Corporate Eye

Tablets and Smartphones Stealing Eyes from TV Ads

Remember when the big problem for television advertisers shifted from consumers leaving the room during commercials to fast forwarding over them when they recorded the programs they watched? Next, the proliferation of DVRs made it easier than ever for people to skip commercials. Now, consumers have added another way to ignore commercials and it’s growing in popularity very quickly — simultaneously using tablet and smartphone devices while watching television.

However, all hope isn’t lost for commercials. In fact, new opportunities are being discovered to engage with consumers in new ways through television ads.

In a Nielsen study of connected device owners in the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany during the fourth quarter of 2011, it was discovered that the majority of connected device owners are watching television and using their smartphones or tablet devices at the same time. Following are some of the statistics from the study.

United States

  • 88% of tablet owners and 86% of smartphone owners use their devices while watching television at least during a 30-day period.
  • 45% of tablet owners and 41% of smartphone owners use their devices while watching television at least once every day.
  • 26% of tablet owners and 27% of smartphone owners use their devices while watching television several times a day.

United Kingdom

  • 80% of tablet owners and 78% of smartphone owners use their devices while watching television at least once during a 30-day period.
  • 41% of tablet owners and 40% of smartphone owners use their devices while watching television every day.
  • 24% of tablet owners and 24% of smartphone owners use their devices while watching television several times a day.

Germany

  • 71% of tablet owners and 65% of smartphone owners use their devices while watching television at least once during a 30-day period.
  • 28% of tablet owners and 20% of smartphone owners use their devices while watching television every day.
  • 12% of tablet owners and 9% of smartphone owners use their devices while watching television several times a day.

Italy

  • 71% of tablet owners and 66% of smartphone owners use their devices while watching television at least once during a 30-day period.
  • 29% of tablet owners and 30% of smartphone owners use their devices while watching television every day.
  • 15% of tablet owners and 13% of smartphone owners use their devices while watching television several times a day.

Survey respondents in all four countries agreed on one thing — the activity that they do the most on their tablet and smartphone devices while watching television is checking email. This is an activity that they’re likely to do both during commercials and during programs.

Here is where the data gets interesting. Consumers are using their mobile devices while watching television to not only look up information about programs but also to look up information about products advertised on television and search for deals on those products.

Brand marketers should take note of two important findings. First, consumers are looking for product-related information on their mobile devices while watching television and often commercials are catalysts to those searches. If you thought television advertising was dead — think again. It’s more important than ever to integrate your marketing efforts and include online and mobile elements, even in your television ads.

Second, tablet owners are slightly more likely to use their devices while watching television than smartphone owners. It’s worth considering how to integrate mobile elements for specific devices (e.g., tablet vs. smartphone) into your various marketing initiatives, including television ads.

Image: Veronica Belmont

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, TodayShow.com, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.
 
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