Your audience is tired in the morning. Help them out!

New research reinforces findings that media preferences change based on the time of day

Revmade regularly scours the internet for new studies that offer important insights for marketers. Then we write them up for you in as few words as possible. (Want to get them emailed to you? Sign up here.

How many times have you listened to the re-release of Red this past week? While Swifties may be constantly tuned in, new research suggests that most people alter their listening habits throughout the day, according to Royal Society Open House, a journal that publishes original science-and math-based research.

Case in point (in their words): “By analysing audio features from over two billion music streaming events on Spotify, we find that the music people listen to divides into five distinct time blocks corresponding to morning, afternoon, evening, night and late night/early morning. … Our results demonstrate how music intertwines with our daily lives and highlight how even something as individual as musical preference is influenced by underlying diurnal patterns.”

Why should you care? It may seem obvious that your music choices will change throughout the day. You might want to listen to something motivational in the morning or soothing at night, and that’s exactly what the research data indicates.

But have you given any thought to how similar shifts in content or format preferences change among your audience throughout a day? This finding from Open House follows a series of studies from past years examining other ways that consumers’ content preferences change from morning to evening.

  • Viewers Prefer Distinct Genres Based on Time of Day: Netflix data showed that certain genres of programming tended to peak at different times throughout the day. “People prefer comedies in the morning; dramas during midday hours; thrillers in primetime; comedies (again) in late-night; and documentaries in the wee hours.”
  • How Time of Day Impacts Consumer Decision Making: A study conducted by the Wharton School of Business found that consumers wanted fewer decisions in the morning as compared to the afternoon and evening. “In the morning, we tend not to want stimulation so much, driven by our circadian rhythm. In the afternoon, we’re more interested in stimulation, so we choose more variety as a result.”

Your audiences will innately have similar preferences. The question is how can you best match your marketing to fit their needs?

What can you do next? With these studies in mind, imagine the potential for implications for formats, mediums, and tones that could be more resonant in the morning compared to the end of the day. We brainstormed ways to try to get the most out of your messaging.

  • Try out a “one big thing” email in the morning: With audiences either just waking up or maybe still waiting to sip their first coffee at their desk, don’t overtax them. Focusing their attention on your single-best content bet (instead of a digest approach) could be a winning formula for getting more clickthroughs and attention.
  • Post your “TED Talk clips” after the workday: Based on the findings from Royal Society Open House and Netflix, with audiences in this body of research engaging with speech-laden content most often in the evening and later at night, it may be worth trying out some social posts that fall past your typical posting time. As always, test to be sure that this is what your brand’s audience wants!
  • Optimize promotion for length: Are readers getting into your short- or long-form content at specific times of day? Dig into your analytics platforms and use the answer to help program your landing pages and distribution channels to improve content completion (and, hopefully, conversion).

TL;DR: Your audience’s groggy behavior in the morning will differ from their (relative) attentiveness in the evening. Tweak your marketing strategy accordingly for better results.

Need to rethink your morning marketing mix? Reach out to us for more info.




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