Nearly half of content consumption in the U.S. happens simultaneously to other device use, marketing research agency Millward Brown found in its 2014 AdReaction report highlighting how audiences react to ads across devices.
The report details how consumers consume content on each screen, as well as simultaneously across screens. In the United States, the agency found 41% of use is simultaneous while 59% is on one device at a time.
Simultaneous use helps explain why, while users spend on average five hours per day consuming media on screens, they consume more than seven hours of screen-based media daily, according to the report.
Presenting an added challenge to advertisers across screens is the report’s findings that 45% of simultaneous use has audiences looking at related content (meshing) while 55% of use is viewing unrelated content (stacking). Meshing may be looking up a batter’s statistics on a smartphone while watching baseball on TV; stacking could be shopping online while watching the nightly news.
Joline McGoldrick, director of research at Millward Brown, said the numbers mean advertisers need to leverage the effectiveness of TV for mobile campaigns.
“Audiences are much more likely to want to interact with content than brands,” she said, citing Pepsi’s "Get Hyped for Halftime" campaign leading up to the Super Bowl. The mobile ads led users to branded pregame content in the lead up to the Pepsi-sponsored halftime show.
Outside North America and Europe, mobile usage and receptiveness to ads tended to be much higher. In India, for example, the TV/mobile usage split was 96 minutes to 162 minutes, with favorability to mobile ads at 27%.
McGoldtrick said the higher favorability for mobile outside the United States and Europe can be explained by fewer screen choices and higher usage. “They’re using [smartphones] for everything. ... It’s their primary communication, their primary entertainment,” she said. “Because they’re more reliant on it, they’re also more tolerant to what comes across the screen.”
In the United States, she added, “we have multiple choices of screens we can interact with daily, so our tolerance [to mobile ads] is also lower because of that."