What’s the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night?

There’s a high chance it involves a screen of some sort: phones, tablets and TVs are all popular bed fellows, and use by UK adults is on the up. IPA Touchpoints data released this month says our media consumption is up 9% year-on-year – that’s a lot of extra appetite for platforms and devices across eight hours of the waking day.

The reports of the demise of TV have been greatly exaggerated and this channel still tops the rankings, with more than half of people (54%) watching video between 9pm-10pm on an average night. Overall, TV viewing accounts for 4hrs 35mins of daily viewing on average – enough for more than three-and-a-half Bake Off episodes, even in its longer format. It’s clear that viewing habits are changing, especially amongst 15-34s where the shift away from live is more pronounced, but advertisers are capable of adapting to turn these challenges into opportunities with dual screening and multimedia story telling.

One of the most significant shifts since Touchpoints debuted its survey in 2006, has been an increase from 79% to 92% of people consuming two or more media channels in the same hour at some point during the week. More than a quarter are even using three in any hour.

The on-demand generation presents some of the toughest challenges for advertisers. There are zero advertising opportunities on Netflix, for example, a platform that is viewed by 19% of all adults each week – up from 16% in 2016 – and includes 39% of millennials.

Elsewhere, music streaming’s popularity is on the rise, with 38% of all adults listening each week, rising to 55% for 15- to 24-year-olds. Meanwhile, a huge 76% of all adults now use social media and/or social messaging every week, up from 71% in 2016. Unsurprisingly, these figures rise for millennials (95% and 93% respectively).

Facebook continues to dominate, reaching 83% of millennials and 62% of all adults each week. Year-on-year growth for the network is slowing though, up 1% and 3% respectively. WhatsApp and Snapchat weekly usage, meanwhile, grew 22% and 17% among all adults.
Belinda Beeftink, the IPA’s deputy director of research, highlights the importance of context in navigating this fragmented diet: “For advertisers and agencies, it means they have to be very clear about the context of particular behaviour — when people are viewing it and why, what their motivations are.”

With more opportunities than ever to reach out to the UK population, advertisers also have more tools at their disposal to understand this audience. What hasn’t changed is the importance of putting the consumer first. By getting to know their motivations, understanding the media context and delivering messaging in a creative way we can ensure that we add to their media consumption, rather than interrupting or taking away.