People are consuming more media than ever, and that media is increasingly digital. This means more opportunity for digital advertising, but also more competition for consumers’ attention spans. Where do you fit in?
Adults Spend 12+ Hours a Day with Media
According to a recent study from eMarketer, adults in the United States now consume a little more than 12 hours of media each day.
Your reaction to this might be that it’s simply not possible to spend that much time with media, and, in a manner of speaking, you’d be right. The 12-hour figure does not mean 12 hours with screens, or even 12 linear hours.
Instead, eMarketer included all major media (not only digital, but radio, print and non-digital types), and accounted for multitasking. For example, if someone spends an hour watching television, and at the same time is pretty much constantly on their smartphone, that counts as two hours of media time.
In fact, US adults still spend a little more time with non-digital media than digital media each day:
An expectation has been that digital media consumption will continue to grow at rapid rates, though eMarketer’s study (as well as a comScore report) suggests otherwise. The growth in digital media consumption has been slowing. But – it hasn’t stopped.
The average time spent with smartphones continues to increase even as adoption has spread beyond early adopters and the tech-savvy. Non-voice time in particular is gaining, with an expected 24-minute increase between 2014 and 2019 (from 2 hours 18 minutes to 2 hours 42 minutes). Even more specifically, app usage is growing as the digital landscape becomes flooded with them.
For advertisers, awareness of app popularity is important as apps become a stronger channel for advertising. At the moment, Facebook is the focus of this movement. Learn more about using Facebook to drive app installs and advertising with our post from earlier this year.
Also understand that apps are increasingly more prolific than the mobile web, especially on smartphones. Mobile web time is actually declining as app time is expected to grow 42 minutes between 2014 and 2019. However, mobile web time is increasing slightly on tablets.
More Media, and Shortening Attention Spans
With all of this time spent consuming various sorts of media, and on little screens with multiple apps, people wonder how attention spans might be affected.
The bottom line is that they’re shorter. According to a study from Microsoft, since about the year 2000, we’ve shaved a few seconds from our attention spans, and have a harder time staying in one digital place for any length of time.
Rather than being immediately discouraged, advertisers should know that Microsoft went on to explain that brain plasticity allows the human brain to adapt to these new landscapes, and weed though multiple stimuli to see what’s relevant and important.
So, whether we’re talking traditional or digital media, it’s vital for advertisers to be what’s relevant and important. Digital advertisers face the uphill battle of increasing competition from not only shorter attention spans, but also the growing pool of sites, apps and social media platforms.
Advertising Tips for the Competitive Digital Landscape
How do you capture some of those growing hours spent on digital while also staying relevant enough to keep attention? Adweek offers tips for doing just that on social media:
Focus on a fast load time. If your website takes one second too long, users are likely to become frustrated and move on, and this is true whether you’re a small retailer or as big as Amazon. Slow speeds are a big contributor to consumer dissatisfaction. However, rather than telling you that, they probably just won’t come back.
Invest in your mobile, and mobile social media, strategies. As we see in eMarketer’s report, smartphone and app use are up, and particular focus on Facebook mobile advertising is encouraged.
Respond to messages within minutes or the hour, if possible. Consumers providing negative feedback expect a response, and a lack of one might lead them to call you out publicly.
Follow up if you don’t hear back. So many messages and emails get sent, and recipients aren’t as likely to respond after a couple of days. If you haven’t heard back after 48 hours, send a friendly reminder of your outreach.
Repeat an offer consistently and frequently. While it might seem like overkill, high exposure increases the chance of being noticed and consumers taking action.
As you can see, this goes well beyond the ads themselves. Your audience loves the massive digital space, but wants it tailored to their specific interests. Advertisers must make them feel like a top priority.
Finally, remember that consumers’ smartphone activity happens in micro-moments. Perhaps you were surprised earlier when we mentioned that daily non-voice time on smartphones was less than three hours. However, when we remember how brief some of those digital interactions are, it makes more sense.
Users might spend hours a day with their media, but a few seconds can make all the difference to an advertiser. Focus on being speedy and to the point, and you’ll catch the sought-after attention of your target audience.