Advertising in a Media Multitasking Era: Considerations and Future Directions

Brittany R.L. Duff, Claire M. Segijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Media multitasking (MMT) is now a common way to engage with media. Flexibility in devices and content allow people to actively manage their attention but also to become distracted from their original goals. Advertising messages are commonly delivered within this environment, yet much advertising research still studies advertising under full attention. Research on MMT (also called multiscreening, dual-screen, cross-screen, divided attention, and social TV) can provide some guidelines on what to consider and expect for messages exposed during multitasking. However, there are also several areas of caution and many unknowns. We discuss theories used to study multitasking effects, theories that might provide some new directions, and the importance of identifying elements related to the audience, tasks, medium, and ad. Advertising effects that were established under direct attention should be revisited within a multitasking context, and we highlight areas that could be particularly affected by multiple media use. Overall, (in)attention as context for message effects will help us to better understand and predict how advertising is perceived in the new normal way of engaging with media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-37
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Advertising
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the students and faculty in the Media and Advertising (MAD) Lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana?Champaign for thoughtful and challenging discussions related to many of the ideas in this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Copyright © 2019, American Academy of Advertising.


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