Anyone who watches Black Mirror, who has seen Banksy’s work, or who simply hops on a bus during rush hour will  recognise that 21st-century scenario hordes of people too engrossed with the screen in front of their face to have any awareness of what’s going on around them.

Most of us are probably guilty of committing ‘screen sin’ in one way or another, whether it’s lapsing into distracted silence at a restaurant or ‘dual-screening’ while watching a TV programme and ending up with no idea what actually happened. As an advertiser, this presents an array of ways in which to target users effectively throughout their always-on day. But what about those amongst us who choose not to follow the portable browsing trend?


4.7 million people  do not own a smartphone, tablet or laptop

Over 600,000 are 18-24 and not all D E men

They believe “life was better before the internet”


Perhaps surprisingly, YouGov research shows us that as many as nine per cent  9% of adults do not actually own a smartphone, tablet or laptop. This equates to a huge number of around 4.7 million people.

The Profiles tool, which we use regularly to help our clients define their audience and to plan their media campaigns, can tell us who this group are, their attitudes to technology and media, and where the opportunities are to engage with them.

Defining the Audience

It would be tempting to assume that this group are predominantly older, but Profiles provides some interesting demographic insights. Nearly half of them are under 55, and over 600,000 are 18–24, a group often maligned for their obsession with technology! The audience is slightly male biased, and most likely to fall under social grade D or E – although nearly a quarter of them are upmarket A’s or B’s. Overall, a more diverse audience than may have been expected is revealed, and this should be reflected in attempts to target them.

Get Inside Their Minds

An evaluation of the audience’s responses to YouGov’s many attitude statements can be a helpful way to build up a picture of how they think. When it comes to technology attitudes, the reasoning behind their lack of devices seems clear: large numbers of them feel “life was better before the internet”; they “don’t understand the decisions made by computers”, and they feel that concepts such as augmented reality and wearable technology are just fads, and that we rely too heavily on digital assistants and robots.

Moving  onto this audience’s thoughts regarding media, a couple of potentially useful themes jump out at us. Two of their highest-indexing statements in this category are that they are happy to pay for online access to both newspaper and magazine content. This would suggest that their schedule still contains a certain amount of internet browsing, at a time when they are prepared to give it their full attention, and seeking the premium content. Another pair of high-ranking statements tell us, with a variation in wording, that the audience is likely to enjoy watching TV ads. Could this be an interesting result of having no second screen to turn to – or just a fortunate coincidence?

Discover Their Media Consumption Habits

As you might expect, the way this audience is defined is reflected in their internet usage. A figure of 61% going online several times a day may sound like a reasonable chunk, but we see most audiences above 90% for this metric. They are most likely to access it less than once a day, which makes sense given that under 40% actually own a desktop computer. The question then is whether this extra time manifests itself in higher engagement with other media?

The figures for consumption of live television seem to back their assertion that they enjoy the adverts, with a strong index against heavy TV use. Their interest in newspaper and magazine websites is also reinforced, with heavy use in both categories, despite the reduced time online. Similarly, their social media stats defy their reduced internet access, with 63% still managing to achieve medium or heavy use. We might have assumed that less screen time when travelling would mean seeing outdoor formats more frequently, but the figures are actually below average. This may be partly explained by this demographic’s particularly heavy consumption of print newspapers and magazines.

This is just a snapshot of the insights available through the Profiles tool, but it highlights how useful the tool can be in defining your audience and planning advertising campaigns. The research shows that the ‘screenless’ crowd can still be reached successfully online with the right channel selection, and that they don’t entirely conform to our expectations when it comes to traditional media, and this ability to prove assumptions right or wrong is key. Get in touch with us today to see how this sort of insight can benefit your business.