How Are We Using All of Our Screens?

Published on November 11, 2016

There are more choices than ever when it comes to digital media consumption. Whereas just a few years ago audiences were bound to desktops and laptops, today there is a glut of options, ranging from smartphones to tablets to “smart” TVs.

Have you ever wondered just how users are putting all of these devices to use? Us too! Fortunately, the mavericks at Gryffin Media and TollFreeForwarding recently got to the bottom of it, exploring screen usage in an amazing infographic, dubbed “The Multiscreen World.”

So what are some key things to take away from their findings? Here are some of the most interesting trends and habits from the infographic:

Smartphones Are Our Default Devices

91% of small businesses did not have a mobile optimize website as recently as 2014. We’ve got some shocking news for anyone who’s still afraid to embrace mobile: Smartphones are the single most important media device that audiences are using today. They’re not the exception to the rule anymore; they’re the default way that audiences are consuming their social media, news, and entertainment.

The average multiscreen user consumes about seven hours of screen media every single day; smartphones make up the vast bulk of that time, accounting for 147 minutes every single day. This means that smartphone use far outstrips both television use (113 minutes/day), and, most notably, laptop use (just 108 minutes/day).

We Are All Multi-Tasking

We have more options than ever when it comes to media devices. Rather than choosing one option and sticking with it, however, a lot of users are simply opting to multi-task; according to the study, simultaneous screen use accounts for a whopping 35% of all device usage, whether it’s shifting between devices or using multiple gadgets at once.

Our CEO, Jason, knows a little something about that:


Even more interesting are the ways in which we’re multitasking today. For instance, 72% of smartphone users engage with their phone while watching TV. Generally, these sorts of multiscreen habits fall into two different camps: meshing and stacking. Let's explore:

Meshing occurs when audiences use a smaller screen to supplement their viewing or work experience: They may be using their social channels to discuss what they’re watching or doing, employing search to find out more about a program or to respond to a commercial. Common meshing habits for smartphone users include responding to polls or commenting on social media; on laptops or tablets, meshers tend to access related content, including multimedia and video.

While meshing tasks are all interrelated, stacked tasks typically have nothing in common. Instead, stacking is what occurs when a consumer uses media while also engaging in unrelated activities, whether it’s to kill time or simply to increase productivity. In the cases of stacking, mobile users tend to actually be more productive, using their smartphones for social media or email and actually putting their laptops to work doing business or browsing unrelated content.

So, what does any of this have to do with digital marketing? Plenty!

Your audience’s media consumption habits directly correlate to their shopping habits; your marketing doesn’t only need to reach eyes, it has to engage users on their terms, securing a maximum of attention. Without a laser focus on optimizing your content for your audience and for their devices, it’s more likely than ever to get washed away in the digital flood.

Ready to talk strategy for your brand? Curious about what exactly it means to be “mobile optimized?” Geek is here to help! Drop us a line today to talk shop, and be sure to follow our team on Facebook and Twitter for the latest in digital marketing and technology news. 

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