Social networking, mobile, online, TV, tablets – all ways of interaction but also of distraction, and this might offer brands several promotional opportunities as the new “Time Spent with Media: Consumer Behavior in the Age of Multitasking” report points out.
This multitasking characteristic of the world and consumers today translates into receiving many streams of messages simultaneously and into divided attention of the audience.
And this is the catch and final challenge: for marketers to come at the consumer from multiple angles at the same moment. But the idea is not the more the better. Offering relevant content and information on different channels at the same time is the way to be successful. Marketers should attract consumers by providing useful and interesting information, not by annoying them with irrelevant messages everywhere.
Consumer’s multitasking doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is involved in competing activities. As Edward Boches, longtime creative director at the Mullen ad agency and now its chief innovation officer says, “I may be using my iPhone or my iPad to GPS a location that’s in a TV show. Or I might be watching something and there might be a historical reference, and I’ll quickly just Google something. It’s not that I’m trying to do two or three different things at the same time. It might be that I’m using one device to augment the experience of another.”
A survey by Nielsen shows that this is true for 19% of smartphone and tablet owners who said they are using their devices to find out more data connected with a commercial.
So yes, the audience’s attention is divided in between different media content providers, traditional or new, and this multitasking is not always a good thing, but marketers can counteract.
In fact, it is not very different than the “old” strategy that said that if you want to be sure your ad commercial is seen at a given moment, then when you establish the media-buying plan, you make sure you buy the same ad space – meaning the same time (minute, second) – in all the relevant TV channels. It costs – but for a first transmission of a TV spot, it could do the trick: almost whatever you’d watch, you’d see the commercial, and even if you are zapping, you still see the commercial as a movie, continuously. Now, in this multitasking era, the idea is not to offer identical content, but relevant bits of information that are tailored to the media used.