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Microsoft-Multi-Screening-Behavior-Types-Mar2013In a new study [download page] of multi-screen engagement, Microsoft Advertising identifies 4 paths of multi-screening behaviors, finding that the most popular type is “content grazing” (68%), in which consumers use 2 or more screens to access separate or unrelated content. While this is akin to distraction behavior, many multi-screeners also use multiple devices to engage in “spider-webbing” (57%), where they view related content on multiple devices at the same time.

According to Microsoft Advertising, which conducted the study with Flamingo Research and Ipsos OTX, “spider-webbing” is curiosity-driven, whereby consumers look for information that can enhance their primary screen experience. This desire for deeper content engagement presents marketers with an opportunity to distribute content that meets consumer needs.

Less common, but still significant, is “quantum” behavior (46%), in which consumers start an activity on one device and continue it on another. This type of behavior is generally begun at work or while on-the-go, and is driven by a desire for efficiency. The researchers suggest that marketers “seek out partners who can help seed ideas on one screen for further exploration on another, and then encourage consumers to move to the screen that best suits the marketer’s goal.”

Finally, 39% of multi-screen consumers engage in “social spider-webbing,” in which consumers share and connect with others as their other device activity, such as by social networking while watching TV. The catalyst for this type of behavior is indeed often TV – figures specifically related to TV multi-tasking can be found in greater detail here.

About the Data: The quantitative portion of the Microsoft Advertising study included approximately 1000 consumers aged 18>65 in the US and UK respectively, as well as approximately 500 consumers in Brazil, Australia and Canada for a total of 3586 consumers globally. Microsoft partnered with Ipsos OTX to use a representative market sample via panel and required that consumers own
a representative mix of devices (smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and laptops). Results were analyzed throughout February 2013.

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