It’s a Multiscreen World

One key concept that I have learned during my time in the Emerging Media class is that consumers are experiencing media in a variety of ways. Most consumers now handle and view multiple devices with screens, including smartphones, TVs, PCs, eReaders and tablets. A typical multiscreen user consumes 7 hours of media per day, and for most countries across the study, smartphones are now the primary screen, taking up 2.5 hours of time daily (Google, 2015).

Behavior, researchers found that consumers spend most of their media time today in front of multiple screens simultaneously. Whether it’s a computer, phone, tablet or TV, if we’re consuming media in multiple formats. This study shows how these methods of interaction trigger specific behaviors such as online shopping, and which devices people are using at the various stages of these interactions (Google, 2012).

The popularity of digital media and online social interactions has given rise to a new rule of customer engagement for media companies: Marketers must engage in meaningful and active dialogue with customers and prospects across multiple screens to create strong connections and foster brand engagement.

90% of our media consumption occurs in front of a screen. As consumers balance their time between smartphones, tablets, PCs and televisions, they are learning to use these devices together to achieve their goals (Google, 2012). This multi-screen behavior is quickly becoming the norm, and understanding it has become an imperative for marketers.

Here are two of the study’s key findings:

1. During simultaneous usage, content viewed on one device can trigger specific behavior on the other. Businesses should therefore not limit their conversion goals and calls to action to only the device where they were initially displayed.

  1. Most of the time when TV is watched, another screen is being used. These instances present the opportune time to convey your message and inspire action. A business’s TV strategy should be closely aligned and integrated with the marketing strategies for digital devices.

    This infographic from Google makes it easy to see how people are hopping between screens and what they are doing on each.

    multi-screen-world-infographic_infographics 2

    These usage patterns show that smartphones are not all about being out and about. They are used just as much when people are in fixed locations, such as at their workplace or at home.

    Google research also indicates consumers use different devices for different reasons.

    As consumer behaviors respond to emerging media and continue to blur the lines between demographics, brands must adjust internal strategies to cultivate an approach that caters to these trends. We must Multi-screen marketing, at its core, provides companies with the opportunity to engage in effective storytelling, thereby allowing the brand narrative and subsequent experiences to unfold across multiple platforms, according to a Nielsen Global Survey of Multi-Screen Media Usage Report. Marketers and advertisers can target audiences precisely where they live, work, and play.

Consumers are also using multiple devices at the same time.

As marketers we must help brands create coherent communications across screens to build powerful brand stories. We must consider the different properties of screen devices, as well as the different roles they play in consumers’ lives. This environment means that marketers cannot simply focus on delivering one standard communication across all screens.

Google says TV no longer commands our full attention. In fact, 77% of people interact with another device while watching TV.


How is your brand thinking about consumers’ cross-screen behavior? Do you have strategies in place address they divided attention? How are you thinking about measurement given the increasingly diverse set of touchpoints where we meet consumers?

Google. (2012, August). The New Multi-Screen World Study. Retrieved on October 17, 2015 from:

Nielsen Global Survey of Multi-Screen Media. Retrieved on October 17, 2015 from: Usage


2 thoughts on “It’s a Multiscreen World

  1. I used to wonder what was the purpose of having so many devices. I figured one couldn’t possibly use all of them at once, or if they tried to that their attention could only really be focused on one. I now see how it is possible. You can even throw mp3 players into the mix when you think about the ones like an iPod touch. I definitely agree that smartphones take a lot of people’s time. I am speaking from personal experience! I have often thought about trying to cut down on the number of devices I use though, like getting an all-in-one computer that doubles as a tablet. I watch TV on my laptop often, usually through Hulu Plus and Netflix. I can listen to music on my smartphone, therefore I would really only need those two devices!


  2. Hi Lisa, I have the same issue. I really do want to cut down on the number of devices I use. Right now I have a laptop, ipad and my phone. I fall asleep every night just after checking both my phone and ipad. I think we all need to find ways to disconnect once in awhile.


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