By Josie Springford
For those of you whoâ€™ve been hiding under a rock or similar inanimate object, Iâ€™m going to make an obvious statement to get you up with the play in the marketing world. The marketing landscape has changed rapidly and dramatically in recent years. Gone are the days where a model would look up at you with a smile from the pages of a newspaper, telling you the features of the mop/toaster/car/dress/coffee they have on offer and how much better your life would be if you owned it.
The 2012 consumer is much savvier than earlier counterparts. Therefore, engaging your target consumer has become more complex than ever before. Knowing how your consumers are behaving is vital when it comes to being able to effectively reach and engage them. With the help of market analysts Ipsos and Sterling Brands, Google recently released a report on how todayâ€™s consumer is more â€˜plugged inâ€™ than ever before. The report found that in a 24-hour period, the majority of consumersâ€™ media time is spent in front of a screen â€“ computer, smart phone, tablet and TV. We have become multi-screeners and more often than not, we use screens simultaneously or shift seamlessly from one medium to another.
Google identified two distinct behaviors.
This is when you move from one device to the next to complete a task over time. For example, I enjoy dabbling in online shopping. I happily browse on my smart phone but would never make a purchase as I prefer to wait until Iâ€™m at a computer to see the item on a bigger screen, to avoid making a purchase Iâ€™ll later regret.
This is the art of using multiple devices at the same time. Googleâ€™s report found the most likely concurrent activity is the use of a smart phone with a television. They found 88% of people who used devices simultaneously had their phone in their hands while watching TV. Although the majority of the time what weâ€™re doing with the phone isnâ€™t related to what weâ€™re watching, 22% of the time simultaneous usage is complementary. That is, weâ€™re accessing content directly related to what weâ€™re watching.
After reading the report, I instantly became aware of my multi-screen usage (possibly because I read the report on my computer, while watching TV and with my smart phone in hand). I happened to be watching The X Factor when this guy Don Phillips came to the stage to audition. He had history with Britney Spears but didnâ€™t give much more away. Naturally, I wanted to find out why he was such a bumbling mess, so I turned to ye old faithful Google to search for answers. What interested me about my behavior was that I didnâ€™t use my computer â€“ I used my phone to Google him (my computer was literally sitting on my lap by the way). Why I did this, Iâ€™m not 100% sure but I think it has something to do with me being accustomed to browsing the Internet on my computer and searching for answers on my phone. My phone usually gives me instant gratification when I need to find an answer, so I instantly went to my phone.
I would highly recommend reading the full report here.
But what does it all mean?
Beyond the visually pleasing facts and figures, there are some golden nuggets of information that marketers and communicators can take from the report.
In my humble opinion, the most significant thing is the need to start thinking strategically and creatively about multi-device communications. By understanding how your audiences use their various screens both simultaneously and sequentially, you can then develop communication that works more effectively across each environment. Google highlighted the important role context plays when choosing which device to use. People use their smart phones differently to how they use a tablet, and use a tablet differently to how they use a computer. To get ahead of the game, marketers need to break down how each screen is used, individually, sequentially and simultaneously, then develop a marketing strategy to fit each unique situation.