The explosion in popularity of second screen devices has had a huge impact on the way we search for online content in the past couple of years. The ownership of companion accessories like smartphones, gaming consoles and tablets means that we are free from desk bound restrictions when it comes to researching the information we need or want. That's fantastically good news for the consumer of course but what obstacles and challenges does it present the providers of that content? A new study from Microsoft offers a valuable insight into user multi screen behaviour and how brands and their marketing teams must adapt to keep up with consumer demand.
The Second Screen And Consumer Behaviour
The study pinpoints four kinds of specific action taken when it comes to second screen behaviour:
Content Grazing: 68% of consumers use this method to access unrelated content when using one or more devices. They may be watching TV and texting a friend at the same time, or searching for something on their iPad while watching House of Cards on Netflix via their laptop. Habit, the need for distraction and to kill time are the main motivators for content grazing.
Investigative Spider-Webbing: This method of using another device to search for related content is used by 57% of end users and is probably the most valuable information for the brand or marketer to understand. This activity can lead to very deep engagement on behalf of the consumer.
Quantum Journey: 46% of consumers will use their smartphone or tablet to assist them in some way in the process of accomplishing a goal. For example, taking a picture of an item of clothing and searching for reviews and other information before purchasing.
Social Spider-Webbing: This takes the form of sharing information about online activity with other users and is used by 39% of users. An example would be sharing a high score earned playing CoD on the Xbox via text or social networking
How Consumers Use Their Companion Devices And Why
Poor TV. We know that it's struggling to keep up with interactivity and user intent but it's still quite a shock to see how much it under achieves when it comes to consumer satisfaction. It only scored a positive in two categories and lost out to other devices when it came to convenience, connectivity, compatibility and creativity/productivity. The tablet did well for all 6 options with the smartphone a very close second.
The report found "surprising consistency" in device ownership amongst users from the 5 countries that took part, with participants from those from the UK and the US confirming that this kind of technology was a vital part of everyday life.
How To Leverage Video For The Second Screen
The latest data from Comscore confirms that 178 Million Americans alone watched over 33 billion videos last month and that 57% of consumers trusted a product video and used it as part of the purchase cycle. 1.5 billion people are predicted to watch video online by 2016 so if you are using video as part of your digital marketing strategy you absolutely must take into account just how it is going to be consumed and by who. As with all marketing, this isn't about you as a brand or a creator, it's about the end user and if you don't make your content available where people are searching or spending time online, then you are going to miss out. It doesn't matter how great your video is, if people can't find it, or can't access it, then it's a waste of time and energy for all concerned. At the very least you should be:
- Optimising your website (if that's where you host any of your own video content) for mobile devices.
- Creating unique URLs for each video – make it easy for the user to navigate your site from whichever device they are using.
- Ensuring multi platform support for your video content – users want to access it anywhere and everywhere, at their convenience, not yours.
- Thinking about how other online assets can support and distribute your content.
- Understanding the role that social media has. Unless you're the BBC or CNN, the chances are that the average user isn't going to spend all day on your site (sorry about that) but they will spend a lot of time on Facebook, YouTube and other social sites – the kind of ones most accessed via secondary screens. If you take the time to be active in these places then you increase the chances of your content being seen (at least by your own followers).
You can read more about the study and download it from here.
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