What are the implications of the simultaneous usage of multiple media for advertising effectiveness?

Claire Segijn 2019

Extant research typically examines effects of mono-media consumption. For example, research has tested effects of watching a television show including ads with full attention and without any distractions. However, more and more people are using multiple media at the same time. The implications of this phenomenon are not well understood. 

Assistant Professor Claire Segijn seeks to advance understanding of how the use of multiple media influences information processing and advertising effectiveness. Research has shown that people have difficulty processing information when combining tasks. Therefore, it is important to examine factors that could facilitate information processing while using multiple media simultaneously. For example, Segijn examined if it matters what tasks are combined when multiscreening. She found that people remember more of media content and have more positive attitudes toward brands when they combine related tasks - like tweeting about the television show - opposed to unrelated tasks - like chatting about your weekend with friends while watching television.

Segijn also studies how attention is allocated to media messages and subsequently how attention allocation affects information processing and advertising effectiveness. Her primary focus is on visual attention (eyes-on-screen). The work on effects across screens connects with her work on attention such that people are forced to divide their attention when using multiple screens at the same time. Segijn and colleagues’ eye-tracker study showed that attention is a key factor when multiscreening. 

“People switch their attention on average 2.5 times per minute,” Segijn said. “Furthermore, the results showed that between multiscreening groups, the amount of attention toward a screen has consequences for how much content people will remember.” 

Finally, Segijn looks at ways advertisers can integrate the presence of multiple screens in their advertising strategy. How can advertisers take advantage of the presence of multiple screens at the same time? “The presence of multiple screens offers new opportunities for advertisers that did not exist before,” she said. An example of this is synced advertising, which is the practice of monitoring people’s current media behavior and using the collected information to show people individually targeted ads based on people’s current media behavior across media. It is not a coincidence when people receive an ad on their mobile device that is about the brand shown on television, she said.