With the rise of smartphones, people are more frequently engaging in similar activities across multiple screens. According to a recent report from Microsoft, convergence is occurring more often among people who own multiple devices, including smartphones, televisions, gaming consoles and computers. This audience can engage with multiple screens and devices seamlessly with the help of products such as Apple TV, which allows them to redirect content from their iPhone or iPad to their television screen.
Convergence presents a challenge for marketers in the sense that they now have to make three screens -- smartphones, televisions, and computers -- work for their brand and for their consumers. While this may be an adjustment, it also presents marketers with an opportunity: they have a chance to reach affluent people across multiple platforms with their marketing message. The Microsoft report found that the “multi-screen generation,” defined as adults between the ages of 18 and 64 who regularly engage with a smartphone, television, gaming console, and computer, spend an average of 54 hours per week interacting with a media device. They also have more discretionary income, are better educated, are more likely to be employed, and increasingly engage in activities across multiple screens.
Reaching such an educated and affluent demographic could easily translate into better sales. But because this audience is so smart and tech-savvy, they are not easily susceptible to marketing messages. So how can marketers effectively reach them and make three screens work for them?
For starters, it helps to know the role each screens plays in people’s lives. According to Microsoft, they watch television to relax and be entertained. They use computers for more informative and productive means, such as to work, shop, socialize, and read the news. And people use smartphones much in the same way that they use computers, as well as to communicate through talk and text.
Understanding usage will help marketers reach this audience with the right message as they engage with each individual screen. Since computers and smartphones are used more for communication, productivity, and convenience, people use them to research products and services, pass along information, and make purchases. Television, on the other hand, is a medium for leisure. Therefore, it makes sense that television ads are more like branded entertainment, while online and mobile advertising are a hybrid of direct marketing and branding.
Considering the above points, it’s no surprise that three-screen consumption has impacted the way that people shop. According to Microsoft, the purchase funnel has evolved from five phases to three: brand awareness, consideration and preference, and encourage purchase. In the new funnel, all screens work together to drive brand awareness, while the computer is the dominant form in the middle of the funnel. In fact, 88% of people research brands and products on computers, 36% research them on smartphones, and 32% research them from watching television. However, computers and smartphones are the key devices used to encourage purchases; 89% of the “multi-screen generation” has made a purchase via computer and 30% has done so via their smartphone. In addition, 65% use smartphones to make purchasing decisions when they’re away from home.
The implications of three-screen convergence are huge for marketers. While each screen plays a unique but no less important part in driving sales, they also work together to drive awareness and strengthen brand measures. This means that marketers should not think of digital screens as a means to drive lower-funnel marketing objectives. Instead, if you they embrace a three-screen marketing strategy, they can now produce results from the top of the funnel to the bottom by reaching people as they engage with multiple devices.
Gone are the days where people separate their smartphone, television, and online media plans. Now there is one person who is engaging with all those campaigns simultaneously. You.