Navigating the new multi-screen world: Insights show how consumers use different devices together

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 | 8:00 AM

How many times have you started reading an email on your phone while commuting, and then continued it on your laptop when you got home? Or perhaps you saw a commercial for a new car and then used your tablet to search for the specs and see it in action? If these things sound familiar, that’s because they’re all part of the new norm in multi-screen behavior.

In “The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior,” we discovered that 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal, whether that’s on smartphones, PCs, tablets or TV. We set out to learn not just how much of our media consumption happens on screens, but also how we use these multiple devices together, and what that means for the way that businesses connect with consumers. Below are highlights from our research:

                                           

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Two primary ways we multi-screen
In understanding what it means to multi-screen, we discovered two main modes of usage:

  • Sequential screening where we move from one device to another to complete a single goal
  • Simultaneous screening where we use multiple devices at the same time




We found that nine out of ten people use multiple screens sequentially and that smartphones are by far the most common starting point for sequential activity. So completing a task like booking a flight online or managing personal finances doesn’t just happen in one sitting on one device. In fact, 98% of sequential screeners move between devices in the same day to complete a task.  

With simultaneous usage, we found that TV no longer commands our undivided attention, with 77% of viewers watching TV with another device in hand. In many cases people search on their devices, inspired by what they see on TV.

So what does this all mean for marketers? It’s important to understand both the sequential and simultaneous multi-screening patterns. Sequential screeners will start interacting with you on one device and then pick up where they left off on another, so making experiences seamless between devices is key. Additionally, cross-media campaigns can help you make the most of consumers’ simultaneous usage across screens.

Search is a critical connector as we move between devices
We also found that when people use screens sequentially to complete an activity, they often use search to pick up where they left off. 





So not only is it important for companies to allow customers to save their progress between devices, they should also use tactics like keyword parity to ensure that they can be found easily via search when that customer moves to the next device.

Turning “spur-of-the-moment” activity into valuable opportunities
The accessibility of our devices enables us to use micro-moments in the day to get things done, such as search, shop, communicate and keep entertained. We found that people often turn to nearby devices to complete spur-of-the-moment activity. In fact, 80% of the searches that happen on smartphones are spur-of-the-moment, and 44% of these spontaneous searches are goal-oriented. We see examples of this in our daily lives, for instance, suddenly realizing that you forgot to make a dinner reservation and reaching for your phone to find a restaurant.  




For marketers, this combination of device accessibility and spur-of-the-moment usage means there are now more opportunities to connect with consumers, so businesses have to make sure they’re present and optimized across multiple screens.

Learn more about multi-screening
Check out all of our findings and what they mean for businesses by downloading the full research report.  Additionally, we will be discussing the research and specific strategies that businesses can take to succeed in a multi-screen world in tomorrow’s webinar at 10am PDT/1pm EDT on Thursday August 30th.

Register here and we look forward to sharing more multi-screen insights with you soon.

Posted by Dai Pham, Google Mobile Ads Marketing

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