Facebook is gradually attaining parity with TV as a mass medium. During working hours, the social network has already beaten the boob tube in consumer media time spent.
The Frank N. Magid Associates Generational Strategies study surveyed consumers of various ages about how they spend their media time throughout the day. Between 9am and 5pm, more consumers surveyed reported using Facebook than watching TV. This was true for each age group broken out from ages 15 to 46. Among the youngest consumer group, 8- to 14-year-olds dubbed “iGens,” 16% logged on to Facebook during those hours, the same percentage who said they tuned in to TV.
Baby boomers were the only exception. Those surveyed preferred TV over Facebook at all hours. But these older folks still aren’t ignoring Facebook—26% of those surveyed used the social network between 9am and 5pm.
Millennials were the most stalwart Facebook users during the work day. Thirty percent of teen millennials (ages 15 to 17) spent time on the social network, vs. 24% who spent time with TV. Among adult millennials, 44% said they went on Facebook (presumably while at work or school) during the 9am to 5pm period, while 28% watched TV.
For marketers interested in testing social media ads, daytime is prime for engaging a large swath of Facebook users, particularly millennial users. As Matt Britton, CEO of Mr. Youth, a boutique agency which specializes in marketing to millennials, told eMarketer: “Facebook is not necessarily a strategy anymore. It’s sort of like ground zero in terms of reaching [the millennial] audience.”
But the evening hours, including primetime, remain the best time for TV ads as audiences of all ages begin to lose interest in Facebook and pay more attention to television. Each age group, though, has its own quirks about TV vs. social media usage during those hours.
The iGens are perhaps sneaking a little Facebook check-in while mom makes dinner since 41% said they use the social network between 5pm and 8pm. But significantly more (59%) are viewing TV during that daypart.
Around 40% of millennials surveyed say they continue to use Facebook into the evening hours, but a much higher percentage (between 43% and 51%) say they watch TV.
Gen Xers use Facebook at night too, but twice as many say they prefer TV at that time.
Fifty-four percent of boomers are watching TV between 5pm and 8pm, and that percentage balloons to 70% between 8pm and 11pm. This compares to only 21% and 23% of boomer TV watchers during those periods, respectively, who are using Facebook.