It’s Not Just How Much, But Where and When We Are Connected That Matters

The following is a guest contributed post by Keith Petri, Chief Strategy Officer at Screen6.

The amount of time consumers spend on connected devices  (mobile phones, tablets, and connected TVs) is increasing and we don’t foresee this trend changing. While there are only 24 hours in a day, the amount of time spent on devices increase year over year and the proliferation of new devices and connected technologies has made it possible for consumers to be online around the clock.

According to most industry analysts, the average American is consuming a record amount of digital content and now spends 12 hours, 7 minutes of each day behind one screen or another — further reflecting the need for marketers to prioritize mobile and connected devices in their media mix modeling.

As advertising campaigns are continuing to be deployed across multiple devices and as creative becomes more dynamic and personalized across platforms, marketers will need to think literally about the customer and their journey. The mobile medium, by its nature, makes for a multitude of new opportunities that brands can tap into get the attention of consumers. Understanding the interrelationship between mobile devices and how and when consumers use them is critical to providing the best possible experience for both the advertiser and the consumer.

Marketers understand the importance of having a mobile marketing strategy, but need to make necessary changes to avoid fumbling opportunities in today’s mobile-minded world. In order to serve the right ad on the right device at just the right time, marketers need to look extensively at usage patterns and preferences for mobile phones, tablets and connected TV and optimize their campaigns. To accomplish this, they’ll need to stay ahead of the curve by monitoring where consumers are spending their time and how they are dedicating their attention.

To get a better sense for how consumers spend their time across platforms, Screen6 examined a massive amount of device ID data from more than 100 million mobile devices, mobile PCs, tablets and connected TVs in the United States. This data, provided by our data partners ShareThis, Kochava Collective and Airpush, was analyzed in an aggregate and anonymous fashion, taking a deeper look at server interactions during the second quarter of 2017.

It should come as no surprise that people spend a lot of time on their mobile devices. According to some reports, as much as 4 hours per day. Based on our research, the amount of time people spend on their device increase steadily throughout the day and peaks in the evenings between 7PM and midnight. When thinking about targeted “day part” campaigns and ad serving, advertisers should consider this the new “prime time” for mobile usage and advertising.

In examining which days have the most mobile usage, it may come as a shock that weekend usage outpaces weekday usage. While the prevailing belief is that people tend to unplug and become less connected on the weekends, they are in fact more connected to their mobile devices on Saturday and Sundays.

When looking at the amount of time consumers spend using their mobile devices as compared to connected TVs, the total TV time outpaced that of mobile devices for a majority of the day. This should not come as too much of a surprise considering most mobile devices are used intermittently while connected TVs remain in an always on state.

While most campaigns will shift between mobile and connected devices, there are key times that marketers should be thinking about weighting their ad serving towards mobile. During the morning commute, 7-9AM and again later in the evening from approximately 9PM-12AM after prime-time television programing has ended, mobile usage was in fact greater than connected TVs.

Finally, what kind of device a consumer is using will dictate when they are the most active. When looking at Android versus iOS devices, the two operating systems tend to be used equally throughout the day. There are two exceptions: iOS users tend to catch the worm and iOS devices are used more often in the early hours of the morning (Midnight to 6AM) and Android is used more often during the morning commute beginning at 7AM until the early afternoon at approximately 3PM. iOS and Android have similar usage patterns in the evening.

The amount of time people spend on their mobile devices is less representative of binge behavior or “at work” compared to “at home” behavior, and more representative of a massive cultural shift. The cross-platform consumer has become a reality. There is a new definition of “prime time” for people’s attention and “must see” viewing now takes place during the weekends.

The good news for advertisers and content owners is that as addressable, programmatic and cross-device advertising strategies will undoubtedly continue to evolve, they’ll also provide marketers with assets and better ways to reach desired audiences irrespective of device.