Juggling Act: Impact of TV Viewing Simultaneous to Digital Usage

We all do it.  We’re watching something on TV with our smartphone or tablet in hand. Call it dual-tasking or simultaneous usage: 45% of consumers watch TV while using digital devices “very often” or “always.” Only 12% “never” use both at the same time.

It’s just not about dual-tasking, consumers are using digital platforms in tandem with TV to augment their overall experience. With the internet and social platforms readily available to consumers, many digital actions are related to the content that’s being viewed.  For instance, following a show’s hashtag on Twitter while viewing on TV is a popular dual-tasking activity. Or while watching a movie, a question surfaces, so off to IMDB.com to look for the answer. 35% of viewers have even searched and/or shopped for the products and services advertised.

But what happens to retention while dual-tasking? Results from various studies detail that this varies widely depending on content type (e.g., news vs. entertainment vs. sports, etc.), demographics (especially age), time of viewing, etc. The effects of relevant (i.e., looking up information on their device related to the TV content being viewed) vs. irrelevant (i.e., looking up information unrelated).

For the most part, simultaneous usage of TV viewing with a digital device will generate some lower recall and comprehension of content (and of advertising), but on a positive note, the viewer is more engaged (taking an action) with the content. So does increased engagement balance out lower recall? If you’re advertising on TV, you could do what we do for clients and adjust your GRP levels (based on a formula we use to compensate for recall loss) accordingly. But in our opinion, engagement wins here! Taking an action from tweeting about content, to making an online purchase is a good thing. Your thoughts?

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Posted in Advertising Attention, TV

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