Shopping and web browsing are common second-screen activities
Even today, many consumers watch TV commercials, and some of those commercials drive further action. The main one is more research, according to July 2015 polling.
Market Track found that more than half of US internet users watch commercials on TV, as opposed to fast-forwarding through them, channel-surfing or simply leaving the room when they came on. And when commercials do spur viewers to act, digital research is far and away the most common response. Another 17% research items in-store.
Digital research is a natural activity to pair with commercials when so many people are already using a second screen besides the television. Nearly half of internet users polled by Market Track said they used a laptop while watching TV, and 42% used a mobile phone of some kind. Tablets and desktops were less popular, but still used by around a quarter of respondents. Only 21% did no multitasking.
Shopping while watching TV was a common activity among second-sceeners. Nearly half of those using a laptop did so, along with 41% of tablet users, 40% of desktop users and 31% of smartphone users. Surfing the web—which could easily include searching for product information after viewing a commercial—was even more common. Only checking email was done more frequently across all devices, though checking social media was also more common on smartphones.
Perhaps surprisingly, research has suggested that second-screening draws more attention away from shows than from ads, though TV advertisers are still looking to digital video to get their commercials in front of mobile users who may not be paying attention to the traditional TV set.