The world has gone multi-screen

Most of us now have laptops at work, smartphones in our pockets and great looking tablets at our disposal and they can all answer nearly any question instantly. To better understand how the multi-screen revolution is changing everyday life, Google commissioned three global studies, each covering more than 35 countries: “The Connected Consumer Study” and “Mobile Purchase Journey” with TNS,  and “Our Mobile Planetwith Ipsos. These studies explore various aspects of multi-screen lifestyles: How many devices do people own? How do people use them together? How have these devices changed their lives?  Do consumers research and purchase differently across different devices? The answers lead to one conclusion: in Europe, the multi-screen world is here now and context is king.

Fast growth of connected device usage: Europe leads the way
The growth in usage of connected devices has grown spectacularly in the two years since Google first commissioned these studies. We all know laptops and desktops were already widespread across Europe, smartphone usage is growing fast and now tablet usage as well. Smartphone usage in the UK has more than doubled in two years, rising to 62%. Meanwhile, tablet usage tripled in the last year rising to 30% from 11% a year earlier. In nearly all the countries studied, people use more than one connected device. European countries like the UK, Norway and the Netherlands lead the way with people using, on average, at least three connected devices. In the United States, the average person uses 2.9 devices and the average in China is 1.4. In southern Europe, where internet usage is slightly lower than northern Europe, people use two or more connected devices. Globally, all countries are growing fast, and many have seen tablet usage double or even triple in the past year.

Be on the screen your customers are using
This explosive growth in multiple device usage has had a major impact on people’s lives. Nearly three quarters of British smartphone users go online with their mobile every day, 80% never leave home without it and 54% search the web from their mobile daily. People use their smartphone everywhere: 85% use it on the go, 71% at work and 72% specified they use them in stores. Two thirds of smartphone owners expect websites to work as well on their phone as on their desktop. So it’s imperative for every advertiser to ensure their website is designed to work across all devices.

Multi-screen buying
Sixty-one percent of smartphone owners use their phone for researching or purchasing products, and while 52% research products on their phone at home, many do so out of home as well: 25% do so on the go, 19% on public transport and 18% in a store. Peaks in mobile product research happen during lunch, just before the evening commute and after dinner.

The research process crosses devices, especially when research behaviour before purchase is intense. For instance, 93% of smartphone owners use their mobile, desktop or tablet to research travel products, while 70% use them to research technology products. While research behavior is different across product categories, it is very similar across devices:  price, quality information, reviews, ratings and location are common topics of research across all devices.

Research on smartphones affects purchases on mobile and elsewhere. For example after researching a travel product on the smartphone, 12% completed their purchase on the smartphone and 88% on the desktop/tablet or offline.  

Google recently launched enhanced campaigns to help advertisers reach consumers across devices in the moments that matter. Enhanced campaigns allow advertisers to easily serve ads across screens from one single campaign, which can be targeted across locations and time frames, for instance only serving ads near shops during opening times. And with the new ‘offer extensions’ feature, advertisers are able to give people close to their stores a special tailored offer, such as 10% off if used in the next 1 hour. To see the full value of ads targeted to mobile consumers, check out the Full Value of Mobile calculator, a new tool that provides measurement tips and benchmarks to understand mobile’s contribution to purchase decisions.

Take multi-screen action
Will you thrive in the multi-screen world? Here are some tips and tricks for success across screens:


  • Can consumers find you? Try searching from different devices and using generic and branded terms related to your product or service. Did your brand appear the way you want it to? Enhanced campaigns offer an easy way for advertisers to be present on all screens with minimal effort.

Posted by Ali Turhan, Industry Analyst – Agency Strategy



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