Marketing to Target Multi-Screen Consumers

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.

BMW Responsive Website

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:

multi-screen-world (infographic by Google)

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:

Content Grazing

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.

Investigative Spider-Webbing

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.

Quantum Journey

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.

Social Spider-Webbing

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.

Landing page PlugNplay2 sample

– 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:

J&J twitter

–  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?

About Kriti Adlakha
I have been working in the field of marketing and brand development for more than eight years. My experience ranges from hospitality to media and IT products to outsourced services. During my journey, I have worked with print and new-age media and have enjoyed developing content. I have also learnt and worked on marketing tools like adwords marketing, analytics, CRM and the list is steadily growing. Having acquired post-graduate diploma in business management from IIM, Calcutta, I love new challenges and learn from each experience. In my blog, I share marketing strategies that enable small and medium businesses to market in a small budget. I also discuss how to use different online tools that can help businesses to monitor returns of their marketing investments. Above all, I love to hear back from my readers!

2 Responses to Marketing to Target Multi-Screen Consumers

  1. Would be nice to hear what you think about our solution: Folloyu, a cross-device continuity platform for allowing consumers seamlessly continue their session on other devices.

    • Kriti Adlakha says:

      Hi Alfred

      I checked out your solution. It seems very practical and very much the need of the day! The features offered like management dashboard, multiple transfer methods and permitted white label option will definitely draw the attention of your audience.

      All the best!


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