When you’re watching TV, it’s a near inevitable fact that your smartphone will be within arms-grasp. You might use it occasionally to chase up some information you heard on TV, or maybe you’re live-tweeting your opinions about the football. In fact, about 77% of people will watch the telly with another device in hand.

Consumers are collectively spending about 90% of their time engaging with social media on screened devices. These can be anything from the TV, your smartphone, a tablet device or your computer, but it’s becoming an increasingly obvious trend that people are turning to using multiple screened devices, more so now than ever.

Welcome to the age of the Multiscreen.

We no longer seem to be enjoying media on a single media channel at any given time. In fact, we spend around 7 hours a day looking at various devices, and 2.5 of those hours is spent looking at our smartphones. The Millward Brown AdReaction study surveyed 30 countries around the world, and concluded that 65% of people will begin viewing media on a screened device before switching to another. The most common of these was switching from TV viewing to smartphone viewing, with 37% of all sequential screening taking place in this manner.

About 35% of people use their screened media devices simultaneously, with a little less than half the multiscreen populations of Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines choosing to use their devices in this way. In most of these instances, about 62% of simultaneous mobile usage is to search unrelated content.

As of June, 2013, 27% of Australian homes were connected to four different viewing screens (TV, smartphone, tablet and computer), and this is up from the 16% that were connected in 2012. We are seeing an increasing trend in the usage of multiple devices, which indicates that people are increasingly turning to multi-screen usage.

So what does this mean for marketing?

It’s important to consider how people are using their phones in a multi-screen capacity. The first thing to note is that people still spend the majority of their time watching TV. However, TV fuels discussions on social media and prompts audiences to search information on their phone after they have seen something that interests them.

To this end, brands should make sure they hone their marketing campaign to the digital. Be aware of events or programs that are being screened and when. You can use this to target particular audiences. Consumers are more receptive to ads on TV and smartphones than laptops and tablets. Keep in mind that most sequential multiscreen journeys begin at the TV screen and end up at the smartphone. You might want to organise your ad campaign so that a viewer might see something on TV and feel compelled to seek further information on their phones.
Make sure that your site is easily accessible from multiple devices, and that customers can save their progress regardless of what device they used to access your site. This means being able to save potential purchases in online shopping carts or even send email notifications to ensure that the customer’s data is accessible from one device to another.