It's no secret that consumers are engaging with content across multiple screens, often simultaneously. This presents a key challenge to advertisers attempting to deliver a consistent message which reaches the right consumers on the right devices in the right formats. To help better understand multi-screen engagement, Microsoft recently conducted a Cross-Screen Engagement Study to gather information about consumer behavior across devices. Their research revealed 5 key patterns:

1. Four pathways of multi-screening behavior exist, with distinct motivations behind each: Content Grazing (68%: separate multi-tasking or ‘distraction behavior’), Investigative Spider-Webbing (57%: simultaneous, information- & discovery-driven), Social Spider-Webbing (39%: simultaneous, connection and sharing), and Quantum (46%: sequential, intent-based).

2. It's now critical that marketers take a holistic view of their content strategy, one where they pivot to the consumer need driving multi-screen behavior, while also adjusting content to fit the context of each screen.

3. Screens are no longer used in isolation. Multi-screening, including sequential, simultaneous and separate usage, is increasingly the default mode for consumers. In fact, 7 out of 10 consumers use a second device in some capacity while watching television.

4. Consumers are connected for nearly all their waking hours: Mornings tend to be reserved for task-based, orientation activities, while evenings are more reflective, emotive and open. Marketers should tailor their messaging throughout the day, while shifting from traditional ‘primetime’ moments to meeting consumers in their moment.

5. Multi-screening consumers are open to the right kind of advertising. 74% agree that “Advertising can be helpful in telling me about new products or brands that might interest me,” while 87% of consumers agree that “It’s great that I can check out products or brands that interest me whenever or wherever I see them.”

While these patterns are helpful in developing a multi-platform marketing strategy, it can be difficult to properly customize messaging to each channel. Microsoft's study also revealed key insights on ways to best speak to consumers across various devices:

For more of the study's findings, visit Microsoft.