Using a mobile phone whilst watching TV ads actually increases brand awareness

Television viewers are more likely to actually engage and follow-up on a TV advert if they are using their mobile devices at the same time, according to new research from media agency MediaCom and ViewersLogic. The findings point out that the long-held assumption that mobile devices could distract from TV ads is false.

Dubbed ‘second screening’ (i.e. watching TV and using mobile or other connected devices at the same time), the practice actually leads to a 75% improvement in the chances that viewers may follow up on an ad they’ve seen.

MediaCom also found that there was little deviation from these results between age groups, gender or TV channels when surveying 1,877 UK people for the study.

Pauline Robson, Head of Insight at MediaCom, explained:

“In the past few years, the way people watch TV has changed quite drastically; on average, people spend around 30 per cent of their TV time simultaneously looking at their phone or tablet. Historically, brands have shuddered at the thought of attention wandering to the second screen.”

“However, our research has flipped that misconception on its head and shown that advertisers should actively look for shows where the audience is most likely to be second screening. Media plans should actively take into account the second screening effect in order to improve efficiency; the opportunities for brands are huge.”

Overall, women were more receptive toward actively responding to an ad whilst second screening (59%), compared to men (51%).

Viewers aged 40-54 were more responsive (57%) than 55+-year-olds (50%).

Second screening also makes people more brand-aware. Subsequent testing found a 12 percentage point difference in brand awareness between those second screening during ad exposure compared to those who did not.

At the same time, the study found that ‘zapping’ (i.e. changing the channel) was 10% lower when users were busy using their mobile devices. The only exception to this were younger viewers (18-24 year-olds) who zapped more often whilst second screening.

“The industry is acutely aware that people have dramatically changed the ways in which they engage with brands and their advertising,” added Ronny Golan, CEO and Co-Founder at ViewersLogic. “At ViewersLogic we believe that this also requires us to radically change the methods we use to gather consumer data. So we established a panel of over 5,000 UK adults to gather single-source data on the TV programmes they watch, the ads they are exposed to, their online searches, and the nature of their shopping trips, online and offline.”