It appears that the first generation of consumers who cannot recall a time without mobile technology may be living a kind of digital “bright shiny object syndrome” —which in turn impacts how they process and absorb information (and marketing messages).
In a groundbreaking study commissioned media colossus Time, Inc., researchers at Innerscope Research used biometric monitoring devices (sophisticated technology that remotely measures human emotional responses to different stimuli) and point of view cameras to study the behaviors of two kinds of people: “Digital Immigrants,” or adults who experienced the advent of mobile technology and came to adapt it, and “Digital Natives,” those who have grown up with cordless phones, television remotes and a wide range of other wireless gadgets.
The subjects of this study underwent 300 of monitoring in order to gauge their emotions and actions while using various types of technology available to them.
As Betsy Frank, Chief Research & Insights Officer for Time Inc., explained, “Using biometrics, we were able to drill down even deeper to the emotional experience and subconscious behavior of these audiences.”
The research showed that:
- Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of the Digital Natives (compared to 41 percent of the Digital Immigrants) carried their mobile devices with them whenever they went from one room of their residence to another.
- Digital Natives switched from one device to another, such as from smartphone to tablet to watching TV, an average of once every two to three minutes.
- Digital Natives displayed less emotional connection to what they were doing on their devices—as soon as something on one device bored them, they merely switched to another gadget.
- More than half of the Digital Natives admitted they prefer texting other people to actually talking with them. Less than 30 percent of Digital Immigrants shared that view.
Researchers also noted major differences in how the two study groups dealt with information from their devices. While Digital Immigrants tended to take a more linear approach (i.e., followed a story or concept from beginning to middle to end), Digital Natives, who still wanted beginnings, middles and endings, could process them regardless of what order the story or concept’s components were received.
For marketers, this study suggests it’s important to tailor campaigns, messages and delivery methods for different audiences.
“This study strongly suggests…(that) modern media consumption is rewiring the brains of a generation of Americans like never before,´ said Dr. Carl Marci, CEO and Chief Scientist at Innerscope Research. “Storytellers and marketers in this digital age will continue to face an increasingly complex environment with a higher bar for engaging an audience of consumers.”