Advertising InsightsConsumer Behavior ResearchDigital Behavioural Data

How do consumers use technology while socializing?

By March 5, 2015 No Comments

Viewability dominates the digital advertising metrics discussion at the moment – is that sponsored Tweet above or below the fold?  Did someone see it for more than 1 second… Is viewability really the right metric to be investing so much energy in?  Might it not matter more if someone is in the right context to actually process the message should they even happen to see it?

We at RealityMine side with those who think that contextual analytics is likely a more useful tool for assessing effectiveness and optimizing campaigns.

One of the most important contextual factors we have seen in our analysis of over 50,000 days of cross-media consumer behavior is social setting and specifically how it impacts media behaviours and consequently, advertising receptivity.

RealityMine recently set out to understand how social context influences media consumption habits and brand message engagement.  The goal was to determine whether message delivery should be aimed at targeting a specific social context, rather than assuming that the receptivity of an individual is static and that social context doesn’t impact receptivity. Through our research, we see that social context has a significant impact on potential receptivity. Let’s imagine a marketer who wants to actively target people who are using technology while socializing.  How should they go about doing so?

Where are Americans socializing when not at home?

Using our USA TouchPoints e-diary data, we began by first defining the locations of people who are either ‘drinking’ or ‘socializing’ at night. The majority of people (83%) undertake these activities in the comfort of their own homes – this may sound like a large proportion of in-home socializing, however, it’s considerably less than the 99.6% of all Americans (not just socializers) at home at this time. Other social locations are also noteworthy – restaurants and bars are the setting for 20% of people’s social gatherings. “Someone else’s home” is also a popular venue, as friends, family and new acquaintances meet and socialize.   So our own homes are our top spot for socializing followed by restaurants and bars, and then friends’ houses.

Technology while socializing














How is media consumed when people are socializing?

As people leave their roles of teacher, boss or colleague at the end of the workday and switched to a social mode, RealityMine looked at how the media they consumed varied depending on where they were socializing.  36% of people visiting someone else’s home, watch live TV and DVD’s with friends or family. TV viewing among people in restaurants or bars is comparatively low, with a mere 18% of people socializing or drinking in such locations viewing the big screen – the number of people socializing at something like a sports bar is relatively low.

In sharp contrast cell phones are popular in each of the social settings.  As one social observer stated – cell phones are like a digital cigarette – people can play with it when they are waiting for friends, and it gives them something to do.   Of course, most people have a hard time putting that cell away even when their friends turn off – ever anxious that they might miss “that message!”  But this behavior points to the opportunity for marketers to target people in a social mindsets via mobile advertising.  We see this clearly in our USA TouchPoints data.

Technology while socializing

A careful look into cell phone use in those out of home social settings reveals that SMS dominates. App use is low compared to other cell phone uses among people in restaurants and bars. So having a sponsored tweet may be not the most effective thing to do. Perhaps an old-fashioned SMS could be the right vehicle to cut through and engage.

Of course, to work out an optimal strategy, there are many more aspects of context to consider: who someone is with, what else they are doing, how they are feeling, etc. But all that data is accessible through tools like USA TouchPoints and with that you can focus on crafting an effective campaign that is far away from the debate of “viewability” and ensures your message will be received in the context intended!