Are Second Screens Distracting TV Viewers?


That’s a question asked by digital marketing and advertising denizens at eMarketer. According to marketers they’ve communicated with, fragmented media consumption is disrupting their TV advertising approach.

What does this mean for broadcast television as it enters Q4 and prepares for 2019 and beyond?

For starters, the GSM and sales executives should start to rethink how second screens are used by consumers, and perhaps convince advertisers that TV is a better vehicle for reaching a CMO’s target audience and achieving brand growth goals.

The data eMarketer examined comes from a July 2018 survey of “500 U.S. marketing decision makers” conducted by Viant.

The study found that 45.8% of respondents said that consumers being distracted by their second screens is one of the top factors that limits the success of their TV ad campaigns.

The polled marketers also cited cord-cutting and consumers having too many channels to choose from as other top hurdles reducing the effectiveness of their TV ads.


Viant’s study underscores how users’ fragmented media consumption is disrupting how marketers approach traditional TV advertising, says eMarketer, which estimates that 185.8 million adults will regularly use a second screen while watching TV this year. That’s up by 4.5% from 2017.

About two-thirds of the respondents in Viant’s study said they have struggled to break through the ad clutter. Further, 86% of those polled said it is becoming harder to grab a consumer’s attention solely through TV advertising.

“With user attention scattered, cross-device targeting is in vogue,” eMarketer notes.

In a January 2018 survey of 99 digital media professionals by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Winterberry Group, cross-device audience recognition will be prioritized the most this year in order to increase user engagement.