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Multi-Screening: Everything A Marketer Needs To Know

It’s become one of the most significant trends since the smartphone revolution really took hold, but what is Multi-Screening and why is it significant? It’s not as simple a question as it may seem, not least because of the variety of different terms. Multi-Screening, Dual Screening, Second Screening, and N Screening have all been used to define the same basic trend: consumers using a second device (a laptop, a mobile phone, or a tablet) while watching the television. In this article, we look at exactly what Multi-Screening is and what it could mean for brands.

What is Multi-Screening?

Have you ever found yourself trawling through Twitter or checking Facebook when you’re watching something on TV? Maybe you’ve played a game on your tablet or mobile, caught up with the latest news, or answered a few emails. If you’ve ever done any of these, then you’ve Multi-Screened: you’ve viewed multiple screens at the same time. It’s a simple enough definition, but it doesn’t really cover exactly why Multi-Screening has become such a significant trend, or why it represents such a big opportunity for marketers.

Why is Multi-Screening significant?

It may not seem like Multi-Screening is an especially revolutionary concept. After all, you’ve been able to Multi-Screen since computers were made small enough to fit in living rooms, or any other place where televisions could also be held. Why is Multi-Screening becoming such a significant concept now?

One reason is the ease and speed of the smartphone. Now consumers can (and do) scroll through their device quickly and easily, without having to take their mind off the programme they’re watching too much. This makes for a much more streamlined process than using a desktop, and therefore much more attractive for the consumer. Nobody likes chunkiness, and smartphones and tablets take that away, creating a smoother and more tempting way for consumers to Multi-Screen.

More than that though Multi-Screening offers up an incredible opportunity for marketers to create more measured and targeted campaigns. In 2015, a report found that 87% of consumers Multi-Screen while watching TV, while in 2014 a survey revealed that a large portion of Multi-Screeners use their devices to access live information about the programme they’re watching or – even more critically – to discover information about a product or service they have seen while watching the programme.

This is called Meshing, which is one of three modes of Multi-Screening. The other two are Stacking (in which a viewer is performing an action on a second device that is unrelated to what’s on the television screen) and Shifting (in which a viewer starts performing an action on one device – maybe a mobile phone – and then shifts across to another device – maybe a tablet). Meshing is the most significant of the three as it builds a direct connection between what is on the television screen and what the viewer is looking for on their second screen.
What is the Multi-Screening Opportunity for Marketers?

The opportunity for marketers looking to take advantage of Multi-Screening on their social channels (especially Twitter) is clear. When viewers watch a live event such as an awards show or sporting occasion on their television they take to social media to voice their opinion on it. They tweet reactions and use hashtags to connect with others watching the same event. It’s easy for marketers to take advantage of this, and both Twitter and Facebook have sought to leverage the opportunity, with the latter launching Facebook Sports Stadium to facilitate the real-time discussion.

Beyond social, however, there’s an even greater opportunity. In 2015, Google estimated that it received at least 1 trillion searches per year. That’s obviously an incredible number – but it’s also an incredible opportunity. Viewers who Multi-Screen are not just taking to social media to find the information they’re looking for; they’re also taking to Google. These are what Google calls Micro Moments – points in the day where a search is inspired by something the searcher has seen or experienced, or simply something that’s cropped up during the day that they need (for example, maybe they need sun cream on a particularly sunny day).

Television plays a role in prompting these Micro Moments. Imagine you’re watching a program and a song is played that you like. You type some of the lyrics into Google in an attempt to find out the name of the song, and then move on to actually buying it. Or maybe you’ve seen an item of clothing you like being worn by someone on TV. You search for relevant keywords and find the dress (or an equivalent of it) you’re looking for. Both these scenarios are Micro Moments, and in both cases, it’s important for brands to take advantage.

How do brands take advantage of Multi-Screening?

There are many different ways to do this, with the most significant being to produce good quality content that will tap into the kind of searches people are looking for. So, for example, if you’re looking to tap into searches revolving around fashion, creating a blog that covers the latest fashion trends and news is a good way to go about doing that. Find what people are looking for, understand how interest in your site is connected to TV trends, and build your activity around it.

Alternatively, you can use Pay Per Click advertising to tap into these moments by timing your ads to run at moments of key TV activity. So if your fashion company wants to tap into the rush of interest around the Oscars, running a PPC campaign around the build-up to the event, and the event itself, is likely to be a good way to drive interest to your site.

This is the foundation that mporium IMPACT is built on. Automatically delivering PPC ads based on what’s on the television, mporium IMPACT is intelligent, automated, and scalable, allowing brands to tap into these crucial Multi-Screening moments and take advantage of consumer interest. To find out more, visit the mporium IMPACT page.


Multi-Screening is now a critical part of people’s lives, and therefore a critical part of online marketing. By understanding this trend, and devising a strategy that can make it work for you and your brand, you can attract more interest, more awareness, and more sales.

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