Content marketing isn’t so simple anymore. It used to be that you could tailor your content to a few key channels and keep all your readers happy. That just isn’t true now. Audience expectations have changed, probably forever, and their behavior has changed too. It’s now cross-platform and multi-screen, something that’s made clear in Google’s study: The New Multiscreen World. We’ve referred to that study before; now it’s time to dig deeper into the findings and see what this means for your B2B and B2C content marketing efforts.
It is a mobile first world: First of all, as the title of the report suggests, people are looking at multiple screens daily. About 90% of our media consumption is screen based (via smartphones, tablets, PCs and FTVs) and even in leisure time we spend more than 4 hours daily in front of screens. Which screens we use where depends on the context: location, attitude, goal and available time. While people use PCs at home or work for research and productivity, the Google report shows that 38% of media interactions happen on smartphones. These devices bridge the gap between on-the-go and home use and are useful for those who want to get information fast. Tablets, on the other hand, are used for browsing and entertainment in leisure time. So far, these devices represent 9% of daily media interactions. Together, the mobile devices account for 45% of our media consumption.
The Multiscreen World report also includes interesting data about how we use our media consumption devices. Around 90% of people will move from device to device in sequence to complete tasks, handling things like browsing, social networking, online shopping, researching and more. Most online activities now start on a smartphone and then may move to a PC then a tablet.
But people also use more than one device at the same time. For 81% it’s a smartphone with TV; and for 66% it’s a smartphone with a PC or laptop; and 66% combine a laptop and a TV. Again, smartphones are the devices people are most likely to be using with another device. And there’s a lot of multi-tasking going on (78% of people do this). People will search for more information on what they see on TV (like an ad for your business, for example) and spontaneously grab the closest screen to accomplish that task.
So what should content marketers learn from this report to guide their marketing campaigns from now on? There are lots of lessons here.
First, with smartphones being key media use tools, marketers need to ensure that their content is optimized for smartphone viewing. We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: it’s time to think mobile first. Or, as Google puts it, “Going mobile has become a business imperative.” Your content needs to be mobile adapted and readable on any screen size. That means avoiding static, fixed web designs in favor of responsive themes. And it means avoiding the PDF pitfalls (hard to navigate and view on small screens) in favor of a content platform that ensures your content is fit for any screen and mobile navigation.
Second, because people are moving among devices to accomplish their goals, it’s important to be consistent. Users who have a positive experience when reading your content on their laptop will be very upset if they don’t get the same smooth experience on the desktop. And if they start reading a business white paper at work, but finish it at home, they will expect the experience to be the same.
Third, your content has competition. People are using their smartphones and tablets in conjunction with TVs, PCs and laptops. You can use that trend to your advantage by tailoring TV advertising to digital users and encouraging them to interact with the content you provide on a different screen. But even more than that, it’s essential to give your content the depth and the presentation to make it the focus of people’s media interactions. As a content marketer, you want your readers to find your content compelling enough to take their attention away from the TV, easy to navigate and useful enough to share via social sites.
And finally, the most important point – smartphone and tablet use is no longer a fad. Mobile device take-up is increasing exponentially (for once, that’s not a hyped-up word). The upcoming generation of consumers doesn’t know any way to be but online. That adds up to a single truth: tailor your content marketing strategies to be mobile first or get left behind.