Online Advertising and Encouraging Engagement

by Andrew Schulkind

About three quarters of consumers in the US do more multitasking while watching TV ads than while watching digital ads. That’s either fantastic news for online advertising or a poorly worded survey question. (If you’re still multitasking but not doing so “on another device” is that really any different?)

Either way, the survey, Deloitte’s Digital Democracy Survey, which they’ve subtitled, “A multi-generational view of consumer technology, media and telecom trends,” contains useful information for content marketers along with information that’s just plain interesting. Click here for the executive summary. (Full report is paid-only.)

Among the items that jumped out at me are the attitudes toward consuming media and the kinds of multitasking the different generations engage in while consuming media: the younger generations are far more likely than their older counterparts to multitask while watching TV. About 22% of multitasking activity is related to the TV program being watched. Younger folks’ percentages are higher, older generations’ a bit lower than average.


Content that is strong enough to engage nearly a quarter of your audience is doing something right. That kind of engagement should have you, as a marketer, asking what kind of content can you create to encourage such strong engagement. Clearly, the sex appeal of “Scandal” is going to be hard to match, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to get your audience involved with your content by sharing it, commenting on it, downloading it or liking it.

Bot short of romance-novel style bodice ripping, what can we do? As unsexy as it sounds, content that answers the questions your audience is asking – the pain points that has them seeking out your help in the first place – is the key to engagement. Answer their questions and they’re more likely to share your content with colleagues. Address their pain points and you’ll be part of their presentation to the powers that hold the purse strings.

A few other tidbits from the report worth mentioning: it’s no surprise that the most valued tech/communications product is the smartphone. But it is a bit surprising that tablets are much further down the list, well behind desktops, laptops, and flat-panel TVs. Thinking about this a bit more deeply, though, tablets, because of their “neither fish nor fowl” status – they’re not as portable as a phone nor as powerful as a laptop – could never be the top tech product on most consumers’ most-loved list.

Also not surprising is home internet service as the most valued service. The surprise there is that TV (pay TV: cable/satellite) ranks so high, at number two.

These are trends very much worth keeping an eye on. Perhaps you should read the rest of this report tonight while watching Scandal …