Real Living 2021: The key findings

Posted on: Tuesday 16 November 2021 | IAB UK

How are we using digital devices today? What’s changed? And what does it mean for advertising?

Real Living sets out to take the pulse of the nation’s digital habits, discover what’s changing and - crucially - what this means for advertisers. Having first conducted the study in 2015, the time was ripe to bring it back this year and discover how the turbulence of the past 18 months has impacted our relationship with digital devices. 

Working with Sparkler, part of PA Consulting, we conducted a quantitative survey with a total nationally representative sample of 2,000 people - including specific deep dives into CTV watchers, ecommerce users, gamers and digital audio listeners. These sector-specific insights have been released throughout the year at our Specialism Weeks. 

We are now releasing the overall Real Living findings - drawing on both the quantitative survey, as well as qualitative interviews and passive tracking with 27 people. IAB UK members can download the full report below to explore the key takeouts, including… 

  • We are spending more time with digital devices than ever, providing advertisers with an 18-hour window to engage with online audiences every day. While an average of five digital devices are used per day, the smartphone is the most popular by far with 80% using it daily and 41% saying that it has changed the way they consume entertainment at home.
  • Understanding consumers’ engagement mindset is key. With so many digital channels now available to us, effective ad targeting relies on understanding people’s mood-state and mindset when they are engaging with individual media. We have created an innovative guide that works across 13 digital media categories to understand the engagement mindset for each​.
  • Consumers’ understanding of digital advertising has grown, and as a result their expectations have increased. They are clearer about what they do and don’t like when it comes to advertising, with agency, relevance and control all being important factors.

You must be a member of the IAB UK to view this content. If you are not a member you can find out more here.

Written by


Related content

James Chandler

Advertisers, ignore geriatric gamers and it's game over

Our CMO James Chandler draws on the findings from Real Living to explore how gaming audiences are evolving. This piece was first published by Campaign in...

Learn more

CTV Week: 5 things we learnt

Want to catch up? Read our round up of key themes from CTV Week

Learn more
abstract background

Real Living: Understanding CTV viewers

The latest findings from our Real Living study explore the huge CTV market. Who’s watching? How? And what do they feel about ads?

Learn more

Listen up! Here’s what we learnt at Audio Week

We pull together the key takeouts from our third Specialism Week of 2021 - and this time it’s all about audio

Learn more

Why digital advertising works

Discover why digital advertising is effective for reaching your customers and building brands.