May 14, 2013 Leave a comment
Most consumers today don’t limit themselves to a single device to check out deals, compare competing offers and get reviews from family and friends. They use a combination of phones, tablets, computers and TVs to consume and share digital content.
While each of these has a significant role in our consumption today, the important objective for marketers is to harness the power of how the devices are used together—in combination. Ninety percent of all of our media consumption, or 4.4 hours per day, is happening across all four (which doesn’t leave much room for paper-based books and publications or for radio). This not only has implications for how content is designed, but also for how companies like Google will continue to hedge their bets across all four screens.
This infographic by Google depicts the multi-screen media consumption pattern:
With simultaneous usage, around 77% of viewers watch TV with another device in hand. In many cases, people search on their devices, inspired by what they see on TV. This means cross-media campaigns can help you make the most of consumers’ simultaneous usage across screens.
As marketers, we need to understand both the multi-screening patterns to be able to plan our brand communication strategy. In a study conducted by Microsoft Advertising with Flamingo Research and Ipsos, consumers are combining devices in new ways to multi-task, amplify experiences, connect with others and get things done. The new research shows four common multi-screen pathways and consumer needs that drive each:
This is one of the most common tendencies, with 68 percent of consumers having multiple responsibilities and using two or more screens simultaneously to access unrelated content. For example, I usually watch a show on TV while checking emails on my PC and sharing tweets with my mobile phone.
As the second most common multi-screening pathway, 57 percent of consumers use this approach. It involves consumers investigating on multiple devices at the same time, either to gather more information or to explore. While watching movies on TV, many of us look up the other movies in which the lead actors have appeared on our tablets or PCs.
The research indicated that 46 percent of consumers fall in the quantum category. In this case, productivity and efficiency are paramount as consumers are trying to accomplish tasks. Each screen separately and additively takes them closer to achieving their goals. In other words, you snap a picture of a pair of shoes on your mobile that you see for sale while shopping and then look up reviews about the shoes on your PC at home before purchasing.
This is the least common multi-screening pathway with only 39 percent consumers engaging this way. These consumers are extroverted. They are focused on sharing content and connecting with others across devices. One example could be that you beat your friend’s high score for a game on your Xbox and then use Skype or social media to brag about your win to friends.
How can we as marketers make use of this knowledge and integrate it in our marketing? Here are a few steps that could improve our customers’ experiences and brand engagement as they consume content on multiple screens:
Be available on multiple technology formats
This not only involves making your content available on multiple screens but also requires you to format the content for each platform.
- Provide content appropriate to the device. Think where your potential customers use the device and the tasks usually performed by them. People usually access a restaurant website through their mobile phones when they are in the vicinity, looking for directions and interested in specials of the day to make up their mind which restaurants to visit. Therefore, it is a good idea to have directions, specials menus and click-to-call numbers to reserve tables on the home page of your restaurant’s mobile website.
- Allow the entire experience to occur on multiple forms of technology, such as providing podcasts for webinars on your website.
- Develop targeted content to engage audience on different platforms, especially mobile. To illustrate, Canadian retailers offer specific mobile apps to help customers locate the nearest stores that support their favorite programs and check for in-store offers to boost their reward totals.
- Enable social sharing, commenting and reviews on all formats.
Encourage simultaneous media consumption
Share product information and offers in multiple formats and platforms. Adding social layers on top of core content helps you to deepen your relationship with your audience, enhancing the experience of engaging with your brand and extending the opportunity for further interaction.
A travel infographic published by Monetate indicates that 61% of those shopping for a hotel room refer to traveler-submitted reviews when booking their rooms. This shows that majority of hotel bookings are, in some way, influenced by hotels’ online presence and reputations. Therefore, when hotels focus on becoming known presences on social media through engaging content, offers and contests; it makes readers feel comfortable with their properties. This trust translates into increased association with the hotels.
These tips could help you keep audiences engaged while accessing your brand through different platforms:
- Engage users on social media platforms with social sharing.
- Provide (extra) entertainment with behind-the-scenes looks and/or extensions of content.
- Allow for other forms of interaction such as gaming and comments.
Go beyond using your primary media platform
Think of other platforms to offer related information about your products. The goal is to provide information to support your main content to give your audiences a reason to further engage with your brand. Can you extend the users’ experience across platforms? Think about making distinct variations of your content:
- Allow users to participate with comments, ratings and/or other forms of content such as photos and videos.
- Provide updates on new products and services on SlideShare.
- Feature related information, such as how-to advice and training manuals on specific tools.
Consumers are connected for nearly all their waking hours, so you need to be careful that your audience does not get tired of your content. Therefore, it becomes that much more important to make your content stand out by tailoring it for the platform and users’ needs at various points in time.
Do you target multi-screen users? If so, how does it improve your brand’s engagement with your customers? And how do you adapt your messaging to work with different channels of digital interaction?