Many television advertisers voice fears that distracted viewers -- those increasingly frenetic multi-taskers using smartphones, laptops and tablets while viewing TV - are becoming less receptive to advertisers' messages.
The new study refutes this conventional wisdom and concludes that the second screen puts a virtual store in every consumer's pocket.
"The second screen -- the one on your phone or computer -- is feared by television advertisers," said one of the researchers, Jura Liaukonyte, from Cornell University in the US.
"However, this point of view misses the upside of a second screen -- the TV viewer now has a virtual store in front of her. Multi-tasking viewers now rapidly respond online to price promotions and other information communicated through TV ads," Liaukonyte said.
Multi-tasking viewers now visit, browse and even buy advertised products within moments of seeing a commercial, the study added. The researchers matched a large panel dataset of Internet browsing and shopping, with data about $3.4 billion of TV advertising spent by 20 large brands, including Amazon, AT&T, Target and Domino's.
"We wondered if ads that use direct-response tactics - like flashing URLs repeatedly or offering a short-term price promotion -- would increase brand website traffic or sales by multi-taskers," Liaukonyte said. "It turns out, they did both," Liaukonyte said. The study was published online in the journal of Marketing Science.