Americans Spend As Much Time Online As Watching TV

For the first time, the number of hours that U.S. households spent watching TV is equal to the amount of time spent on the Internet, both 13 hours per week, according to a new consumer study from Forrester Research, as reported in Adweek. These results come directly after research indicating that younger consumers (ages 18-30) already spent more time on the Internet than in front of the television. Now, people ages 31-44 are following suit and opting to spend more time online. What do these figures mean for marketers?

“These results are the wake-up call that advertisers need to realize that online deserves and now demands to be a part of the marketing strategy, ” says Michael Del Gigante, president and executive creative director of MDG Advertising. Incorporating our clients’ online presence into the consumers’ digital funnel is critical. We analyze everything we do and make sure it’s searchable, useable, impactful and trackable.

Still, marketers are divided on the issue of ad budget allocation as many see digital advertising as simply following consumer behavior, while others believe TV is more conducive to brand building than typical Internet options.

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Despite the results, Forrester Research insists that TV is still a viable vehicle and that the amount of time spent watching TV has remained steady for the last five years. It’s time spent online that has dramatically risen 121 percent. E-commerce and social media were found to be the major drivers of growth over the last three years. E-commerce use rose from 37 percent to 60 percent, while social media went from 15 percent to 35 percent. Unfortunately, radio is down 15 percent, magazines have fallen 18 percent and newspaper has slid 26 percent.

It’s also important to note that while Internet and TV hours are equal, more than a third of the Web hours were for work while TV was almost completely for leisure. These results show a definite shift in where consumers are focusing their attention and where advertisers would be wise to focus theirs.

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Michael Del Gigante is president and executive creative director of MDG Advertising in Boca Raton, Florida. MDG Advertising is a full-service South Florida advertising agency, with offices in Florida and New York, that specializes in developing targeted Internet marketing solutions, exceptional creative executions, and solid branding and media buying strategies that give brands a real competitive advantage. For more information, call 561-338-7797 or visit mdgadvertising.com.

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