A Society Of “Snacking”

With Tasty Bits Of Info Everywhere, Marketers Must Deliver Frequency Over Multiple Media Channels

Snacking.  Our society is obsessed with it.  Media snacking, that is.

In fact, consumption habits have totally changed from “regular meals” to snacking.

This was one of the key takeaways from a recent Emmis Digital Advertising Summit in Chicago, featuring several on-the-ground professionals from all Emmis radio stations nationwide as well as new media industry experts gathered to discuss trends.  That’s not to say that these specific, dedicated times don’t exist; they are just in smaller doses.

In the past decade or so, consumers have changed their media consumption habits from having dedicated times (i.e. – “meal times”) for specific media – such as radio for the morning commute, TV during evening primetime and newspapers on Sunday – to media “snacking,” serially consuming small, incomplete chunks of information.

All of this is due largely to the increased availability, via new modes of distribution, of media.  Of course the internet and mobile phones have been the biggest drivers of this.

Consumers find tasty bits of information everywhere, from their televisions to their tablets.  Here’s an example of a typical young adult male, call him “Joe”, in metro Indy.

  • Joe starts the day with quick glance of headlines – equally as likely to be online as it is home delivery – while grabbing a quick bite and cup of coffee.
  • Then he tunes in to his favorite radio station while driving to the gym to work out.
  • Following his morning fitness routine, Joe checks out his Twitter feeds for updates.
  • He then tunes back in to his favorite radio station while commuting to his office.
  • Upon arriving at his desk, Joe logs in to LinkedIN and Facebook… and he streams his favorite radio station.
  • Several times that morning, he surfs the web for information to complete office projects.
  • Before going to lunch, Joe checks his Twitter feeds again.
  • During lunchtime he checks out the midday version of ESPN Sports Center on the TV at the restaurant.
  • On the way back to the office, Joe checks Twitter again.
  • Once more, he streams his favorite radio station online while at his desk.
  • Again, in the afternoon Joe surfs the web for information to complete office projects.
  • Then on the drive home he tunes in to his favorite radio station again.

And all of this is before Joe sits down to watch TV in the evening!

So when consumers are “snacking” media, frequency and delivery variation is important.

“Repetition across multiple media channels generates a much higher ROI (return on investment) on ad dollars than repetition on a single media channel,” said a report from Universal McCann’s Media In Minds diary.  It also said people who are most drawn to online media also consume more of other media (like radio), and online messaging is “stickier” when reinforced in other media.

Today it is more important than ever to have a proper media mix that fits the target.  In many cases, advertisers find radio a nimble medium to deliver messages – intrusive to the busy lifestyle of the media “snacker”.