IAB Research Identifies Opportunities for Brands to Engage with Consumers Throughout the Day During Their Own ‘Personal Prime Times’

Reveals a Range of Moments for Maximum Engagement by Analyzing How Consumers Give Attention and Gain Value from Interactions with Episodic Shows, Music, News, Podcasts, Short Videos, Social Media & Weather Across Dayparts and Digital Screens

BARCELONA, SPAIN (February 27, 2018) —The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) today released research that shows how consumers are creating their own “personal prime times”—points of highly concentrated engagement throughout the day, which offer valuable advertising opportunities across a range of content verticals and digital screens. Entitled “Personal Prime Time,” the report demonstrates that brands should no longer expect a single, universal moment of greatest engagement. While audience size might shift between different times of day, every daypart is ripe for meaningful consumer connections.

The study looks at the consumer journey through the lens of seven diverse content types—Episodic Shows, Music, News, Podcasts, Short Videos, Social Media, and Weather. In each case, the report acknowledges audience density in specific dayparts, but then provides findings to reveal that “traditional reach” metrics miss the consumer perspective on the “need state” that drives them to turn to content at any given time. Diving in further, the research begins to take a range of consumer attributes (e.g., age, parental status) and device usage into account, to allow for better targeting across dayparts and platforms.

For example, while majorities of both Millennials and Boomers check social media regularly, the research identifies key differences between these two generations:

  • 82% of Millennials report that they check social media during various dayparts or all day long, while 66% of Boomers report the same
  • The top “need states” driving Millennials to check social media are to “pass the time” and “be entertained,” versus Boomers are looking to “connect with others”
  • Device choice differs as well, with Millennials preferring mobile devices and Boomers opting to check social media on their computers

“In the age of ‘big data’ it makes no sense for advertisers to place their focus solely on big numbers, when they can take advantage of insights that can help them pinpoint the right customer, the right way, at the right time,” said Anna Bager, Executive Vice President, Industry Initiatives, IAB. “This report only scratches the surface of what contexts, drivers, and modes will lead to optimal brand engagement—and we plan to delve even further to shine a spotlight on opportunities for marketers and publishers.”

“Historically, as an industry, we have taken a crowd-level view of when the best time is to reach consumers, but this study shows brands a different path,” said Chris Kuist, Senior Vice President, Research and Impact, IAB. “These findings suggest that a more modern approach is to take a truly consumer-level view. When you do that, you can tap into a wealth of factors that can tailor marketing messages and creative to optimize for engagement.”

“Personal Prime Time” was released at “IAB and dmexco @ Mobile World Congress” and is available for download at

The survey was fielded among Maru/Matchbox’s Springboard America online panel (~250,000 U.S. members), January 17 – 23, 2018. The total sample included 1,901 consumers ages 18+ in the U.S., representative by Census.

About IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. Its membership is comprised of more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital advertising or marketing campaigns. The trade group fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing. In affiliation with the IAB Tech Lab, it develops technical standards and best practices. IAB and the IAB Education Foundation are committed to professional development and elevating the knowledge, skills, expertise, and diversity of the workforce across the industry. Through the work of its public policy office in Washington, D.C., IAB advocates for its members and promotes the value of the interactive advertising industry to legislators and policymakers. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City and has a San Francisco office.

IAB Media Contact
Laura Goldberg
[email protected]