From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:
Lots of investors are worried that Web companies such as Google and Facebook don’t have a clear way to make money as people increasingly access their services on smartphones and tablets instead of personal computers. Small screen sizes, the intensely personal nature of phones, and other factors mean it’s not readily apparent what kind of advertising will work best on mobile devices.
But new research commissioned by Google indicates the problem is even more complicated: People aren’t just going mobile, they’re using those mobile devices at the same time as, or right before or after, watching television, using their PC, or settling into the couch with a tablet. That means that it’s not enough simply to reach people on smartphones and tablets alone. Marketers must understand how people juggle those four screens for various tasks and types of entertainment throughout the day, so they can target ads that are most likely to appeal to them on each device given the different things they’re doing on each device.
Google’s research (full report here), conducted by branding and design firm Sterling Brands and market researcher Ipsos and summarized in the infographic below, provides some insights into this complex mix of devices and activities. But here are some of the highlights of the report, entitled The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior, that might be most relevant to marketers trying to figure out this whole mobile thing:
* Some 90% of people shuttle between various devices to get a task done, such as seeing a car ad on TV, checking it out further on a smartphone or tablet, then doing more intensive research on their PC.
* People use multiple screens in two ways: sequentially (going from one screen to another) and simultaneously (using more than one screen at once). The former is more for targeted tasks, while the latter is mostly supplementing TV watching with browsing on another device. …