Article in Mobile Future, eReaders & ePublications, Marketing and Growth, Advertising categories.

Are Advertisers About to Understand a Change in Viewing Habits?

People are spending more time on their mobile devices than ever before, yet advertisers have been late to the party. That could be changing very soon, though. TechCrunch recently reported that eMarketer conducted a study that determined the amount of time average Americans spend with select types of media, then compared that to the percentage of advertising money those media outlets receive from advertisers. For example, it was revealed that 42.5-percent of the time people use media is spent watching TV, and that 42.2-percent of ad money is spent on TV programming, which fairly reflects the usefulness of the medium. The .3-percent difference is negligible.

But as the study moved on to other media outlets, the discrepancy between the amount of time spent using the media and the amount of ad money being paid started to grow. 25.9-percent of time spent was used on the Internet, but 21.9-percent of the money went there, a difference of 4-percent. Interestingly, for radio, a medium that seems to be endangered, had a 14.6-percent amount of usage, but only 10.9-percent of the money spent (although the study didn’t specify if that included Internet radio and podcasts along with standard AM/FM fare). Americans used their mobile devices for 10.9-percent of their consumption time, yet only 0.9-percent of the advertising money went to mobile outlets.

Print media took the hardest hit of all, though. Newspapers accounted for only 4-percent of users’ time, but received a whopping 15-percent of ad money. And users only spent 2.8-percent of their time on reading magazines, yet 9.7-percent of advertising was paid to them. On the whole, nearly a quarter of the entire advertising payments were for newspapers and magazines, but people only read them for under 7-percent of their time. Advertisers are sure to see this study soon, and that could massively harm the print industry as we know it.

What can be taken from this study is that the media sources that have been around the longest, yet haven’t lost their users to newer media, are the ones that are most in line with the advertising dollars. Products have been advertised on TV for over half a century now, and while the amount of channels available have cut into the ratings for network shows, the amount of people that watch TV regularly hasn’t changed drastically, despite the rise of the Internet and mobile devices. Advertisers know how much they should sell on TV based on years of experience, and the lack of a discrepancy between the two stats reflects that understanding. The same can be said to a degree for the Internet, which has had over a decade of advertising experience. But the rise in mobile reading has cut into people’s use of print media, yet advertisers haven’t come to grips with that yet. Magazines and newspapers may want to delay this realization, but it’s on the way. The changing of the tides is new and ongoing, and, unfortunately for print, the message will catch on soon enough.

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