It’s a Multi-Screen World

By ​Rob Falcone

September 19, 2012

Google recently unleashed “The New Multi-Screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior,” a 46-page report detailing consumers’ ever-increasing tendency to cycle between multiple devices to accomplish online tasks. While the video interviews are enjoyably awkward, the rest of the report is extremely insightful and provides great ammo for retailers crafting a testing strategy.

First, a brief summary of the report’s top findings:

• Nearly all consumers utilize multiple media devices to accomplish a task
• Which devices they choose depends on “context” (where they are, what they are trying to accomplish and how much time they have to do so)
• The two primary modes of multi-screening: sequential usage (moving from one device to another at different times) and simultaneous usage (using multiple devices at once)

Still, the question for web owners remains relatively fundamental: How do I take what I know about a consumer’s intent, and craft a personalized experience that makes completing their goal as simple as possible?

Here are my thoughts, laced with a few of the more interesting Google-y stats:

Be fast and consistent—77% of TV viewers use another device at the same time. If one of your brands/products/solutions gets mentioned during a TV program or in a commercial, how quickly could you take action? Don’t leave dollars on the table by moving slower than your audience; be sure that whatever they are seeing in “real life” they are also seeing online.

Recognize search—The majority of consumers utilize search to move from one device to another, searching for information on one device, and then again on the next. This statistic makes a strong case for why you should not become overly dependent on customized “landing pages.” In the essence of speed, simply alter existing pages with content that 1) is specific to the consumer’s search and 2) has a clear call-to-action that helps them achieve a conversion goal.

Help smartphone users—According to the latest release of Monetate’s EQ report, the second quarter of 2012 saw smartphone conversion rates that were 67% lower than those on traditional devices (desktops/laptops); Google follows up that statistic by noting that 60% of consumers start searching on a smartphone before moving to a PC. Thus, when recognizing that a consumer is browsing via smartphone, take steps to ensure they come back on their PC. Prominently display an email sign-up or “email a friend” widget. Let visitors know when promotions are ending, and that they can take advantage of the same offer on their PCs. Strip away functionality (e.g., lightboxes) that can distract shoppers from their goal of getting information and then moving online later to complete their tasks.

Keep tabs on tablet—If you’ve read any of Monetate’s educational Resources, you know that tablets are used much differently from other devices. Google’s report expands on this observation, noting that while computers are used in times of productivity, and smartphones are used when time is in short supply, tablets are used while relaxing at home (79%) with an unbounded sense of time. With that in mind, be ready to segment traffic accordingly; focus on consumers using a tablet, who have been browsing for a certain time duration but have not carted any products or completed their conversion. Serve a lightbox or other content that creates a sense of urgency or promotes speedy checkout using PayPal.

Above all else, TEST! Let your consumers tell you what resonates with them. Put a strategy into place, measure its effectiveness, and iterate for success.

Rob Falcone is the former Director of Solutions Engineering at Monetate, where he helped brands such as Brooks Brothers, Famous Footwear and others accelerate digital revenue growth through personalization. Prior to joining Monetate, Rob co-founded an award winning social media startup that was selected for funding by DreamIt Ventures, one of the world's top 15 startup accelerators. A Philadelphian born and raised, Rob is a diehard Phillies baseball and Drexel basketball fan.

Experience the future of ecommerce personalization

Book your personalized demo today.