The Multi-Screen Consumer

The use of mobile search to find local business information is increasing exponentially. DAC Group’s 2012 proprietary landscape study with Kantar showed mobile as the fifth most popular source used when searching for business information in the U.S. overall. Breaking this down into demographics, mobile is actually the third most used source by those aged 18-34. Consumers are now engaging with multiple devices to find businesses and research purchases and it is important to understand these trends to be able to reach consumers at all points of the buying cycle.

It is a widely accepted concept that most often, smartphones and tablets are not always replacements for desktop or laptop computers, but usually complements to the other devices. Tablets and smartphones are seen as “extended screens,” used most often after work hours and while on the go, with some studies even breaking down the typical device usage by hour in a day.  Each device can lead to purchases, but how often do shoppers use multiple screens in the purchase process?

DAC Group, in association with Kantar, asked US and Canadian respondents if they have ever started a search on a device like a smartphone, tablet, or computer and continued the search or purchased something on another device. This search behavior, often called sequential screening, is very common and happens quickly, with Google reporting that 98% of sequential screen searchers complete their search on a second device within one day. DAC Group/Kantar’s results showed that 59% of both Americans and Canadians have engaged in multi-screen search behavior. When asked where consumers start the search, 69% of Americans began their searches on Smartphones. Mobile phone searches were also the most popular starting point for Canadians, with 61% stating mobile search as their first source of search.

After the initial research, where do the users go to continue the search or complete a purchase?  About two-thirds of respondents in each country, 73% in the US and 67% in Canada, used a laptop or desktop as a second point of search. These findings are consistent with Google’s research into conversions across devices, as detailed in their New Multi-Screen World study.

multi-screenworld

Some studies suggest that these multi-screen consumers can be more valuable to your business, as their continuation of their search indicates higher purchase intent. Google’s Mobile Search Moments study, in association with Neilsen, found that when people use mobile search to help make a decision they are 30% more likely to visit a retailer website, 57% more likely to visit a store, and 51% more likely to make a purchase than the average consumer.

Is your business easily visible and optimized for all screens? DAC Group’s Kantar study found that 44% of Americans and Canadians encounter non-optimized mobile sites at least somewhat frequently. Furthermore, 45% of Americans and 40% of Canadians report often or sometimes finding business listing information to be incorrect.  Ensuring that business information is correctly listed on all sites and screens where your most valuable consumers will be looking will help to maximize leads and increase the likelihood of conversion across all devices.

Rebecca Frantz, Marketing Research Assistant

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