Tablets and mobile phones and laptops, oh my!

You may have heard about multi-screen behavior (or even witnessed it). It’s when a person uses a laptop or other device while they watch television. It’s not an uncommon behavior either — 77% of viewers watching TV are also viewing at least one other screen.

Advertisers already have to battle DVR and TiVo to get their commercials noticed. Do TV commercials even stand a chance against multi-screen behavior?

As it turns out, this behavior may actually help with television advertising.

Modern Viewing Habits of the 18 – 44 Demographic

Even in the age of DVR, Hulu and Netflix, there is still a social demand to watch premieres, live sports events and awards shows. The risk of spoilers aside — No one wants to be that guy who comes in Monday morning and doesn’t know what happened to Rick and the gang on Walking Dead.

AMC's The Walking Dead promo picture

Image from AMC’s The Walking Dead

. . . or be the guy that calls them, “Rick and the gang” 

Real time TV comes with real time commercials. According to a study, multi-screen viewers don’t really mind. 81% of multi-screen watchers reported that they stay in the room for ad breaks.

I know, I know . . . just because they’re in the room, doesn’t mean they’re paying attention to the commercials that run.

Or are they?

The Interactive Advertising Bureau 2012 study on modern viewing habits with an emphasis on multi-screen behavior separated multi-screen viewers into 3 categories based on the devices they used; 2 screens (TV and laptop), 3 screens (TV, laptop and cell phone) and 4 screens (TV, laptop, cell phone and tablet).

Through the study, IAB found that . . .

“An average of roughly 35% of 3 [screens] respondents and over 55% of 4 [screens] respondents said it was likely or very likely that they’d search or shop for viewed products while watching.”

Not only that, but — Tablet users (4 screens) were more likely to be able to associate up to 3 advertisers with a favorite program.

They also found that tablet users are more likely than 3 screens users (TV, laptop, mobile phone) to take action in response to what they’re watching; research, shopping, downloading apps and social media interactions.

Television advertising is evolving

When it comes down to it – We are social creatures. TV shows and live events are fun to talk about with friends, family and coworkers. We’re also more likely to stick through commercial breaks as long as we are entertained by screens in front of us.

Bonus points and better engagement goes to the brands that know how to incorporate multi-screen behavior into their campaigns. Be it a social media campaign, an app to download or a special offer.

You just have to figure out how to make the other screens work to your advantage.

Have you noticed multi-screen behavior in your life? How has it affected how you interact with brands?