"We’ll be right back after these messages!”

What do you do when the fade away starts happening on your TV screen? Toilet break? Grab a snack? Or perhaps even send a tweet or two about how terrific that caramel crème brulee looked during the dessert challenge.

Research by Say Media, a global digital media company revealed that in America, almost a third of the adult online population do not consume live television, and prefer consuming video content through recording devices and downloadable sources. According to Matt Rosenberg, vice president of Say Media, about 20% of Americans own a digital video recorder while that number goes up to 40% in Australia. “Its safe to say that in Australia, the consumption of on-demand or streamed video content would be of an even higher percentage,” Rosenberg tells Marketing.

“Its crucial to understand the objective of a marketing campaign to determine whether or not television should be the chosen medium for advertising. Television is still effective if the goal is to get high reach to a mass audience with high frequency,” says Rosenberg. However, he warns that the cost of television advertising might not make it the most effective medium if brands were after a specific target group.

“Focussed advertising that reaches and attracts a particular group of consumers that have their unique media consumption habits will make advertising not only more cost-effective, but also a lot more relevant to a larger group of people.

According to the Off The Grid research, a growing number of online users are turning to other forms of TV consumption other than live TV programming to make their media consumption more efficient through choice and control.

“When a viewer thinks about the time he spends watching an advertisement versus the time he spends skipping it, or even not having to watch it at all, and how easy this is done, the choice is simple, he chooses to avoid it,” says Rosenberg.

Rosenberg advises that one important way to ensure consumers do tune in to advertising is to make it highly relevant.

“When advertising messages are in line with the target audience’s lifestyle or feeds into their needs and desires, then voluntary consumption of advertising is more likely to occur”.

With a growing number of TV viewers turning online for video entertainment, digital advertising should be used effectively in order not to lose this valuable group of consumers.

Rosenberg explains: “Our research found that the main reason people do not like TV ads is because they find them intrusive, repetitive and irrelevant. With digital, we can avoid this by placing advertising in clear but non-intrusive positions. More importantly though, with digital advertising, we can align advertisements that will interest and gain voluntary attention from the targeted audience.”

With consumers who view opt-in advertising boosting four times higher ad recall, Rosenberg however advises that digital advertising must be supported by powerful creative and content in order to work.

“Most companies use impressions as a way to gauge how effective a piece of online advertising is. However, there is a very strong likelihood that brands are paying for impressions that are in fact not making any impressions at all.”

“Cost-per-engagement, on the other hand, is an alternate model that only charges brands for the number of engagements an ad has with a consumer. Engagement happens when a consumer opt-in to view an ad or clicks through to a landing site.” Says Duncan Arthur, general manager of Say Media Australia & New Zealand.