By Mike Stiles on Apr 05, 2013
The old joke used to be that someone couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Now we can walk, chew gum, do some needlepoint, play Words With Friends, listen to an audiobook, do isometric stomach crunches, hum, take in the smells of the city, and mentally go over your to-do list…all at the same time.
We are a multitasking species. We’re everywhere, and we’re using everything at our disposal to accomplish tasks, amuse ourselves, or take in information. Multiple people multitasking means multiple devices, which leaves brands trying to figure out which devices to focus on.
Well, you are also expected to multitask. So the answer is “all of them.” Your instinct might be to say, “Hey, they’re only going to engage with us one device at a time, and if we’re on every device, we’re just going to have our device strategies cannibalizing each other.”
The Olympics were the most watched event in TV history - 217 million viewers. 82 million were reached via digital platforms. There were 2 billion Page views, 65 million live streams and 8 million app downloads.
As it turns out, the more screens/ways there were to experience Olympic content, the more time was spent on all devices, with no cannibalization. Overall usage and engagement simply went…up.
With TV only, time spent consuming was 4 hours, 19 minutes. When the PC/laptop was added in, it was 5:18. Add in mobile, it was 6:50. Toss in tablets and we’re at 8:29. Not only did more screen increase overall consumption time, the addition of secondary screens such as tablet resulted in increased viewing on the primary screen, TV.
Consumer multitasking doesn’t hurt, it helps.
25% of time spent watching the competitions on TV was accompanied by the use of another screen. 50% of site, app, and mobile users watched while watching TV. And, of course, social fueled engagement, with 7 out of 10 viewers 13-34 saying it “made them more interested in watching the Games on TV.”
Okay, you might not be the Olympics, but the message is that when people find content they like, they seek out more of it in multiple places. That means we should strategize across all devices based on consumers’ multi-device behaviors, which a Microsoft study broke down into 4 categories in order of frequency.
Content Grazing: using 2+ screens simultaneously to do unrelated things.
Investigative Spider-Webbing: using one device to get info related to what you’re doing on another.
Quantum Journey: using multiple devices sequentially to accomplish a task.
Social Spider-Webbing: sharing content on one device about what you did or found on another.
Does this apply to brands and revenue? Google/Nielsen found out 63% of shoppers used multiple devices to help with holiday purchases last year. And PricewaterhouseCoopers says 56% of US consumers spent more with a retailer since they started shopping across multiple channels.
What brands offer must match what consumers are doing. And that means multitasking on multiple devices.