The Big Small Screen

multitasking device

Lately I seem to be spending more time accessing the mobile Web on my Android phone and less time through a conventional desktop browser. In fact, I’m not alone in this behaviour. Last week Google published a very telling infographic on their Mobile Ad Blog illustrating the rise of so-called multi-screen consumer behaviour. That is, people using more than one device (e.g. smartphone, laptop, tablet, TV) to accomplish a goal—be it: shopping, managing their finances, or planning a trip.

The statistics I found most interesting in this report: 38% of daily media interactions are on smartphones; 77% of “television viewers” watch TV on their smartphone or other device.

Shopping too, has become more digitally oriented involving multiple screens with smartphones and other readily connected devices making possible 81% of what Google refers to as “spur-of-the-moment shopping” or spontaneous goal-oriented searches.

With media consumption increasingly occurring through mobile devices it isn’t surprising to hear cable companies talk about the possibility of offering consumers pay-per-channel subscriptions. The current—and much loathed—television packages that typically force us into paying for channels we really don’t want (or watch) may soon be coming to an end, though perhaps too little too late a strategy for luring back disenchanted cord cutters.

While it’s easy to criticize the television industry for clinging to outdated models in light of the range and flexibility of viewing options available online, digital advertising too has its own fair share of hurdles lying ahead, particularly in the mobile space.
The push to monetize popular social networks like Facebook primarily through advertising revenues remains a questionable approach at best considering recent studies suggest 40% of mobile ad clicks are fraud or accidents.
Aside from the percentage of legitimate ad clicks versus those resulting from inadvertent actions (think fat fingers accidentally clicking or sliding across ads on a grimy touch screen—yes, I do it all the time too) the bigger question worth asking is whether or not ads really belong on social networks in the first place.
We don’t go onto Facebook or Twitter looking to research products or buy something new, instead we’re there interacting with friends and family, sharing Clint Eastwood invisible Obama jokes with others, and so on. As Diego Basch candidly points out, these sites shove ads in our faces and tempt us to buy shit we don’t need; “That’s the time-tested TV model. This entails annoying most people who are there simply for entertainment purposes.”

If I want annoying ads shoved in my face I’ll turn on the TV and watch a program on a channel I didn’t want included in my rinky-dink bundled package.

Image source: DorteF