Video killed the radio star, and smartphones are wounding, if not killing, TV commercials. At least that’s the thrust of a recent study Facebook did of its own users as they engaged with their television screens, but with their mobile devices where they usually rest – in their hands or within reach.
Facebook focused on 547 of its users who stated they had watched the season premiere of what it describes as “a popular TV show.” Then it matched their Facebook use against the time slots of commercials that aired during the show. While the show itself was on, no more than 10% of the viewers were on Facebook. But during commercial breaks, more than 15% of viewers typically turned to Facebook as an alternative to focusing on the commercials. At certain moments, more than 20% were using Facebook instead of focusing on the TV. At best, sponsors who spent big bucks on the commercials could hope that these Facebookers had one eye on the TV and another on their smartphones. But that might be wishful thinking.
As a control, the study examined Facebook usage during the same time period among a group of users who stated they did not watch the show. It found “no discernible difference in [Facebook] activity” among these non-viewers -- about 8% to 10% of this group were on Facebook at any given time during that hour.
Facebook offered some interesting takeaways for marketers who are seeking mobile alternatives now that they can’t count on TV commercials to deliver the audiences they commanded before smartphones started to elbow in the audience. The message to advertisers boils down to “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em – on their phones.”
- “Mobile has trained people…to consume what matters and move on…they're only going to watch ads that grab their attention, reward their time, and are immediately relevant”
- “Build brand new, short form, mobile creative”
- “Test and measure ads every week, not every six months”
- “An advertiser's ability to measure the right things properly will be the biggest predictor of …mobile advertising success”
- “The best marketers…are working with the diverse consumer behaviors in the new mobile medium, not against them”
- “When it comes to mobile, the people and the platforms are so new, fluid, and non-uniform that success is being driven by rapid adaptation and novel methods”
These suggestions make a lot of sense, especially the idea that meeting the challenges of mobile advertising requires “novel methods.” And we have a couple of suggestions of our own about how you can act effectively on the new realities that Facebook’s study aimed to document.
- Learn about Emotional Brand Connections Social Media Ad Testing. This new research method and technology enables advertisers to inject their not-yet-launched mobile ads into targeted audiences’ news feeds on Facebook and other social sites. It’s the way to understand how well your concepts and content will flourish in the exact mobile media space where you’re counting on them to work once the campaign begins.
- Find out how Mobile Advertising Metrics OnDemand leverages the unique Ad IDs assigned to each smartphone, allowing you to see whether you’re reaching your intended audiences. You also can survey validated ad recipients to measure whether they’re noticing your ads, and responding to them in ways that raise awareness of your brand and product and push consumers along the path to purchase.
For more details on these new research products and other advanced mobile solutions, just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.