Biometric Research Looks at Generational Divide
How do younger generations of consumers engage with different media platforms compared to those of older generations? This was the biometric research question central to a study conducted by Time Inc., one of the largest branded media companies in the world. With the ever-present influence of digital and mobile technology platforms in our everyday lives, it’s hard to imagine exactly how different life was before modern advances in technology and how our habits and perceptions have adapted over time. Using biometric monitoring by Innerscope Research and a national sample survey, Time Inc. investigated “A Biometric Day in the Life.”
In the study, those who grew up with mobile technology as part of their everyday lives were referred to as “Digital Natives,” while those who learned how to use mobile technology in their adult lives were called “Digital Immigrants.” The study took place in the subjects’ homes, as their behaviors were observed throughout the day. Subjects wore biometric belts to monitor emotional response, and eye tracking glasses were used to determine which form of media they were using and when their visual attention was altered.
As a Digital Native, the results are not surprising to me; however it’s nice to know that I’m not as bad as some when it comes to my consumption of digital media. The results showed that Digital Natives switch their attention between media forms (i.e. TV, cell phone, computer, tablets, etc) about 27 times per hour, or every other minute. They also tend to keep their mobile devices with them at all times, with their smartphones never more than arm’s reach away. The rapid switching between media is attributed to short attention span, meaning Digital Natives experience weaker emotional responses to media. Digital Immigrants prefer to consume media linearly, which indicates they like to see a beginning, middle, and end instead of fragmented tidbits like the younger generations.
The implications of this study are that marketers and advertisers will need to get creative in finding ways to capture the attention of younger generations for the brief fragments of time. Just as our behaviors are adapting to the new technological environment, companies will have to continually modify their approaches to capture our attention.
For more details on the research, check out Time Inc. Study
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