By SiteEditor | Internet Marketing | 21 March 2013

Consumers are increasingly dependent on laptops, mobile phones, tablets and gaming consoles for inspiration, information, communication and entertainment. Individual screens have an impact on how consumers view and grasp their content. It is therefore essential for a marketer to understand these subtleties and take a multi-layered approach to content distribution, one that enables personal and interactive engagement across devices. In order to achieve this, it is vital to understand consumer motivation beneath cross-screen engagement.

A new study by Microsoft, titled Cross-Screen Engagement, aims to help marketers learn how users are engaging with multiple screens and to find opportunities to reach consumers “in their moment”

The study identified four kinds of consumer behaviors when they engage with multiple-devices:

1.Content Gazing

Grazing occurs when consumers use two or more screens simultaneously to access separate or unrelated content. You may identify this behavior as “multi-tasking”, but actually it is likely to be distraction behavior. In fact, it suggests that consumers are less concerned with getting things done and more focused on grabbing a quick moment of fun or escape or entertainment. 68 percent of consumers use two or more screens simultaneously to access unrelated content.

The Benefit: Marketers must either provide a quick snippet of content that satisfies this need or attempt to overcome short-attention spans and encourage deeper engagement.

2. Investigative Spider-Webbing

Investigative Spider-Webbing takes place when consumers view related content on two or more devices at the same time. This is based on curiosity, where consumers seek more information or content related to the primary screen experience. 57 percent of consumers use one device to find information related to what they are doing on another device. Consumers may face frustrations if they are unable to locate the content or supplementary information they are searching for and will eventually abandon even the original content or activity.

The Benefit: This is a great opportunity for marketers to distribute content
thoughtfully, dispersing it along exploratory threads to encourage deeper exploration and to satisfy the consumers’ need to search and find more.

3. Social Spider-Webbing:

Social Spider-Webbing is the split image of Investigative Spider-Webbing. It is focused on sharing and connecting. The content is the key here as it provokes consumers to connect to like-minded communities and generate conversations. One in five consumers engage in social spider-webbing while watching live events on TV. 39 percent of consumers share content about activities they have accomplished on other devices.

The Benefit: It can provide an opportunity to target audiences where they are likely to interact deeply and emotionally within communities .

4.Quantum Journeys:

46 percent of consumers use of multiple devices to accomplish a task. For example, taking a picture of a pair of shoes on a phone then looking up reviews about the shoes on a PC before purchasing. They start an activity on one screen and continue it on another. While consumers expect consistent, cohesive experiences across screens, technology is often not seamless. Their view is, “ With more than one screen, I can get information much faster —it’s faster to look it up on another screen than to open and change tabs.”

The Benefit: Marketers should seek out partners who can help seed ideas on one screen for further exploration on another, and then encourage consumers to move to the screen that best suits the marketer’s goal.

In addition the report highlights the different ways consumers interact with their devices, noting what marketers should be thinking of the unique attributes of devices as they develop messaging and content plans.

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