Microsoft Advertising Connects The Screens

Multi-screen adoption of digital technology and devices has created a challenge for advertising to deliver relevant, targeted messages. The more connected the consumer, the greater expectation for bigger ideas. A study released Thursday by Microsoft Advertising gives advertisers insight into how a multi-screen strategy can build awareness, generate consideration and encourage purchases.

Younger multi-screen consumers and online gamers -- the most active segments -- are satisfied with today's connected experiences, but they expect substantial improvements in media, advertising and engagement in the future.

Marketers and agencies that attempt to improve this experience will need to find ways to integrate data and track attribution, according to Alison Engel, senior marketing director, Microsoft Advertising. "People may start their day on one device and end it on another," she says. "The computer and the smartphone offer the one-two punch. And as smartphone functions improve, you'll see more convergence in the future."

Sixty-nine percent of consumers who use multiple screens believe being able to access similar media and advertising across screens makes it more useful, and the media experience more relevant and informative. The research study suggests that the computer remains the primary vehicle for learning about brands, products, and services at 88%; followed by TV at 32%; smartphones, 36%; and gaming consoles, 11%. Sixty-five percent of consumers rely on smartphones to make buying decisions when away from home. They use the handset to make decisions about restaurants, theaters, and entertainment.

Multi-screen consumers think more favorably of content providers that deliver similar content across multiple media devices, and 62% of these consumers and nearly 75% of younger consumers admit that a consistent experience generates positive feelings about the provider.

Compared with 35- to-64-year-olds, 18- to-34-year-olds are more likely to find ads fun to watch -- like ads on their computer, smartphone, and gaming console -- and believe ads are more meaningful and relevant across all screens.

In fact, younger age groups find ads fun to watch on a computer, at 36% vs. 22%; smartphone, at 32% vs. 16%; and gaming consoles, at 36% vs. 14%, respectively. This age group also likes ads on their computer -- 33% vs. 19%; smartphone, 29% vs. 13%; and gaming console, 32% vs. 11%, respectively -- and believes ads are more meaningful and relevant across all screens: computer, 40% vs. 25%; TV, 52% vs. 40%; smartphone, 30% vs. 14%; and gaming console, 34% vs. 12%, respectively.

Microsoft Advertising conducted research to understand how consumers use multiple platforms and their attitudes toward devices and capabilities that drive media and advertising. The study, conducted in partnership with Wunderman (a WPP company), aims to teach advertisers about the opportunities to engage audiences with the correct tone and message in the perfect environment. It surveyed 1,200 people ages 18-64 across the U.S. in the spring of 2010 who consume media through TVs, computers, smartphones, and video game consoles.

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