You don’t need an advanced degree in demographics to know that consumers are spending more and more time on their digital devices but a new report from Nielsen offers one statistic that may trump all others:
American consumers now spend an average of 60 hours a week consuming content across multiple screens. That’s 2.5 days — 35% of the entire week — spent looking at TVs, computers, smartphones and other digital devices.
This is a staggering amount of content, notes the report, which not only shows how many opportunities for engagement there are but also how challenging it is to cut through the noise and be in the right place at the right time.
One reason so many people are spending so much time staring at screens is because they’re looking at more than one at a time, e.g., tweeting on their phones while watching TV or streaming a movie. According to the report, 84% of smartphone and tablet users say they use their devices as “second screens” while watching TV. Top uses include surfing the web, shopping and looking up information on the show or sporting event they’re watching.
Such trends are only going to accelerate going forward as more people buy more devices, especially mobile ones. According to the report, 30% of respondents said they plan to buy a new smartphone in the next months; 26% said they’d buy a new computer, and 8% said they’d buy a new tablet. Not surprisingly, the numbers were higher in all categories for those ages 18–24.
All of which underscores the fact that having a one-size-fits-all digital strategy is akin to having no digital strategy at all. As consumers’ media consumption continues to evolve so, too, must brands’ approach to reaching them. As the Nielsen report says,
Today’s consumer is more connected than ever, with more access to and deeper engagement with content and brands, thanks to the proliferation of digital devices and platforms. Content that was once only available to consumers via specific methods of delivery (such as via print, radio and broadcast television) can now be sourced and delivered to consumers through their multiple connected devices.
For marketers, more screens are a double-edged sword
The good news is that the proliferation of digital devices gives you more potential touchpoints where you can share your content; the bad news is that getting people to actually see and engage with that content is going to get even harder. The two-fold solution: Maintain a consistent presence on those platforms where your target audience is —Facebook, realself or wherever — and make sure what you share —blog posts, videos, whatever — is timely, relevant and as compelling as possible.