How many screens do you look at on a daily basis? A PC/laptop? A tablet? Your smartphone? A TV? For some time now, we marketers have speculated that a lot of you would probably answer, "All of the above!" But we haven't really had any hard data to back up our speculation. Until now!

Last week, Google published some interesting data based on research into how consumers are using different devices together, called "The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior." The results definitely piqued our interest, especially from a marketing perspective. The most fascinating nugget of data? 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal. In other words, people may start reading an email on their phone on the train home from work, but finish reading it at home on their tablet; or maybe they watch a commercial on TV and then turn to their laptop to research the product.

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Intrigued? Let's take a look at some of the statistical highlights of Google's research. You can also download the full report from Google here.


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Individual Screen Usage

1) 90% of all media interactions are screen-based. (Tweet This)

2) On average, we spend 4.4 hours of our leisure time in front of screens each day. (Tweet This)

3) Our time online is spread between 4 primary media devices: TV (43 min.), PC/laptop (39 min.), tablet (30 min.), smartphone (17 min.). (Tweet This)

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4) 24% of our daily media interactions occur on a PC/laptop. (Tweet This)

5) 40% of PC/laptop use is motivated by finding info, and 29% by keeping up to date. (Tweet This)

6) 69% of PC/laptop use occurs at home, while 31% occurs out of home. (Tweet This)

7) 38% of our daily media interactions occur on a smartphone. (Tweet This)

8) 54% of smartphone use is motivated by communication, and 33% by entertainment. (Tweet This)

9) 60% of smartphone use occurs at home, while 40% occurs out of the home. (Tweet This)

10) 9% of our daily media interactions occur on tablets. (Tweet This)

11) 63% of tablet use is motivated by entertainment, and 32% by communication. (Tweet This)

12) 79% of tablet use occurs at home, while 21% occurs out of the home. (Tweet This)

13) 34% of us use the device that's closest to us when looking for information. (Tweet This)

14) 80% of searches conducted on a smartphone are spontaneous. (Tweet This)

15) 48% of searches conducted on a PC/laptop are planned. (Tweet This)

Multi-Screen Usage

Google identifies two modes of multi-screening, sequential usage and simultaneous usage. Sequential usage refers to moving from one device to another at different times to accomplish a task. Simultaneous usage, on the other hand, means using more than one device at the same time for either a related or unrelated activity.

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16) 90% use multiple screens sequentially to accomplish a task over time. (Tweet This)

17) 98% move between devices that same day. (Tweet This)

18) Browsing the internet (81%), social networking (72%), and shopping online (67%) are the top activities performed when sequentially screening between devices. (Tweet This)

19) Smartphones are the most common starting place for online activities. (Tweet This)

20) PCs/laptops are most often a starting point for more complex activities. (Tweet This)

21) Tablets are most often a starting point for shopping and trip planning. (Tweet This)

22) Consumers rely on search to move between devices. (Tweet This)

23) We use an average of 3 different screen combinations each day. (Tweet This)

25) Smartphones are the most frequent companion devices during simultaneous usage. (Tweet This)

26) Emailing (60%), internet browsing (44%), and social networking (42%) are the top 3 activities performed during simultaneous screen usage. (Tweet This)

27) 78% of simultaneous usage is multi-tasking, while 22% of simultaneous usage is complementary. (Tweet This)

28) 77% of TV viewers use another device at the same time in a typical day. (Tweet This)

29) TV is a major catalyst for search. (Tweet This)

Shopping Behavior by Screen

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30) 59% of smartphone shopping is done at home, while 41% is done out of the home. (Tweet This)

31) 81% of smartphone shopping is done at the spur of the moment. (Tweet This)

32) 42% of PC/laptop shopping is planned. (Tweet This)

33) 30% of shopping-related content accessed on a smartphone is driven by search. (Tweet This)

34) 67% of us start shopping on one device and continue on another. (Tweet This)

Marketing Lessons From Multi-Screen Usage

That's quite a bit of enlightening data, huh? Let's pinpoint a few important marketing takeaways here ...

First and foremost, the most obvious one: optimize your content for multiple devices. Consumers are increasingly accessing multiple screens in their day-to-day lives. It's no longer enough to optimize your content for PCs/laptops. Mobile optimization on tablets and smartphones should also be a priority. Furthermore, considering the popularity of sequential and simultaneous screen usage, it's important for marketers to make their presence across multiple devices as cohesive and user-friendly as possible.

Google also highlighted the important role context plays in a consumer's decision to use one device over another. In other words, a user will choose a particular device based on contextual triggers such as location, timing, goals, and attitude. Thus, as marketers, it's critical to understand how your audience accesses your content so you can cater your marketing strategy to accommodate those specific use cases and behaviors.

Finally, with 43 minutes a day spent watching TV, this traditional medium is still alive and kicking. However, considering that 77% of viewers are simultaneously using another device while watching it, and that TV is a major catalyst for search, marketers should be sure to integrate and align any TV advertising with their online strategies.

Which data points from Google's research did you find most enlightening?

Image Credit: adactio

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Originally published Sep 5, 2012 5:39:00 PM, updated February 18 2020


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