Tuesday, 18 March 2014 07:29

Smartphone now the dominant screen – but Australians aren’t ‘meshing’ Featured


Australians spend more time using their smartphone than watching TV, but they aren’t doing them both at the same time as often as consumers in many other countries.

A new study into how consumers view content has found that Australians ‘mesh’ – view multiple screens simultaneously – less than consumers in many other countries, and that this poses a challenge to online marketers.

The findings come from Millward Brown’s 2014 AdReaction Report, which examined multiscreen use and behaviour across 30 countries and explored consumer receptivity to advertising on TV, smartphones, laptops and tablets.

The report found that the average multiscreen user in Australia consumes six and a half hours of screen media each day, of which 113 minutes is simultaneous consumption of another screen, resulting in a typical daily screen time of just under five hours (or 285 minutes).

Smartphones in Australia account for 33% (132 minutes) of the daily screen time, which is less than the global average of 147 minutes. By comparison TV accounts for 32% (125 minutes), which is more than global average of 113 minutes. PCs (mostly laptops) account for 26% (102 minutes), less than global average of 108 minutes; and tablets for 9% of daily screen time (37 minutes), also less than the global average of 50 minutes.

Significantly for Australian marketers, just 11% of consumers simultaneous screen time use is ‘meshed’ – the use of a TV and a second screen for related content, below the global average of 14%. By comparison 28% of consumers ‘stack’ their viewing – the use of a TV and second screen for unrelated content. This is well above the global average of 22%. At 60% of screen time, ‘shifting’ among individual screens throughout the day remains the dominant form of screen use in Australia.

“The research provides valuable insights for Australian marketers who are under increasing pressure to account to the C-suite level for every marketing dollar spent” said Millward Brown’s Mark Henning.

“All marketers know their consumers are spending more and more time multiscreening, but detailed information as to precisely how they are using these screens is required to successfully plan and execute synergistic multiscreen campaigns. These results show that Australians are comfortable switching between screens but that they require compelling reasons to mesh content.”

The study also found that while receptivity to advertising is higher for TV than for ads on digital screens, receptivity across all screens in Australia is markedly lower than the global average. For example, TV receptivity 45% (vs Global 56%), laptop-PC 27% (vs Global 39%), smartphone 22% (Global 38%), and tablet 22% (Global 37%).

In line with the global trend, TV is generally more of a starting point for consumption in Australia, with digital devices generally used to continue or complete tasks, rather than begin them.

Multi-screen sequences are more likely to start on TV and continue on a smartphone. This pairing is above the global average in Australia, with laptop to smartphone shifting also more common than in other markets.

Specific to multiscreen marketing opportunities, the AdReaction report found that consumers are most receptive to microvideo, TV ads with interactivity, TV ads promoting mobile apps, Facebook pages and websites. Marketing that delivers more entertainment and rewards are generally preferred over multiscreen campaigns which simply offer more information.

“Understanding the time spent interaction between and receptivity to advertising across different screens in each market is critical for marketers” said Henning.

“With Australian consumers less receptive than the global average to advertising on any screen, it is imperative for Australian brands to find entertaining and useful ways to deliver their message across multiple screens.”


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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire. He is one of Australia’s longest serving and most experienced IT journalists. He is author of the only definitive history of the Australian IT industry, ‘A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.’

He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time weekly IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.



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