, advertisers need to think about how these activities overlap. It’s also important for advertisers to consider using ad creative that is easily shifted between different mediums with minimal production effort. A great example of this philosophy in action is a 2017 campaign by Acura which incorporates vertical video. The car-maker designed a TV campaign with a row of three side-by-side vertical videos, each of which on its own could easily be used in mobile campaigns as well. This type of flexible creative is not only eye-catching to viewers, it’s also more cost-effective to produce.

Consumers are spending more time than ever with their favorite media, whether that’s TV, mobile, video, or beyond. This rising consumption is both a challenge and an opportunity for advertisers, who must constantly re-evaluate and re-allocate their spending mix to meet consumers’ changing habits. But thanks to great insights and savvy ad spending strategies, advertisers already have the tools to position their next campaign for success.

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