Guest post by Cheryl Morgan
With the rapid uptake of smart phones, tablets & netbooks many brands were initially rubbing their hands together with glee at the increased opportunities for consumers to interact with them online, particularly off the back of seeing their TV advertisements. However, then came the inevitable questions about whether consumers who were using another device whilst watching TV were actually engaged with the TV content, particularly the adverts. It’s all very well having a target consumer in front of your advert with the ability to immediately go online to research, and hopefully purchase/subscribe to your products, but if they’re not paying attention to your advert then it’s completely wasted.
This topic of multi-screening (watching TV whilst simultaneously using an internet enabled device) and the effects it has on TV engagement are the theme of the latest research by Thinkbox, which they presented at a seminar in London on the 28th June 2012.
The first comment to make is how impressingly in-depth and varied the research study was. Working with COG Research it combined both qualitative and quantitative techniques including an online survey of 2000 people, filming in 23 homes for a week, self reporting and laboratory tests. For anyone doubting whether the presence of video cameras in your front room would skew your natural behaviour, the candid footage that Thinkbox picked up would suggest otherwise (with my personal favourite being the lady who checked the level of stubble on her legs when an advert came on for Gillette Venus razors!)
The findings were extremely interesting with some of the key outtakes being:
- 86% of people in the UK (with access to TV & the internet) have ever multi-screened with 34% of the sample reporting regular multi-screening
- Multi-screening increases TV viewing & keeps viewers present during the ad breaks
- There was no real difference in levels of ad recognition between those multi-screening and those only watching TV – an additional screen isn’t a distraction
- The ability to do something else on a second screen is actually increasing the number of people coming together in front of the TV as previously if someone wasn’t interested in the programme on TV they’d go elsewhere to do another activity
- Multi-screening has increased people talking about TV shows and ads whether via text, social media or messenger – in turn encouraging people to want to watch live TV rather than catch up or recorded, which is good news for advertisers
In further proof that multi-screening isn’t leading to ignorance of TV advertisements the research used eye tracking technology which recorded attention returning to the TV from other screens whenever an advert changed. This was supported by psychological studies into prospective memory which explores how we have such inquiring minds, constantly looking for new information, that we can share our attention successfully across multiple sources.
Another aspect of the research, which they’re looking to develop further, is the identification of 6 different groups in terms of multi-screening behaviour. The intention is to produce a planning tool for advertisers based on these groups, which will certainly be interesting to see.
An area not explored in-depth during the seminar, and perhaps a step too far for this research, is investigation into the volume of people who look up a brand online on seeing their TV advert and whether this is an immediate or delayed reaction. It would also be interesting to see how this compares to online activity related to TV programmes themselves as there was footage of research participants talking about how they look up information on actors and other aspects of the programme they’re watching.
Seeing as this is a fairly new trend, this insightful research is likely to be the start of many studies, which I will certainly be interested in following.
To find out more you can take a look at Thinkbox’s press release. They’re also hoping to make the presentation available at some stage too so I’ll add a link in to that when it’s live on their site.
Cheryl Morgan is the Brand & Communications Manager of Evenbase, the global digital recruitment group which includes brands such as Jobsite, OilCareers and Jobrapido. Following a degree in Public Relations, Cheryl started as PR Executive at Jobsite in 2005 and has spent the 7 years since broadening her marketing skillset to sit in the role she does now. This includes responsibility for the planning, execution and analysis of Jobsite’s offline advertising activity with a career highlight to date being the launch of Jobsite’s new TV campaign in January 2011. Cheryl’s Twitter handle: @cherylrm