The amount of time people spend watching TV has dropped considerably. A recent article published by eMarketers entitled Digital Set to Surpass TV in Time Spent with US Media provides statistics that prove people spend more time online. The article got me thinking about research Google conducted a year ago that concluded online time is actually spread between four primary media devices.

The results of these two studies together are significant for advertisers and marketing professionals.

According to Google, the average time per interaction with devices breaks down as illustrated below:

Google research also indicates consumers use different devices for different reasons.

Not only does intention differ by device, but consumers are also using multiple devices at the same time.

Data shows TV no longer commands our full attention. In fact, 77% of people interact with another device while watching TV.

People are still watching. They’re just watching differently.

All of this brings us back to what eMarketer figured out. TV viewership as we know it is declining, but people are still consuming content. They’re just accessing it in different ways. Almost 63% of tablet users and 33% of smartphone users are using their devices to watch TV shows and movies on-demand through subscription services like Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix.

So how do we engage consumers in a multi-screen world?

Advertising and marketing professionals need to stop viewing media in terms of “traditional” or “digital.” Interactions are no longer medium-based. They’re screen-based. Consumers are interacting with brands on multiple devices and sometimes all at once.

We have to rethink the way we measure the effectiveness of advertising on individual media channels. Let’s move away from channel-based measurement and focus on cross channel media mix analysis. Assessing how all channels combined impact RIO and brand awareness is a more accurate way to measure engagement.

Google, The New Multi-Screen World, August 2012