8 Ways to Develop Software for the Screen-Jumping Consumer

How to Develop Software in a Multi-Screen worldHow many screens are you using right at this moment? Most likely you’re reading this post on one of the several digital screens you’re operating simultaneously. If so, you are a multi-screen junkie, along with the majority of tech consumers today.

In a world full of screen-jumping  users, a single device no longer has the ability to capture our full attention. Jumping back and forth between smartphones, TVs, PCs and television sets is a typical day in the life of a multi-screen junkie.  We might screen sequentially, moving between two devices, or simultaneously using multiple devices at the same time. Doing so empowers us, making us feel more efficient.

Google recently conducted a study to better understand consumers’ digital interactions. In the study participants logged each of their traditional and digital media interactions in a mobile diary over a 24 hour period.  Participants were also given a survey to understand behavior associated with using multiple screens.  With 1,611 participants and 7,955 hours of activity, Google found that:

Our time online is spread between 4 primary media devices; smartphones, tablets, PCs/Laptops, and TVs.  During each interaction we spend approximately 17 minutes on our smartphones, 30 minutes on our tablets, 39 minutes on PCs/Laptops and 43 minutes watching television. The device we choose to use at a particular time is often driven by our context; the amount of time we have or need, the goal we want to accomplish, our location and our attitude and state of mind. 

Device fragmentation presents unique challenges to developers, marketers and digital advertisers. However, there are ways that businesses developing software can use cross-platform consumer behaviors to their advantage. So how can brands adjust their development, marketing and operations strategies to fit this new mold of consumer behavior? Google has some ideas. Here are Google’s 8 multi-screen lessons to think about:

  1. “The vast majority of media interactions are screen-based, and so marketing strategies should no longer be viewed as ‘digital’ or ‘traditional’. Businesses should understand all of the ways that people consume media, particularly digital, and tailor strategies to each channel.
  2. Consumers turn to their devices in various contexts. Marketing and websites should reflect the needs of a consumer on a specific screen, and conversion goals should be adjusted to account for the inherent differences in each device.
  3. The prevalence of sequential usage makes it imperative that businesses enable customers to save their progress between devices. Saved shopping carts, “signed-in” experiences or the ability to email progress to oneself helps keep consumers engaged, regardless of device used to get to you.
  4. Consumers rely on search to connect their experiences across screens. Not only should brands give consumers the opportunity to find them with multi-device search campaigns, strategies such as keyword parity across devices can ensure consumers can find the brand when resuming their search.
  5. During simultaneous usage, content viewed on one device can trigger specific behavior on the other. Businesses should therefore not limit their conversion goals and calls to action to only the device where they were displayed.
  6. Most of the time when TV is watched, another screen is being used. These instances present the opportune time to convey your message and inspire action. A business’s TV strategy should be closely aligned and integrated with the marketing strategies for digital devices.
  7. Consumers shop differently across devices, so businesses should tailor the experience to each channel. It’s also important to optimize the shopping experience across all devices. For example, consumers need to find what they are looking for quickly and need a streamlined path to conversion, on smartphones.
  8. Smartphones are the backbone of our daily media use. They are the devices used most throughout the day and serve as the most common starting point for activities across multiple screens. Going mobile has become a business imperative.

There is one final takeaway to remember: developing software for multiple screen channels means more places for bugs and errors to exist. However, proper in-the-wild testing may be able to outweigh this challenge. Utilizing real world testing, businesses can subvert any fears of fragmentation by testing their software across screens and devices.

With a marketing and development strategy that reflects Google’s 8 takeaways, and some proper in-the-wild testing, the multi-screen phenomenon can shift from a businesses concern to an overall benefit. For more information on developing quality software for the multi-screen world, click here.

 

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