Digital no longer second screen

The evidence is in that digital is no longer the second screen, surpassing TV in terms of time spent and attention. Many marketers are shifting to digital media and an examination of user behaviour and digitally-led campaigns reveal insight for a smarter use of TV and digital.

Digital ads get more attention than TV

In a distracting world where people turn on the TV but also engage with other screens (laptop, tablet, smartphone), the small screens win for attention. Nielsen and YuMe research shows people:

  • turn on the TV first
  • stop focusing on TV after 4 minutes
  • focus on digital screen(s)
  • pay more attention to ads on digital screens

The Nielsen/YuMe study shows interesting patterns for attention, suggesting TV ad placement may be most effective during high involvement shows like entertaining comedy shows. Synching TV/digital media buys may be the winning mix during distracted viewing of news and sports shows.

Focused viewing of key TV shows1

Distracted and jumping between screens1

Case: digital first, TV second

P&G launched the Always’ #LikeAGirl creative with paid digital media:

  • Search
  • Social
  • Display
  • Video
  • Mobile

Then scaled the campaign with more digital media and a SuperBowl spot


The results:

  • Reached half the target audience
  • Viewed 85 million times
  • Started millions of conversations
  • Sales increased2

Canadians spending more time on digital screens than TV.3