Beyond PR

Sep 03, 2012

The Cross-Platform Consumer: New Communication Imperatives

A new study titled “The New Multi-Screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior” from Google suggests that reaching your audience on one device isn’t enough.  The research reveals that 90% of people use multiple devices – mobiles, PCs, tablets, smart phones, TVs – to accomplish a goal.

The study concluded there are two modes of multi-screen media consumption:

  • Sequential – where we move from one device to another to accomplish a goal.  An example of this would be researching a destination for a day trip at your PC, and then using your smart phone once you got there to make decisions about which restaurant to visit. According to the study, 9 out of 10 people use devices sequentially.
  • Simultaneous – when we use two or more devices at the same time.  The simplest example of this is watching TV, and tweeting about what you’re watching on your tablet. 77% of people watch TV with another device in hand.

 So what does this mean to marketers?  If anything this underscores the necessity of increasing our clock speeds and adopting an agile approach to engaging our audiences.  This reality is central to why PR Newswire has long advocated a multi-channel approach to distributing press releases and multimedia content.  It’s simply not enough to rely upon a web site or two any longer.

Additionally, Google makes several important conclusions about how consumers interact with information across devices:

  • Search is the connector between devices.  People use search engines to “pick up where they left off,” according to Google.
  • Turn “spur of the moment” activity into valuable opportunity.  The study suggests that 80% of searches from smart phones are done at the spur of the moment.  A great mobile presence can be instrumental in converting that opportunity into a sale.

Imperatives for communicators:

  • Ensure that your web site is not only search friendly, but formatted for mobile devices too.  Be sure your phone number, location and other information people access most frequently on your web site (business hours, menus, products, special offers, etc.) render quickly and prominently for mobile users.
  • Coordinate online and off-line campaigns.   One famous example of a brand failing to do this is the Snickers campaign that featured made up words such as “hungerectomy” printed on a Snickers wrapper.  This campaign was purely analog, appearing on billboards, the sides of busses and in print.  However, the ad’s creators overlooked the fact that offline messaging drives online behavior.  They have any digital presences designed to capture online interest in the campaign, and they didn’t buy search engine ads against the very words upon which the ad campaign centered.  Understand that offline messaging will trigger online activity, and plan accordingly.

The Google study is interesting reading and underscores the connectedness of our audiences and how the advent of mobile devices has significantly changed the decision making process.  It’s critical for brands to develop intelligent presences everywhere their audience is going to look – from search engines to social networks and from print to mobile.

Author  Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the free ebook Unlocking Social Media for PR.

1 Comments on Blog Post Title

anne marie kovacs 18:28 EDT on Sep 19, 2012

Thanks Sarah for recommending this paper. A painful way to get a quick education on today’s status of the cross-platform consumer. Every marketer should take note!

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