95% of Consumers Have Mobile Devices in Hand While Watching TV

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

mobile-marketing-televisionMobile devices have become an extremely important part of everyday life for Americans and many people around the world. Most people are unlikely to be away from their mobile devices for more than an hour, and they check them constantly throughout the the day. A recent study from Facebook shows that even the time people spend with their TV screens is being shared with their mobile devices.

An in-home eye-tracking study Facebook IQ commissioned in the US revealed that 94 percent of participants kept a smartphone on hand while watching TV. This should be expected as most people would answer the phone if it rang or if they received a message at any time of the day. It’s more surprising that 6 percent of participants were away from their major means of communication because of television. It would be like someone in the 80s unplugging all the phone lines whenever MacGyver came on.

What is of more interest to business owners and marketers is the fact that the majority of these users were looking at and using their phone during the program’s time slot and for a large amount of time. According to the eye-tracking study, viewers focused on the TV screen just 53% of the time, and one of the top reasons they looked away was to use their smartphones.

The increasing use of mobile devices during prime time television has major implications for mobile and social media marketing. For starters, it means business owners and advertisers should rethink their post and advertising schedule to take advantage of these trends. If a business could have marketed their product on a commercial during a program, they can reach the same audiences for less by using social media ads targeted during that program.

This is one of the reasons why Facebook page owners should check the analytics for their page so they know the best times to reach their audience. While it makes sense for a local small business to encourage engagement during their business hours, some brand or product pages may find their audience more engaged during the ad breaks for The Walking Dead than during their work hours.

Speaking specifically of social media engagement during the ad breaks, the study showed an increase in Facebook engagement by these users during the ads. When the researchers analyzed the Facebook data of 1 million people in the US who indicated on Facebook they were viewing the premiere of a popular cable TV drama, the researchers reported that during ad breaks their usage of the platform sometimes spiked by more than 3 percent.

All of this goes to show that mobile marketing, social media marketing and traditional TV marketing are best when used together capture the attention of the audience. As much as cable providers and TV stations wish it weren’t so, people don’t just passively stare at the TV during the ad breaks. We live in an age where there is a limitless supply of content available to people for as much effort as it would take change the channel. It makes sense that people’s attention will be split between the TV and their mobile devices, especially during ad breaks.

With quality research into their target consumer, a business can plan a social media and mobile marketing campaign that catches the public attention at a time when they’re looking for a distraction from more traditional advertising. Businesses can even run video ads similar to their commercial ads during the same time period, so the audience is likely to see the ads no matter which screen they’re looking at.

For more information on social media marketing, read this article on ads coming to Facebook Messenger.


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