Media Multi-Tasking: Can it Benefit Your Brand ?

July 12, 2010

How often have you watched TV while using your laptop? Have you ever used your PC while keeping an eye on the TV in the same room? If you’ve done either, you’re like an increasing number of consumers who are multi-tasking in the new media world.

Multi-Tasking Across TV & On-Line Media

In many previous posts, I’ve talked about how cross-platform media exposure works. More specifically, it’s becoming increasingly clear that TV plus On-Line exposure is more impactful than either individually. And the same “1+1=3” phenom is almost certainly true across other media combinations.

What’s next in cross-media understanding? One potential area is “simultaneous exposure,” or exposing consumers to two different media at the same time–like working on your laptop while you watch the latest episode of Two and a Half Men. In theory, this should have an even larger impact than the same message in multiple media platforms over time.

What We Know About Simultaneous Media Usage

With the advent of single source viewing measurement, the clouds are clearing and we now have a much better understanding of how consumers are using media across the 3 screens. And the reality sure isn’t “cord-cutting. ” From this viewing data, we know that:

  • ~40% of HH’s watch both TV and Internet at the same time at least once a month
  • Simultaneous viewing is highest among the oldest groups—35-49 year olds and 50+
  • Simultaneous viewership of TV and internet grew 25 minutes per week year over year

No Signs of Cord-Cutting: Simultaneous Viewership Grows

So, we increasingly see the convergence of TV and Web viewing–although there isn’t yet much evidence of people switching off their cable or satellite connections to switch on to web based TV. However, the viewing experience and TV/Web overlap is quite different depending on your starting point. For example:

  • Among TV viewers, 4% of people are also on their PC’s at any given time
  • 40% of Internet viewing is done while people are also watching TV

This means that there is a lot more clutter around when people are on their PC’s than when they are watching TV. It also means that when you advertise on-line, there’s a pretty good chance that your consumers are also watching TV. The question then, is this – can you take advantage of this dual TV/Web usage?

On-Line Advertising: Breaking Thru Ad Clutter

What TV and Web Content Are Consumers Watching Simultaneously?

An obvious thought here is that consumers are likely consuming like content across the screens at the same time. That is, if I’m watching American Idol on TV, then I’m probably also consuming American Idol content on-line—at the same time. This would certainly present unique opportunities for advertisers to leverage common cross-platform content and perhaps achieve even greater synergy across the mediums. So, what are people watching at the same time?



The answer, interestingly, is not what you might think. The reality is that consumer viewing behavior isn’t different at all due to simultaneous viewership. Said differently, consumers watch TV and On-Line in the same way–whether they are watching simultaneously or not. So, if I’m watching American Idol on TV, I’m most likely to be doing the same things I would normally do on-line—like checking e-mail, perusing Facebook, or watching YouTube videos—versus viewing American Idol related content on-line.

What Does This Mean for Marketers ?

Simultaneous cross-platform TV and Web viewership is increasing. A significant amount of on-line PC content is consumed with the traditional TV on at the same time. The mediums are becoming increasingly intertwined—but they are not producing parallel content consumption.

This means the following:

1. Advertising break-thru is more important than ever — Brands need to focus more than ever on outstanding creative that cuts thru the increasingly cluttered world of media. Consumers are more distracted than ever with media multi-tasking. Because of this, brands need to understand how engaged consumers are with programming; consumer attentiveness to programming, and the ads in those programs, is more important than ever.

2. There are more opportunities to drive simultaneous messaging — It’s true that consumers aren’t generally consuming common content as they use TV and the Web simultaneously. However, there’s still an interesting opportunity for brands to leverage simultaneous media usage across platforms. Think about the traditional TV mujlti-network “roadblock” applied across both TV and Web.

3. Digital creative needs to link more closely to its TV counterpart. The fact that 40% of PC based web content consumption is done with the TV on means that brands need to work harder to have their digital creative connect to and work in tandem with their TV advertising.

Consumer Insights to Media Insights

In my days as a Brand Manager, we worshipped at the alter of the great “consumer insight.” These insights were almost always about how, why and where consumers used, thought and felt about their brands.

Sitting here, working on this post on my laptop–and watching the TV out of the corner of my eye, it seems clear that in the future, a new kind of consumer insight will become increasingly important–media insights. And within the world of media insights, media multi-tasking is one of the more interesting areas to watch.

