Multi-screening, the modern marketer and the new purchase sequence

Multi-screening, the modern marketer and the new purchase sequence

I don’t know about you, but I am a multi-screener. So is my wife. We are usually, working on our laptops, getting a call or texting someone while we are watching some repeat on TV. Every once in a while we’ll check out something on our tablets.

Multi-screening is here and here to stay. Each device is used for a specific purpose. Although we’re not often watching TV on our laptops or tablets we have done this. The problem we’ve found is the battery consumption or fan noise. Apparently video requires a lot of processing power to convert it for the screen. Plus it never seems that the resolution is as good as it could be on a regular or HD TV.



Multi-screening and the purchase process

It looks like we’re not the only ones. From the above chart, it’s clear that pre-purchase information gathering (26%) is done on the web, as well as, actual product purchase (16%) – and done concurrently with watching TV.

Whether this is a small number or large number is hard to say. So how can marketers take advantage of this? Is there a synergy between advertising and products/services searched for? Thinking back, I don’t think there has been any commercial that was viewed and led me or my wife to look on the Internet to gather information about that brand and its competitors. If this connection isn’t made then marketers need to rethink their strategies. Their advertising isn’t easily leading to purchase intent that leads to instant purchase – but then again, we never buy anything from QVC or shopping channels. Maybe we’re just not the right demo.


Brand building

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On the other hand, advertising on TV does lead to brand building. If I were in the market for a specific product, I most likely will have seen an ad at some point that did lead to increased awareness and brand relevance. (The next time we buy a garden hose, we’re buying a PocketHose Ultra.) It’s just that the message timing hasn’t synced up with the purchase timing. If this is the case, is the advertising in a multi-screened home to build brand equity, brand awareness, purchase intent or media recency?

Media Recency

Media recency works to provide an impression immediately prior to a consumer going shopping for that item. If consumers generally go shopping on Saturday for a new car, then advertising on Friday will make that car brand top of mind when the consumer goes shopping so that it won’t be accidentally left out of the consideration set.

Purchase Intent

Lower funnel value for the brand where all else being equal consumers are more likely to purchase a brand than otherwise.


Either aided or unaided awareness, especially valuable for newly launched brands, products or product attributes.

Brand Building

Of course the message content and creative drives the brand relevance and therefore brand equity. It positions the brand in our minds so that when we are in the store (off or online) we would prefer one brand over another (all else being equal). Brand relevance is driven by how consumers perceive a brand in contrast with those things that are important to their evaluation of the brand compared to the others in their consideration sets.

When we evaluate marketing success we always include consumer purchase behavior to make certain that the long-term value of the brand is included in the evaluation.

Real-time Marketing


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With multi-screening in mind, they question then is whether the airing of a commercial drives immediate related online activity. Do visits to the website go up reflecting the engagement and response to the TV commercial? Do searches go up in the minutes, hours or days following the airing of the commercial?

Currently real-time marketing as it is often defined looks only at a single digital channel coordinating actions in digital with response in digital. Real-time marketing needs to move to a much broader definition. One including real-time actions from mass media channels and their impact on digital response channels. For marketers, this means monitoring the actual airing of their media with the actions taken on their digital platforms. If a purchase is possible, it would be interesting to see the correlation between offline media and online purchase. If a call-to-action other than purchase is possible, these responses represent other critical value to the brand.

If purchase conversion or a direct call-to-action aren’t possible, can the brand build elements into their campaign designs to make sure the multi-screening that’s already taking place can enhance the value and response (whether purchase intent, awareness or brand building) they are otherwise missing?

Improving Marketing Effectiveness

We haven’t looked directly at this business issue but have looked at the incremental value that social and digital campaign elements provide to traditional media campaign and the incremental response and marketing ROI is enormous. With this in mind, fully coordinating the multi-screening experience when commercials are airing should lead to incremental volume that brands are otherwise ignoring.

If you’d like us to look at yours, let us know. We have the tools and capabilities in place to properly define the business problem, understand the consumer behavior and derive the true value a successful multi-screening campaign design can bring.