After a long day at work, we get home, we eat dinner, and we settle down to stare at our phones. Admit it; most of us don’t even bother with turning on the TV, and even if we do, even our favorite shows end up being background noise. Stranger Things turns into the background noise to endlessly thumbing through Instagram or tweeting about your love of Brussel sprouts on Twitter.
Today, we consume content, but where we consume content is shifting. For decades, Americans spent their evenings basking in the loving glow of the family television; soon, homes split to offer multiple televisions, dividing views in a response to a more diverse offering of shows. When there were three stations, the whole family could compromise on one show to watch. With hundreds of programs available through cable and satellite, channels were able to produce more specialized content for ever-smaller groups of viewers with very specific interests.
Smartphone, streaming services, even subscription news services are an extension of this movement to creating piles of content and delivering it exactly where it needs to be. With mobile phones, that means in your pocket. It’s on those devices that we’re spending more and more of our time. A recent study saw that the average American spends three hours on their mobile phone per day, up from a single hour in 2015. That’s taking a bite out of TV time; from five hours in 2015, we spend closer to four and a half hours in 2019.
For most companies, that means that offering a digital presence is the most effective way to get in front of potential customers, and investing in the infrastructure to do digital right has taken top priority. Optimizing web sites, online commerce, and SEO has shaped the digital landscape, and the proof is in the cookies. That little invitation to accept cookies when you go to a new website is the sort of case in point; the web has grown from something that you surf and learns from into a place that learns your, your habits, and your interests. Imagine your TV learning what shows you like and showing you similar shows, similar personalities…and of course, specific ads. TV can’t do it, but services like Netflix and Hulu can. That shift makes a lot of financial sense, and that’s a big reason why Disney, HBO, Amazon Prime and others are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to create their own streaming platforms. They’re taking TV and turning it into the internet.
Those streaming services end up on cell phones, with their icons nearly stacked next to social media apps. We digest plenty of social content from mobile, too; globally, we spend nearly two and a half hours a day on social sites or messaging. That’s nearly an hour more than in 2012!
The most important statistic isn’t where we’re at now, but where we’re headed. No matter who your customers are right now, every company wants to be in front of demographics like the coveted 18-34 group, known for disposable income. Their habits aren’t expected to change, and right now, they’re all about their phones. They spend three and a half hours on their phones per day, compared to just under two hours of watching TV. For companies looking to sell now and build a relationship with customers now that could last for decades, mobile is where it’s at. Even 30-49 years olds skew mobile, spending about three and a half hours on mobile, just ten minutes less than their TV binging habits.
No matter how you try to access your consumers, the sheer volume of what we watch, read, and stare at it incredible. In 2015, we spent roughly nine hours and forty minutes consuming digital media. Today, we’re spending eleven and a half hours on digital platforms! When you’re looking at where to invest your marketing budget, keep that in mind; what other space do you spend nearly all of your waking day? We used this report for this post. If you think this nerdy stuff is interesting, you should check out Social Media Today.