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Digital Marketing Trends: How We Spend Time with Media 2018 

24 Jan 2018 Ann D'Adamo

in Media, Digital

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In 2017, U.S. adults spent more than half their day—an average of 12 hours, 1 minute, engaging with media. In 2018, that number is expected to grow by 4 minutes. Although overall time spent in front of a screen appears to be leveling off (people do have to sleep, after all!), digital continues to steal share from traditional media as consumers increasingly spend more time with mobile, social, and video. 

Digital Marketing Trends

Time spent with digital media, which includes desktop/laptop, non-voice mobile, and other connected devices, will total 6 hours, 5 minutes in 2018, representing about half of U.S. adults’ daily time with media. Mobile growth is continued to accelerate, with consumers spending an average of 3 hours, 27 minutes on mobile devices daily—a full 10 minutes more than 2017. Most time on mobile is spent on apps (1 hour, 13 minutes), listening to audio (music/podcasts, 55 minutes), on social networks (44 minutes), or watching video (36 minutes). Non-work-related desktop/laptop use is expected to decline slightly, from 2 hours, 3 minutes in 2017 to 2 hours, 2 minutes in 2018 as consumers shift to mobile.   

Social Media Trends

Consumers are spending an average of one minute per day more on each social media platform. In 2018, U.S. adults are expected to spend 42 minutes on Facebook, 27 minutes on Snapchat, and 26 minutes on Instagram. It’s worth noting that while consumers are spending slightly more time on Snapchat than Instagram, it’s due to the time-consuming nature of messaging on Snapchat over the quick thumb-scrolling content viewed on Instagram.

Connected Devices

Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home are quickly becoming part of a consumer’s daily media landscape. Seventy-two percent of consumers who own a voice assistant say that using it is now part of their daily routine. In 2018, U.S. adults are predicted to spend 36 minutes a day engaging with a connected device.


Although consumers are increasingly spending time on mobile, TV continues to be the most time-consuming traditional media. The average U.S. adult will spend an average of 3:52 hours per day watching TV, however they may still have their mobile phone in hand while they do. TV time includes only content viewed either live or recorded via a television set, and excludes content streamed via OTT services—this instead would count toward digital video usage. Younger viewers are shifting much of their attention to subscription OTT services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu, with adults 18-24 watching significantly more streamed content than traditional TV, a trend that is predicted to scale. In 2018, more than half of the U.S. population will use connected TV at least once a month, and by 2021, that number is expected to grow to 58%.


Whether on their commute or listening at home, Americans continue to spend 1 hour, 26 minutes    listening to traditional radio. Meanwhile, digital audio usage will increase by about two minutes due to the growing number of digital audio channels and the growing popularity of digital assistants.


In 2014, consumers spent about 32 minutes flipping through magazines or reading newspapers. Today, they’re spending about 23 minutes doing so. Although they may be spending less time with print, consumers continue to engage with media brands digitally and niche publications that cater to enthusiast communities are finding new audiences who are seeking a tangible, screen-free experience.

As the media landscape continues to evolve, marketers must consider where their consumers are and when they will be most receptive to their message. Consumers expect an omnichannel strategy that delivers a seamless experience across all touchpoints, whether they’re engaging on social, visiting your website, or using your skill on a smart speaker. Women’s Marketing delivers best-in-class marketing strategy and media services driven by deep insights into your consumer and category. Contact us today to learn more.

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Sources: eMarketer U.S. Time Spent With Media 2017, Edison Media The Smart Audio Report, eMarketer 6 Surprising Facts About the Way We Spend Our Time With Media 2018, eMarketer Six Digital Trends for 2018

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