How to make the most of multi-screen marketing

Multiscreen use is now the norm, with the average UK consumer using three connected devices to access the internet. The adoption of connected mobile devices continues to grow, with 61 per cent of adults now using a smartphone and 44 per cent of households owning a tablet. Distinctions in consumer behaviour between these devices have blurred and previous assumptions about mobile versus desktop no longer apply.

Delivering campaigns across a range of connected devices should be a high priority for brands, as consumer exposure to advertising on multiple screens has a positive impact on metrics such as purchase consideration and recommendation intent. Viewing an ad on more than one device can also give consumers a positive impression of a brand, making it appear more informative and innovative. Implementing multiscreen campaigns can therefore have a significant impact on audience engagement and ROI.

So with this in mind what do marketers need to know to make the most of their multiscreen campaigns?

Attention depends on device

To a large extent consumers are device agnostic and will consume all content on any screen. However, our recent research has shown that what particular device is used is key when it comes to consumer attention and receptivity. With this in mind marketers need to consider devices when planning a campaign to ensure consumers are at the peak of their attentiveness and are highly receptive to the ad. For example, consumer attention on a tablet is at its highest when in an external place such as a coffee shop.

Context is key

When it comes to media consumption, environment and location have a greater impact on consumer behaviour than device type – while there is a significant focus on reaching consumers on the move, the home is still the main hub for media consumption across all content types and devices. Laptops and tablets are most likely to be used in the home and on holiday as consumers use these for time-consuming explorative tasks, as well as activities that require security or privacy such as online shopping. 

Consumers are also considerably more receptive to advertising when outside of the home. Consumers on the move are up to 13 per cent more likely to use a smartphone for convenience, and their activities tend to be shorter and task orientated. The key lesson here for brands is that advertising should respond to audience, location and environment, rather than to device.

Content type is vital 

Content type or ad format have a greater impact on campaign success than device type. For example, pre-roll video ads result in a greater uplift in brand recall, brand favourability, brand association, and purchase intent than banner ads, across all devices. However, physical context should be considered when determining the type of content served. 

When consumers are at home they are receptive to longer, more sophisticated brand messages, whereas when they are out and about – often using smartphones – they are more receptive and require short, simple messaging in the form of ‘snackable’ content.

Engagement modes vary

Consumers experience distinct modes of media engagement, often known as ‘lean-forward’ and ‘lean-back’ viewing. These are usually associated with device type, so laptop and tablet viewing is ‘lean-back’, while smartphone viewing is ‘lean-forward’. In reality this association is driven by context rather than device, and consumers can be in either mode of engagement while viewing any screen. Consumers are more likely to be relaxed and in ‘lean-back’ mode when at home on the sofa – when a laptop or tablet happens to be the most convenient device – than when they are out and about with a smartphone.

Screen size matters

While it is clear that device should not be the driving force behind campaign planning, there is one key element that should be considered – screen size. Smartphones and tablets have both traditionally been referred to as ‘mobile’ devices, but tablets are actually used more like laptops because of their similar screen size. Devices with a larger screen – such as laptops and tablets – are more likely to be used for product investigation and entertainment, whereas the small screen of the smartphone is more widely used for quick task-based activities, and relevant ads should be delivered accordingly.

The age of mobile marketing – and of dividing media plans into device type – has come to an end. Multiscreen ad campaigns should be driven by physical context, content type, and mode of engagement, rather than being determined solely by device.

Paul Lyonette is UK country manager at YuMe.

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