To target tablets, think about potential distractions

To successfully reach out to tablet owners, brands should understand how the average user thinks about and utilizes the mobile device. According to a new study, most tablet owners are generally quite distracted.

Posted on Nov 8, 2012 by YuMe

For video advertisers, tablets are perhaps the preeminent mobile device to target, as numerous studies has shown that the technology is one of the most popular ways consumers view content online. A June report from comScore found that 53 percent of tablet owners watch videos on the device at least once a month, and an October report from the Pew Research Center showed that about 22 percent of all Americans adults now own a tablet.

However, in order for brands to successfully reach out to tablet owners, they need to understand how the average user thinks about and utilizes the mobile device. According to a newly released research from GfK MRI's iPanel, most tablet owners are generally quite distracted. The study found that 90 percent of tablet owners multitask frequently – in fact, they spend 40 percent of their tablet usage time working on another task simultaneously, AdWeek reported.

The report found that tablets have become increasingly commonplace for multitasking while owners are also in front of different screens. For example, 36 percent said they use a tablet while also using a cellphone or smartphone, 28 percent of the respondents said they are on a tablet while also using a laptop or desktop and 63 percent indicated they use a tablet computer while watching television.

"But there’s no question about it: tablets and TV go hand in hand," the iPanel report said. "Almost two-thirds of tablet owners used their tablet while concurrently watching TV in the last [seven] days … significantly more than participated in any other activity while using their tablet."

Not only are tablet users frequently multitasking, but they are more often than not engaging with online content via the mobile device while watching television. According to the report, the most common activities users conducted while viewing a TV included visiting an unrelated website (55 percent of tablet owners said they did this, downloading or using an application (36 percent of the survey's respondents) and watching additional video content (25 percent).

However, calling a tablet a mobile device may be somewhat of a misnomer, as the study found that 89 percent of tablet owners are multitasking at home, and 60 percent of multi-screen engagement occurs between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. In addition, the younger the tablet owner is, the more likely he or she is to multitask.

What the study's findings mean to brand advertisers
While the report may make the average tablet user look like a distracted Millennial who is not likely to pay attention to mobile video ads, the findings indicate something a bit different.

GfK MRI's iPanel found that tablets generally made television advertising more appealing and interactive for viewers, even though tablet spots were more likely to generate consumer interest than television content. Among two-screen viewers, 28 percent said they used their device to look up a product mentioned on television, and 12 percent indicated that they had purchased a product with their tablet based on what they saw on television.

Video advertisers, however, may be better off putting greater emphasis on the tablet than on TV advertising. According to the study, 36 percent said they focus more on the mobile device than on the television while multitasking, while 28 percent said the television took precedence.

The best way for brands to reach these multitaskers may be through in-app advertising. GfK MRI's iPanel reported that 56 percent of tablet owners indicated they were very interested in the ads featured within at least one type of application.

"Tablets have made multitasking more rewarding for consumers," the report said. "Along with using their tablets, owners are watching TV, checking their email and downloading apps. Tablet owners place a high value on their devices’ propensity for making multitasking easier and more enjoyable. Advertisers will, too."