They Say Timing Isn’t Everything, But These Numbers Beg to Differ

Photo by Florian Biedermann on Unsplash

I recently heard someone say “timing isn’t everything,” in that it shouldn’t be at the top of your to-do list as a general rule. I thought, fair enough. It doesn’t have to be the #1 priority all the time, that much is true. But it’s still up there, regardless of your line of work. In marketing, it’s as important as any other issue.

Getting the content right is usually a non issue in marketing. Basically, you just need “something” that can be used in a campaign. It’s not a priority – it’s a must! Without the content, you don’t have marketing, period. Now, since content creators are everywhere, putting together a colorful banner or a video is not a pressing issue. What you do with that content is much more important.

The timing, the platform you choose to display it on, and even the analytics play crucial roles in the success of the campaign that you already have on your hands.

Notice I mentioned timing first. With so much choice floating around today, audiences are swayed not by originality, but by what has just appeared on their screen, right there, right then. Moments later, your window of opportunity could be closed. Which means if you want to get the word out, you need to get the timing right by the millisecond.

Take Twitter. People use it to keep tabs on virtually everything. Humor, fashion, tech, Taylor Swift, the Curiosity Rover, facts of life, IT security, phones, food, you name it. Your product competes with all of them, even if you don’t do comedy, apparel, tech, entertainment, or unmanned missions to Mars. So what you need to do is follow the trends and see where – and most importantly when – you can squeeze your pitch best.

When, where and how

Here to help is an all-inclusive Nielsen study that tells marketers and advertisers alike what are the peak usage periods for individual platforms and services (TV, radio, social media, etc.). for what type of content and for what audiences. It’s a treasure trove of information for anyone interested in reaching out to a particular demographic with a particular something. Did you know that on any given Friday at around 9PM, more than 144 million Americans are stuck to the tube? Okay, that one was simple. Here’s something you can really chew on:

Weekday media usage for people 18 or older (data extracted in May, this year):


  • Between 6PM-6AM, TV accounts for at least half of all media use.
  • TV-connected devices make up a larger share of the average audience into the late evening.
  • Radio usage is greatest between 6AM-6PM, with 40% share during the heaviest usage hour of 7AM – surpassing television.
  • The PC audience aligns with daytime working hours of 9AM-4PM with around 11 million adults.
  • Smartphone and tablet average audience is more stable, accounting for about one in six adult media users throughout the day.

What about the weekends?

So that’s the weekdays, but let’s see how people consume content on Saturdays and Sundays. After all, this is when everyone has more time on their hands. Well, according to the same research, TV usage continues to peak at around 9PM and makes up almost two-thirds of the audience; people make more use of their TV-connected devices across all hours (both on Saturday and on Sunday); Radio and PC get neglected a bit; and smartphone and tablet usage remains almost the same as during the weekdays. Of course, this is nothing compared to the more-complex usage scenarios on smartphones and computers.

The full report breaks down these numbers, describing: total digital video usage year-over-year; total overall media usage by demographic; average time spent per adult (per platform); weekly time spent in hours and minutes by age for the US population; overall users by medium (in hours and minutes or composite among different demographics); cross platform homes ranked by in-home streaming behavior; smartphone video viewing quintiles; provider type with Internet status; mobile device penetration, and more. If you’re in the business of promoting something, don’t just read it – memorize it!

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