Blink: Advertising in a Multi-Media Environment: An Abstract
The exponential growth in digital media has led audiences to shift their attention to a variety of media and information sources, i.e. consumers increasingly engage in a multiscreen experience, and media multi-tasking has started to represent the norm (Bardhi et al. 2010; Holmes et al. 2005). Media multi-tasking is defined as “the consumption of two or more commercial media vehicles or content” (Bardhi et al. 2010), either sequentially (monochronic) or simultaneously (polychronic). Multi-tasking is a common trait among consumers where an individuals’ time allocation may be distributed along a continuum between monochronicism and polychronicism (Bluedorn et al. 1992). The extant literature suggests certain negative impacts of media multi-tasking; however there is limited research on how individuals experience media multi-tasking and its effect on advertising effectiveness. We propose to explore (a) attention fragmentation and extent of attention switching (visual attention) and (b) whether media multi-tasking impairs information processing, comprehension, and retention. Further, inclusion of factors (message length, type of appeal, audience, and features of the medium) that may affect the relationship between media multi-tasking and the dependent variables enriches the study.
When media are experienced simultaneously, the foreground medium dominates over the background in the audience’s attention. Furthermore, media multi-taskers have been found to frequently shift their attention from one medium to another, constantly switching between the two (Pilotta and Shulz 2005), suggesting attention fragmentation and reorientation (Nightingale 2004; Brasel and Gips 2011). Moreover, media multi-tasking may impair information processing due to the division of cognitive resources (Pool et al. 2003; Mortenson and Ellis 2013). Yet, these negative effects of media multi-tasking may be mitigated by various coping strategies (Bardhi et al. 2010; Alzahabi and Becker 2013).
This study uses an experimental mixed factorial, between subjects, 3 (media multi-tasking condition) × 2 (product category involvement level) design. Participants viewed a 14-minute video with two advertisements on a laptop and then completed various tasks as per the manipulations. Time spent in fixation, average gaze length, extent of switching, and self-assessed visual attention are used as measures. Product, brand, communication message recall (aided and unaided), as well as product and brand recognition are used as the measures of learning.
The results demonstrate that individuals engaging in media multi-tasking show lower visual attention levels than non-media multi-taskers. The effects of media multi-tasking on learning were contingent on “relevant” vs. “irrelevant” condition as was the role of product involvement and context appreciation. Our research underlines the need for media planners to design multiplatform campaigns integrating a variety of touchpoints.
References Available Upon Request