A major threshold has been reached in the evolution of U.S. media. Adults now spend more time with digital media than TV according to eMarketer’s latest estimate of media consumption. Stats and tables are here and here.
Not surprisingly, mobile devices – smartphones and tablets, drive this upsurge. The average time spent with digital has increased by two hours per day since 2010, while TV and Radio has remained flat to down. Print usage continues to decline to a combined 30 minutes per day. Overall, US adults are spending nearly 12 hours a day connected or consuming some sort of media, a good portion of waking hours. Keep in mind, there is overlap in the numbers. If someone spends an hour on Twitter during a one-hour TV show, it counts as two hours.
It stands to reason that younger American’s who have a completely different relationship with media and marketing than the Boomer generation is driving much of this change. The vast majority of them will never subscribe to a print newspaper or magazine. They are much more likely to stream their music and watch video on demand via digital channels.
Clearly, the implications for marketers are immense as they try to deal with a world where are consumers are in control. A recent WSJ article highlights how P&G, a classic and huge TV advertiser is quickly moving budget to digital away from TV. Once word gets out others will quickly follow suit.
The big advantage of digital marketing is obviously the specific targeting and the ability to measure a direct ROI. For a brand to be successful in digital platforms they need to engage customers and prospects in a conversation and excel in two-way communication. The move from TV to digital is not just one of a platform, but also a change in mode of communication. Older media – TV, Radio, Newspapers, and Magazines – are passive, lean back, one-way mediums.
One of the reasons consumers are moving to digital and mobile platforms is for the interactivity, engagement and conversation. Social media and video are driving mobile usage. People want to be able to do something and interact with their content, not just sit back and watch, listen and read. They clearly enjoy being part of the conversation; in fact people have become the media as sharing becomes a bigger part of the marketing mix.
This sea change is directly responsible for the rise and importance of content marketing and engagement marketing. The days of consumers as passive recipients of ad messages is ending. In a digital dominant world, if you don’t engage a prospect, you are out of the conversation. Next year Mad Men ends its run and so does television as the primary way Americans consume media.
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