TV is a significant catalyst for search on both smartphones and computers (PCs and laptops), according to [pdf] August 2012 research conducted by Sterling Brands and Ipsos on behalf of Google. Among the study’s multi-screen participants (such as those who use a smartphone while watching TV), 22% of smartphone searches were prompted as a result of watching TV. 17% were the result of seeing a TV commercial, and 7% from seeing a TV program (crossover between the two resulted in a total less than 24%).
10% of search occasions on PCs and laptops were the result of watching TV, reveals data from “The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior.” 6% were the result of seeing a TV commercial, and 6% from seeing a TV program.
While some element of multi-screen use is to enhance TV viewing (such as interacting with friends about a program on Twitter or Facebook), 78% of simultaneous usage was found to be unrelated multi-tasking – conducting another different activity at the same time, answering emails or shopping online while watching a TV program.
Even so, consumers still pay attention to TV while engaged in other activities, per results from a May 2012 study by the IAB. According to that report, while simultaneously engaging in TV-related activities on their devices, smartphone and tablet users both give an average of 63% of their attention to TV. The average attention level drops when these multi-taskers engage in unrelated activities, but still remains above 50%, at 55% for smartphone users and 61% for tablet users.
The Google study indicates that 92% of multi-taskers have used a PC while watching TV; 90% a smartphone and TV; and 89% a tablet and TV.
The Google report also finds that when participants used a smartphone as a primary device, they also reported using a secondary device 57% of the time (PCs and laptops, 28%; TVs, 29%). When using TV as a primary device, respondents reported using a secondary device 77% of the time, with smartphones representing 49% and PCs or laptops 34%. When using PCs as a primary device, 45% reported also using a smartphone. When using a tablet as the primary device, though, TV (44% of the time) was the most common companion, ahead of smartphones (35% of the time).
About The Data: The research was conducted in two phases, involving 1,611 over 7,955 hours of activity. The qualitative phase consisted of mobile text diaries, online bulletin boards and in-home interviews in LA, Boston and Austin. In the quantitative phase, participants logged each of their traditional and digital media interactions in a mobile diary over a 24 hour period. A survey probing further into observed behavior was deployed the day following diary participation. Participants were given an online survey to understand attitudes and behaviors associated with various digital activities, specifically when using multiple screens. The study observed 15,738 media interactions.
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