How do people consume television content and advertisement in the age of the smartphone?

Understanding how attention is distributed across screens is crucial to digital platforms. In collaboration with i2 media research and Eye Square, Facebook conducted an extensive ethnographic study collecting ecologically valid data from 6 countries worldwide, looking at people's eye behaviour while watching TV with their smartphone available.

The project investigated simultaneous cross-device ad consumption using a unique and innovative combination of design, focus and methodology mostly based on behavioural neuroscience methods, which consisted in obtaining real time continuous measurement of where people were looking (via a mobile eye-tracking device) while in their living room (with or without other people) watching TV. 

Results from the UK sample showed how attention to media can be very fragmented. Only about two third of the ads shown on TV received some attention at all, with most distractions coming from smartphones.

The study showed how having a proper understanding of the fragmentation of user attention during TV consumption would allow digital platforms to really act as a supplement for TV plans. The research was presented by Prof Jonathan Freeman (i2 media) and Stephen J. Gray (Facebook) at Facebook's Cross Channel Measurement event in February 2018; watch the full results here: