The multi-screen phenomenon
08 November 2010
Picture the scene: A teenage girl sits on the couch in front of the television watching one of her favourite shows when the commercial break kicks in. She opens up her laptop and clicks straight to her trusted online fashion site for some inspiration before her Saturday night out with friends. Whilst she waits for it to load, she picks up her phone and flicks through her latest Hotmail updates to see her boyfriend’s thoughts on the film he’s just been to see at the cinema. It’s not very difficult to imagine, is it?
The girl in question, according to two separate studies released by Microsoft Advertising and the European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA), is one of a growing audience of European adults (16+) who own and use a TV, and access the internet via both a computer and smartphone on a weekly basis. According to Microsoft Advertising’s report ‘What’s On Their Screens; What’s On Their Minds’, she is one of an estimated 19 million ‘multi-screeners’ across seven of the key European markets - France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.
Multi-screeners are an example of how technology advancements are not only shaping how media is consumed but also empowering people to take charge of how they interact with it. By understanding the multi-screen consumer, the individual benefits of each screen and how they complement each other, advertisers are in a much stronger position to create compelling campaigns that engage their audience in the right way, with the right message, in the right environment.
So what do we know about the multi-screener? According to Microsoft’s report, they are both affluent and career-minded; they are also more responsive to advertising (27% more likely to agree that ads help them decide what to buy), driven by brand rather than price (52% stick to brands they like), willing to try new things (55%) and prepared to advocate for the products they like (54%). In terms of marketing messages, they crave content that is consistent, engaging and relevant and they want to be able access it across multiple screens. The EIAA’s research also suggests multi-screeners are sophisticated media meshers – 86% use at least one other media while they watch TV with 68% using the internet, compared to a European average of 30%.
Exposure across multiple devices and screens is also transforming multi-screeners’ paths to purchase: 38% credit online sources with driving initial product awareness (more than any other channel) and online accounts for 6 of the top 10 channels influencing multi-screen consumers’ purchase decisions. Significantly, 89% of multi-screeners claim to have made a purchase via their computer, and 30% via their smartphone.
TOMS, a charity that provides a new pair of shoes to a child in need each time a consumer purchases a pair of TOMS shoes, recently partnered with Microsoft Advertising for their ‘One Day Without Shoes’ event, reaching out to their target audience (18-34 year old adults) across PC, mobile and Xbox to persuade them to go barefoot for the day. Campaign evaluation revealed that the more advertising channels a consumer was exposed to, the more likely they were to be aware of the event and more importantly, the likelihood to take action increased – 78% of those exposed across three screens went online or bought TOMS shoes.
Both the EIAA and Microsoft Advertising research reports provide another clear call to action for the industry to embrace multi-screen advertising. Data from Microsoft’s study shows that 69% of multi-screeners believe that being able to access media and advertising across three screens, makes the content more useful and their media experience more relevant and informative. That’s both a clear challenge to brands to step up to the mark, and an invitation from consumers to deliver content when they want and in the way that they want.
There’s no question that today’s fragmented media landscape is a huge challenge for advertisers, and that consumers’ expectations have never been higher. But marketers who are willing to learn about the multi-screen consumer and adapt their marketing strategies accordingly will reap the rewards.