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Headquarters: Menlo Park, United States
Founded: 2004
Industry: Social media

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Facebook is an American social media and technology company, owning social media and communication platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp.

Read the full Facebook study here

TV advertising research for Facebook

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with more than 1 billion users. Its revenue comes from advertising, and as consumer attention is increasingly being split between various online and digital sources, it’s important that those who buy or sell ad space understand this behavior.

"The captive attention on which television marketers once relied no longer exists. The constant stream of distractions has made it harder for advertisers to know what content engages an audience and what is ignored. As revealed through the study Tobii Pro conducted for Facebook, eye tracking provides marketers with unbiased and accurate insight on what commercials need to have to be more compelling and relevant to the public.”

Mike Bartels
Senior Research Director, Tobii Pro , Senior Research Director, Tobii Pro

The question

Facebook IQ, the social network’s research division, wanted to get an accurate understanding of how people watch TV in their homes, and how frequently their attention was diverted to other devices, especially during commercial breaks. The company was hoping to see what role devices such as tablets, computers, and phones play in distracting people while watching TV, and when/how multiple devices are used simultaneously.

The method

Facebook IQ and Tobii Pro’s research consultancy division, Tobii Pro Insight, partnered to run an in-home eye tracking study in the US. People in four cities were given eye tracking glasses on a weeknight and asked to wear them as they went about their normal evening routines. The data from 100 participants who chose to watch TV was then analyzed. By collecting data in participants’ homes, it was possible to solicit more natural behavior and in turn more authentic results.

The outcome

The study revealed that 94% of the participants kept a smartphone nearby while watching TV, proving that mobile and TV are a very strong combination. On average, when participants were watching TV their eyes were diverted from the screen 47% of the time. Different distractions in the home drew their attention away most often, followed by smartphones and screens on other digital devices. Another major finding was that when participants were not looking at their TV, they still heard it – which led Facebook to recommend that advertisers create TV ads with engaging and memorable audio.

Read the Facebook study Mobile and TV: Between the Screens

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