On one hand, averages don’t always, of course, tell the entire story.
According to the Environment Agency the average level of the River Ouse in York is between 7cm and 57cm in normal conditions. That information wouldn’t have been particularly helpful to anyone who hung around by the river on the ground floor in the Kings Arms pub recently, waiting for their Guinness to settle, as the water levels rose way above 5 metres!
On the other hand, given proper context, averages can reveal a great deal about certain trends, and today’s IAB release of the definitive time online for the second half of 2015 confirms the story of an increasingly multi-device UK population spending more and more time online.
According to UKOM data, from comScore, across July to December last year the UK population was spending, on average, just one minute shy of three hours every day online across one device or another, whether desktop, pc, mobile phone or tablet, in all their forms.
That’s one fifth of an average adult’s recommended waking hours and is up 5% in total from the first six months of last year.
Whether consuming content - written word, video or audio - sharing and commenting; mapping and messaging; searching, researching or shopping; second screening or playing games; checking in and checking out; an average of two hours and fifty-nine minutes of every day was spent online in the UK.
One minute under three hours online every day – pretty much the equivalent time spent if every adult watched Mel Gibson’s early impression of Nicola Sturgeon in “Braveheart”, start to finish, every day – that’s some chunk out of your average waking hours!
Behind the headline number there are some not unexpected trends. Time spent online on mobile phones has grown by 12% H2 2015 over H1 and has now overtaken time online at the desktop or pc – and that includes at work and at home. Nearly one hour twenty minutes online on our phones and just under one hour and a quarter on the desktop device or laptop. Online time on our tablets, large and small, has grown too, by 8%, to nearly half an hour per day.
Last month Statista reported worldwide PC shipments hit an eight-year low in 2015 after declining for the fourth consecutive year. Global shipments dropped by 8 percent in 2015, to the lowest it’s been since 2007 and the UKOM numbers also show a 3% decline in time spent online on desktop PC’s and laptops.
According to comScore the UK leads the world in mobile or cross-device use with 77% of all users either mobile only or PC and mobile combined. We’re just ahead of the United States (75%) and Spain (74%). Among millennials the UK now has 85% living a cross-device life online.
It is for this reason that UKOM is going with multiplatform as its data of record from March 2016 with MMX M-P. As brand advertising follows time spent online and continues to grow, and as the basics of cost effective reach and frequency remain key metrics for many brand advertisers, it is important the industry standard for online audience measurement keeps abreast of all the trends.
Now, I wonder if that pub has dried out yet…?
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