I’ve been multitasking since I was old enough to ride a bike and read at the same time. That’s why I fell in love with the iPad. It allowed me to do a multitudinous mountain of other things while I watched TV at night. Recently, I picked up a new habit. When I’m working in the wee hours of the morning, I set my iPad up next to my computer so I can watch Netflix while I work on my PC.
This is Content Grazing, and according to a new study by Microsoft Advertising’s Consumer Insights (in partnership with Flamingo Research and Ipsos OTX), 68% of consumers engage in this type of behavior.
This 2013 Cross-Screen Engagement Study, states that when you look at multi-device use, there are four pathways to engagement.
Content Grazing was the most common behavior. It’s when you use two or more screens to access unrelated content. I’m watching TV on TV while I check my email on my iPad. Mobile made this possible. No question. Sure, in the old days you could write a letter while watching TV but smartphones and tablets have raised Content Grazing to an art.
The downside for marketers, is that the consumer isn’t fully engaged in either activity. If I’m Tweeting while your commercial is running then I’m not getting your message. People graze mostly out of habit or boredom and it happens most when they’re relaxed.
The grazer mindset: “I’m in control of my moment— whether it’s a task or a quick bit of fun.”
Investigative Spider-Webbing is the second most common behavior with 57%. This is when the content from one screen spurs you on to look up content on another screen. I do this all the time when I use my iPad to look up the name of an actor on a TV show. Where have I seen this guy before. . .
This behavior happens most often at night in either an entertainment or shopping environment. It’s all about digging out the details.
The Investigative mindset: “I want to satisfy my curiosity; going deep on a topic is an enjoyable way to spend my down time.”
46% of consumers go on a Quantum Journey. In this case, they’re using multiple screens in order to more efficiently accomplish a task. For example, research on the iPad while you’re writing the article on the PC. Shopping on the PC while you check reviews on the smartphone.
This behavior is all about getting things done, so it happens throughout the day; at home, work and on the go.
The Quantum Journey mindset: “I’m on top of things; and it feels good to use tech to get things done well.”
Finally, we have Social Spider-Webbing with 39%. I object to this behavior simply because I don’t like spiders. Ironically, these are the friendly folks. They like to share and chat while they watch TV or play a game. It’s all about connecting with others so it happens throughout the day but more likely from home.
The Social Spider mindset: “Adding a social element makes me feel like I’m part of a community.”
And what can we learn from this. . . ?
We’ve learned that doing two things at once is better than doing only one thing. (Like shaking your head and your hand.) People want to move seamlessly from one device to another so anything you can do to connect the two will work in your favor. For example. I use several apps that allow me to work on my iPad but then pick up right where I left off on my PC.
Encourage your customers to work both screens. TV does this beautifully with second screen apps that let viewers play live trivia games and communicate with fans in real time.
Knowing that a large portion of your audience is content grazing means you have to make your interactions bigger, bolder and more meaningful. If they’re shopping during the commercials, they’re not going to stop to read a long block of text. Use graphics, video and short bursts of text to get your point across.
For more information, download Microsoft’s free report on how marketers can drive cross-screen engagement.