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A groundbreaking study eye-tracks second screen viewing patterns.’

Second screens are radically changing the television viewing experience. But just exactly where is your eye spending its time between the two screens?

Eye-tracking is the science of charting the eye’s movement in order to see just where people are looking. In this case, when they watch television.
A groundbreaking study, conducted by Michael Holmes and Ryan Carney of Ball State University & Sheree Josephson of Weber State University, used eye-tracking to meter the attention of viewers while watching television in conjunction with a second screen app on a mobile tablet.
Test participants were shown two differing genres of programming: drama (one of two episodes of Grey’s Anatomy) and documentary (one of two episodes of From The Edge With Peter Lik) during the study.  Each of these programs had an official synchronized second-screen app; that is, content and interactive opportunities appeared on the tablet app when triggered by hidden audio cues in the program soundtracks.
Here are some of the general findings:
Second screens got nearly a third of visual attention.
Although the television screen delivering program content was the primary focus, second screens received 30% of total visual attention.

Considerable “gaze time” spent on second screen—even unprompted.
The uninterrupted viewing of points within a single screen was defined as “gaze time.” This indicates a focus of visual attention on a particular screen.
In other words, viewing that is not random, unfocused, or offscreen—which tends to suggests a desire to view a particular screen without interruption.
The study shows that even without prompting from a secondary source like “pushes” from the television content to interact with second screen apps—or ad breaks which redirect attention to the tablet—the second screen garnered a significant portion of total gaze time.
“Pushed” content & advertising increased second screen attention.
In those instances when viewers were stimulated by the television screen to interact with a second screen app—or presented with an advertising component—second screens garnered even more attention.This news is advantageous to content developers wanting to maximize attention during “push” content prompting or during advertising components. As they know the focus of attention is likely to shift during these events, second screen content can be timed to take advantage of the additional focus.
Second screen presence significantly decreases average gaze length.
Even though the television gets the majority of TOTAL time being watched, the average duration of a gaze on the television screen is significantly decreased by the introduction of a second screen.
Also, the average gaze durations of television (1.9 seconds) and second screens (1.2  seconds) may indicate that the second screen requires more active or intentional monitoring while the television does not require such an active focus.
In practical terms, watching television is not as directed in intent as checking a second screen for specific information, surfing the web, or any number of other second screen activities.
So, the addition of a second screen isn’t creating an additional long gaze time. Instead, it seems to be the catalyst for a more vigorous, less static viewing experience.
Historically, TV watching included some extended gazes on the screen, up to 20 or 30 seconds; these were absent in the study as participants rapidly shifted their attention between the screens.
Genre of content did not affect gaze patterns.
The type of content shown did not affect gaze patterns in any significant regard. Eye-tracking revealed that, regardless of content, visual attention to the second screen remained consistent across differing content.
Program length also made no difference (the dramas were 60 minutes and the documentaries were 30 minutes).
Second screens are here to stay. And, they’re serving up more content, more apps, and more interactivity every day.
Programmers, developers, and content providers would do well to learn the eye-tracking lessons of second screen interactivity in order to maximize both their second screen applications—and the consumer experience.

Digital marketing budgets averaged  2.5% of company revenue in 2012, growing 9% in 2013 — and that’s still too low.  At a time when 2012 marketing operating budgets were over 10% of revenue, spending only 25% on digital marketing implies some companies aren’t taking the shift seriously enough.

Let’s look at just 3 areas of digital marketing spending.  Understand that marketing’s purpose is the same as it has always been – attract, acquire and retain customers in order to grow revenue and profitability.  And do that in a way that will bring the highest returns, regardless of marketing (or sales) channels used.

Digital/on-line advertising makes up the largest part of the digital marketing budget, but is a small percent of total advertising, especially for consumer-focused companies.  This is not a battle between digital and traditional advertising or inbound vs. outbound marketing (no matter what your agency says) – this is a struggle to get the right content in front of the right buyers at the right time to influence their decision to purchase.   Take the time to understand how buyers are changing their behaviors and where they are spending more time on-line – that should inspire more integrated marketing channels, including digital/online advertising.

Corporate website also makes up a large part of the digital marketing budget.  As your face to the outside world, helping prospective buyers understand who you are, what you stand for, as well as what you offer becomes increasingly critical.  It is also linked to the social and mobile customer experience and digital commerce.  It used to be enough to update websites a few times a year, but now has become a continuous process and one you simply can’t underfund.  The days of static “website as on-line corporate collateral” are gone forever.

Digital commerce experience is the top priority for increased digital marketing spending in 2013.  Multidimensional stories told with the intent of leading a prospect down the buying path and driving a transaction, commerce experiences provide consumers with a sequence of information, experiences (think entertainment and gamification) and channels  that draw them into the buying process.  Not fully mature yet, but all organizations should be exploring and piloting.

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