Multi-screen viewing drives TV ad engagement

People who watch TV while using an internet-connected device such as a smartphone or tablet are more likely not to change the channel during the ad break because they are able to “act on what they see immediately”, a new study reveals.


More than two thirds of viewers (81%) are more likely to stay in the room during an ad break or not change the channel if they are multi-screening, according to an independent study for Thinkbox by COG Research, compared to 72% of viewers who stay for the ads but do not use an internet-connected device.

The study examined over 700 hours of TV viewing habits gathered from filming 23 homes in the UK for a week. Data was then combined with self-reporting from the households and online research from 2,000 people with TV and online access. It revealed that multi-screening does not negatively affect ad recognition.

Thinkbox claims that there is “no significant difference in the level of ad recognition between people when multi-screening or only watching TV”, following a series of tests.

Neil Mortensen, Thinkbox’s research and planning director, says that the there is a “huge benefit and opportunity” for brands to tap into the growth of multi-screen viewing.

He adds: “Not just because it encourages people to watch more TV and more ad breaks – and does not adversely affect ad recognition – but because viewers now have the ability to act on what they see immediately. We’ve always multi-tasked in front of the TV but two screening is an incredibly complementary accompaniment.”

The findings also revealed that on average, when only one person was in the room for multi-screening, almost two thirds (64%) of their viewing sessions lasted longer than 15 minutes. This compares to the 47% of people who watch TV while not doing anything else.

Other key findings include:

• 31% of viewers (with access to TV and the internet) have talked about TV shows, ads on a second screen – this rises to 56% for 16-24 year olds.
• 22% of viewers used SMS, 18% used social media and 10% used mobile messenger services while watching TV.

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