Use Multiple Screens to Reach One Audience

Neal Thurman

You know you’re a media nerd when you get pumped to blog about the media consumption habits of 18- to 64-year-olds. Some would argue they’d rather attend an insurance seminar than talk media consumption.

If you’re one of those people, let me do you a solid — stop reading.

Still with me? That means you, like me, are fascinated by the motivating factors that drive the media consumption habits of the public at large. Understanding and extrapolating on these habits is the key to effectively connecting your target audience with what you’re selling – whether it’s an idea, a product or even yourself. But it takes more than just understanding and extrapolating…you need to think like your audience in order to reach them where and when it counts, and in multiple media outlets.

Take, for example, the work we do for the Kansas Department of Transportation, targeting 18- to 34-year-old males with pro-seatbelt and anti-impaired-driving messages with the goal of changing behaviors. The relatively recent rise of social media was a game changer that brought intense competition to the traditional media outlets, causing a massive shift in how 18-34-year-olds find and consume information. By staying current (a job in itself really), we’ve gleaned some important information that helps us decode how this group operates relating to media usage habits:

1.    Entertain them before trying to sell them.

  • Clever humor tends to work the best. Once you make them laugh, they’re more likely to be ready to listen to what you want to tell or sell them. Think of it as the “warm up” act at a comedy show, with your sales pitch as the main act.

2.    Don’t hassle them with irrelevant advertising interruptions (i.e., SPAM, unsolicited emails, anything they didn’t opt-in to, etc.).

  • They’re cool with getting relevant advertising that’s targeted to their interests and passions, however. They view it as helping them out as opposed to being scammed into buying into something.

3.    Most importantly, understand they’re multi-screen media consumers and plan your campaigns accordingly.

  •  TV, computer and mobile devices are king among 18- to 34-year-old males. Tailor your creative and messaging to suit the medium you’re utilizing in the most effective and relevant way possible.

It’s no secret that multi-screen strategies can achieve higher awareness levels and increased sales conversion rates. After all, no one “just watches TV” or “only uses the web” to get their media fix. Microsoft Advertising actually did a study about it and the white paper pretty much tells you how you can do it, too. For those that don’t like long, text-heavy reports (like me), here’s the Cliff’s Notes version:

  • The research study covered 18- to 64-year-old users that consume media via TV, computers, smartphones and video game consoles.
  •  They spoke with 1,200 consumers and found that while screen convergence is happening, each screen plays a specific role in the media consumption and entertainment experience.
  • Consumers had certain expectations about a consistent experience across the screens and in order to maintain engagement with them, these expectations need to be met.

So, it’s clear what needs to be done:  Develop cross- or trans-media campaigns that stretch across all screens to tell a story, raise brand awareness or attempt to increase conversions and purchasing.

Computers are still leading the way as the research tool to learn about brands and services (88 percent), but the smartphone is rapidly making inroads (36 percent) and has already surpassed TV (32 percent), while gaming consoles are bringing up the rear (11 percent).

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to turn on my TV, computer, game console and smartphone and converge with them.

— Neal Thurman, Trozzolo Account Supervisor

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