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Guest Post: The Future of Media Research

May 17, 2010

This post is part of a continuing series of guest posts. Louise Ainsworth, Managing Director, EMEA, The Nielsen Company, looks at four scenarios for the future of media research.

The media industry has been subject to massive disruptive influences in the last ten years and they seem set to continue. Any attempt to predict the future of the media and advertising ecosystem or the future of the research industry that supports it is likely to fail.

Media Disruption — How To Measure in the New World

However, we can think about the underlying forces and influences at play and what are the likely outcomes of each, leading to scenarios which help us frame decision-making. Some possible future scenarios include:

1. New Media, New Metrics

Technology and platforms are evolving and will continue to evolve to allow audiences to extend media consumption throughout their day and find the best available screen. New kinds of research are needed to understand audience behaviour, attitudes and response in this new world.

In some cases, these new approaches require new scientific understanding, such as neuroscience, or rely on the development of measurement technology in line with new platforms as usage extends to 2, 3 or even 4 screens. In other cases, these new metrics reflect different and innovative applications of well established academic thinking or traditional research, such as behavioural economics, currently a hot topic in the UK.

Social media has also fundamentally changed the way that audiences communicate with each other and the way that brands can reach out to them.

Recent analysis by The Nielsen Company shows how viral media can inflate not only the reach of a campaign, but also the impact. Audiences trust recommendations from a friend more than any media communication. A recent study conducted jointly by Nielsen and Facebook showed how ‘friends’ becoming fans of a brand provides both organic reach and also significant shifts in brand awareness and consideration.

Difference between control group and exposed

A recent review provided another illustration of how new metrics are needed to grasp the meaning of how new media impacts campaigns around the Super Bowl. In this review, Nielsen developed a blended media score to evaluate the performance of campaigns across paid and earned media, including audience response and viral impact. The chart below shows how some advertisers were better than others at ‘earning media’.

Earned Media

2. Less is More

An alternate view is that the proliferation of platforms and metrics only serve to confuse and make it harder for marketers and agencies to make allocation decisions. Whilst in some cases allocation and targeting can increasingly be automated, major advertisers are looking for simple approaches and metrics that can be applied consistently when they are comparing across platforms.

The demand for, and success of, UKOM illustrate this – the reality is that to understand and evaluate the internet in comparison with other media, advertisers required that an internet planning currency was established. This has now been adopted by more than 30 publishers and more than 30 of the UK’s leading agencies. UKOM is providing the UK online media industry with an opportunity to finally engage with the IPA TouchPoints survey and provide a valuable source of consistent evaluation.

In several examples, clients also seek to find consistent metrics across multiple markets and all media. They do desire a GRP that compares across 4 screens and across all markets. The following article, Integrated Measurement and the Pathway to Profitability, looks at one way of evaluating a cross-media GRP.

3. Response Data Complements Audience Ratings Data

One opportunity to unify advertising research across platforms is to focus on the impact on audience response, advertising recall, changes in behaviour and ultimately revenues.

Advertising is increasingly targeted and evaluated on the basis of which media contexts and creatives have been most successful in driving response metrics including propensity to buy. Services such as Nielsen IAG offer clients the opportunity to compare performance of TV advertising with online advertising.

TV vs online advertising

The more granular the data, the more meaningful the evaluation, and this kind of evaluation, particularly on offline purchase, will rely on highly granular data in media and purchase behaviour. This type of analysis will help us better understand how & where the ‘new media ecology’ will eventually settle out to and how we should frame future resource allocation.

4. Privacy Prevails

The last scenario, and the one which offers the least opportunity, is the ongoing threat of increasingly stringent privacy legislation. This presents a more sobering prospect for the industry of increased restrictions on the flexibility of publishers, networks and also researchers to monitor and respond to the behaviour of the audience with increasingly targeted and relevant offerings.

Advertisers and publishers, as well as researchers, may lose out on the opportunity to generate more value for the industry by improving the efficiency of advertising. Providing consumers with a clear and valuable exchange (for instance, more relevant, salient advertising communication) for their disclosure will be a critical requirement for the industry.

The call to action for the media research industry here is to ensure that we take this issue seriously and self police effectively. Privacy remains paramount and the research industry must lead the field in ensuring we maintain high levels of security and anonymity in personal data handling.

Of course, it’s likely that elements of all of these trends will be evident in future market spaces. All provide a different set of challenges and opportunities for media, advertisers and researchers alike. One thing is certain, those that succeed in this future will be those that frame their decision-making through an awareness and understanding of these contrasting forces and influences at play.

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