Healthcare Advertising: Consumers Internet Time Now Equals TV Time

Overall, adults spend as much time on the internet as they do watching TV while younger adults spend more time on the web than TV. 

For the first time, the amount of time adults spend on the internet and spend watching TV is equal  –  13 hours each per week.  Forrester recently conducted the survey and published the results.  Brian Morrissey reported in Adweek that research has already indicated younger adults (18-30) already spend more time on the web than watching TV and now it’s true of 31-44 year olds too.

The losers in the survey were radio (down 15%), magazines (down 18%) and newspapers (down 26%). Continuing the trend of the last few years.

So for healthcare marketers, that begs the question if an equal amount of your advertising budget should be allotted to the web as to TV.  Some argue the percentages of ad spend are way out of line and marketers are hanging on to better known traditional media way too much.  And there is a tremendous opportunity for those who align their budgets to actual consumer habits.

Others argue in contrast, that television is still the most effective way to build and sustain a brand and that web advertising does not have the impact of television.

As Morrissey stated, one important factor to remember is that over a third of the hours consumers spend on the web are work related while practically all the time watching TV is for leisure and entertainment.

It is obviously true that adults are spending more time on the web and that time is now equal to the time they spend watching TV.  But I’m not sure it’s time yet to spend as much of our scarce budget on web advertising as television.  Television continues to prove that it is extremely effective building a brand.   And when people watch TV they are truly engaged – and actually watching TV.  But while they are on the internet, they are often at work or may be searching for specific information with restricts their attention to web advertising.  They are more often “on a mission” when they are on the internet than when they are watching TV and thus less likely to notice ads.  Sure, one can rightfully argue that people can leave the room or tune out the TV when there are breaks in programming.  But research indicates that happens much less often than assumed.

For healthcare marketers, it’s important we take advantage of the opportunities available on the web.  And as consumers spend more time on the web, it becomes even more important.  It also seems logical to take some of the budget from mediums that are declining in audience share to accomplish this.  But the time spent watching television has remained stable over the past 5 years and therefore it remains an extremely viable media option.

It’s an argument that will continue and healthcare marketers will continue to experiment to determine the media mix that is most effective.

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