Recently, I have adopted what I feel is fairly obsessive compulsive behaviour.  After watching television for a little while I find myself surrounded by electronic devices, my laptop open and smart phones strewn about.  Apparently, I have become unabl to last even half an hour without checking my multiple email accounts, visiting my favourite social media sites or surfing the web for things that have peaked my interest on the television.

Sometimes, when I listen to new music or when I find a new, great restaurant, I feel like I am operating ahead of the crowd and can’t wait to share my trendy information with family and friends.  However, this is not the case with my newfound habit, I thought it was something I should keep to myself.

So how surprised was I to come across Google’s consumer research report “The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior”.  Not only is my behaviour common place, there is even a hip name for it, multi-screening.

Having worked in media for sometime, I fully understand the many benefits of marketing across platforms to reach as many target customers as possible.  In fact, I am a prime example of a target customer for many of the world’s largest consumer brands.  This is why I found it reassuring to know that I was not alone.  In fact, 90% of participants in Google’s report said they move between devices to accomplish goals.

To further understand multi-screening, it can be broken down into two main modes.  First is sequential screening, using one electronic device to start a task and another to finish it.  Examples are, seeing a car on television and then using a tablet to research it further, or searching for flights on your smart phone and then booking them on a laptop.  Then there’s the second way people multi-screen, which is simultaneously.  Either, using multiple screens to perform the same task or my personal favourite, completely unrelated activity.

So what can be done to capture the attention of informed consumers quick to jump to the next screen?  With technology advancing and increasing the ways people are receiving their information, it is even more important companies stay competitive and make a lasting impression.  Effective frequency is the number of times a person must be exposed to a specific advertising message before a response is made and while some theories place this number as high as twenty, in reality this number isn’t set in stone.  Depending on the message and other variables, like the source, consumers may be driven to respond much sooner.  For example, statistics show eighty percent of consumers prefer receiving information about a company or product through custom content, ninety percent find custom content useful and seventy eight percent believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them.

Similar to the way the infomercial revolutionized the commercial, content driven marketing campaigns are connecting with people in a whole new, friendlier way.  Sitting comfortably at home, surrounded and empowered by their devices modern consumers are looking to be engaged.  In 2010, it was revealed that every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.  So with attention spans at an all time low and information at an all time high, engaging them may be easier said then done.

One thing is certain, as technology continues to change the way your message is delivered, integrated PR and marketing plans that find ways to engage consumers and develop lasting relationships will be key to staying competitive in a quickly changing digital marketplace.