Today’s consumers rely on a range of devices for inspiration, information, communication and entertainment – laptops, mobile phones, tablets, television, radio, gaming consoles and more.
They absorb and interact with content in different ways on each of these devices. Yet, at the same time, all these channels form part of connected media experience. Whether consumers use screens and devices sequentially or simultaneously, the devices they use are part of a seamless fabric from their point of view.
That means marketers need to take a multi-layered approach to content distribution to drive mobile, personalised, and interactive engagement across the media that customers use every day.
Let’s start with a quick look at some cross-screen and cross-media customer journeys, taking inspiration from a white paper from Microsoft that defines four common pathways:
Content Grazing: This is when consumers use two or more devices simultaneously to access content that isn’t necessarily related. This behaviour is also known as multitasking, but Microsoft says it’s actually “distraction behaviour”.
”Consumers are less concerned with getting things done and more focused on grabbing a quick moment of fun or escape,” according to Microsoft. To capture the interest of this user, brands must provide short, punchy content that cuts through a noisy environment and engages short attention spans.
Investigative Spider-Webbing: In this pathway, people consume related content on two or more devices at the same time. Usually, they’re looking for more information to complement the content they’re engaging with on a primary device.
For example, you know the actor in a TV series from somewhere and you want to find out what else he has appeared in, so you look it up on your tablet or smartphone. Marketers can capture consumers’ interest with more thoughtful content that meets their need to explore and know.
Social Spider-Webbing: Here, people are inspired to share their thoughts or ideas about something they’re engaging with or hear their peers’ opinions on something that has grabbed their attention. Perhaps, they’re interested in a new LCD television after seeing a display ad on their work PC and use their smartphone to ask their followers on Twitter what they think.
Or consider how that one particular episode of Game of Thrones recently set social networks on fire. Here, marketers should provide content that helps audiences connect with other people. Social media marketing is hard to do, but it is an environment that offers deep engagement.
Quantum: This is when a user begins an activity on one screen and continues it on another. The focus and linearity of this experience sets it apart from the others.
It’s business-like and transactional – typical scenarios are working, shopping and banking. Here, markets must offer content that is straightforward and helps the customer towards his or her goal.
Relationships with devices
It’s worth remembering as you navigate these pathways that people have different relationships with various devices and screens, and tailor engagements appropriately. The PC lends itself to deep engagement and detailed content; the smartphone is a personal device, where people resent intrusive marketing; radio is a constant background companion; and television provides the talking points for social interaction.”
It’s complex to map various customer journeys to different device interactions – especially when you start to think about the roles different screens play in different times of a consumer’s day and week. But it can help improve the relevance of – and engagement – with your content.
Implications for marketers
Numerous studies have shown that multi-screen behaviour is the default for most consumers, but it manifests itself in a number of ways. As their audiences combine devices in new ways for fun, work and social sharing, so marketers must seek to understand the how and why of different multiscreen customer pathways. Marketers should thus address consumers’ needs with a holistic content strategy that addresses different motivations, behaviours, and screens.