It’s a fact that where consumers go, marketers will follow. Television, radio, and newspapers used to be the most popular channels to reach audiences, even though the marketing opportunities were somewhat limited. While the beloved television hasn’t lost it’s glow with consumers, TV sets alone are no longer enough to feed their craving for content. The advancement of digital devices means consumers are now constantly distracted by TV, social media, online content, and more. 

With this killer combo comes a new challenge: a consumer’s interactions are becoming shorter as multiple devices often demand their attention at once. As such, brands that want to build an omnipresent online footprint must spread their marketing collateral across a range of channels in a way that engages and captures consumers’ interest.

 

Google, in collaboration with Sterling Brands and Ipsos, recently released a report “The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-platform Consumer Behavior,” in which they tracked the behaviour of the always-on consumer. They uncovered that 90 percent of the time is spent on screen-based devices such as smartphones, computers, tablets, or television. The other 10 percent is devoted to traditional media such as newspapers or magazines.

However, when it comes to individual sessions, consumers spend on average 26 minutes more watching TV than looking at their smartphone. Below is a breakdown of the amount of time devoted to different device categories.

  • 17 minutes on smartphones
  • 30 minutes on tablets
  • 39 minutes on computers
  • 43 minutes on TV

These timeframes may seem enough to get your message across but remember consumers visit several websites and switch TV channels where many other brands are vying for their attention. This means that when delivering content, brands will have to make every minute count. In content marketing, for example, every article should boil down to the first five seconds as this is a crucial time during which readers decide whether or not to leave the page. Content should therefore be to the point, be meaningful, use catchy headlines, and be visually appealing, especially for smartphone users who are likely to scan through content.  

 

Beyond time spent, the report also uncovered what consumers are looking for on each device, which will further help brands distributing the right content to the right channel. For example:

  • Computers are used to search for information (and are typically used at home).
  • Smartphones are used for more bite-sized content consumption — and to keep people connected.
  • Tablets are used for entertainment purposes such as browsing the net and playing games.

Brands looking to incite consumer interest at all times, regardless of intent and device usage, should take advantage of  the multiscreen trend, which is divided into sequential usage and simultaneous usage. Ninety percent of consumers use multiple screens sequentially in order to reach a specific goal, with the top activities per device being: 

According to the report, most sequential users start with a smartphone then move on to a PC or a tablet, although fewer people prefer the latter route. 

For simultaneous device users, the most common screen combinations are smartphone and television (81%), smartphone and laptop/PC (66%), and laptop/PC and TV (66%). The top activities per device category are: 

These trends show that consumers have different needs and preferences when interacting with content. Identifying the channels customers most prominently cycle through is an effective way to connect with customers where they already are. Investing in a single channel might get clicks, but buyers of today require more fluidity with their content consumption. They might hear an ad on TV as they get dressed in the morning, watch the ad on their smartphone as they take the train to work, then visit your online store on their PC during their lunch hour.

And with all the distractions that come with multi screen usage, it’s important to make content easily to discover, share, and save for future use. They might not have time to read a blog post they accidentally stumbled upon during the day, but there should be a way for them to come back to it as they lie in bed that night, even if they use a different device.  

Your audiences are everywhere and so should your content be.