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Behavior Impacts at the Intersection of Content and Devices

  • John Tusa

    John Tusa

    Industry Managing Director, Media, Telecommunications & Technology

Created at February 10th, 2021

Behavior Impacts at the Intersection of Content and Devices

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a big boost to the media, tech, and telecom industries. People are spending more time than ever on their devices, watching more video content, stocking up on new devices for work, leisure, and education, and increasingly relying on tech not just for leisure but for basic human connection. The way people are now consuming content creates an interlock between, media, tech, and telecom.  

Recent research shows that almost everyone who has a smartphone looks at it every few hours. Specifically, 1 in 5 of us looks at our smartphones at least once every 10 minutes, 1 in 3 looks at it every 20 minutes, and 1 in 2 looks at it every 30 minutes.1

Because of the pandemic, people are predominantly stuck at home and increasingly dependent on devices for content and connection. And that behavior is here to stay.

At this point we no longer have a choice of whether we will watch a movie at home or go to the theater.  We are watching from home.  We haven’t had a choice of whether to go to school or work.  Many of us have been doing both from our homes.  

Out of necessity, people have become more involved with their devices and the content they receive through them as an all-day, everyday occurrence. It’s a major change in personal behavior.  We’re more dependent on those devices, and the variety of devices, all the time. You have your phone, your iPad, or your tablet along with your computer and your smart TV, and you are likely to have several of these devices to support each of the members of your household. And you’re on them constantly.

A recent study2 by Acxiom shows: 

36% of people have bought a new device because of the pandemic, led by phone, PC/laptop, and TV, while there has also been a boost in home working equipment, school equipment, and gaming consoles. Parents with multiple kids at home, 18-34-year olds and those who work from home regularly represented most of that growth.

Other results of our survey: 54% of people have spent more time on the web, 49% have spent more time on TV, 44% on video streaming, 37% on social media and 32% on music streaming. At least 80% of people now do every one of these things, and most of them have also increased their media consumption. Overall, 46% of people say they have spent more time on home entertainment as a coping mechanism. 

Parents say their kids have been using their devices even more, while 18-24 year olds say they’ve increased their media consumption the most; for example 62% of 18-24 year olds say they spend more time video streaming now, compared to 23% of 65-74 year olds. Among 18-24 year olds, 52% say they have spent more time watching TV, compared to 46% of 65-74 year olds. 

Many people have subscribed to several new media services to pair with their increase in media consumption and their new devices. For example: 31% now have subscriptions to new video streaming, 13% for music, 12% for TV, 9% for gaming and 5% for news. They have done this mostly because they have more free time but also because of good offers and a desire for higher-quality media.

We all know people are buying more digitally, and we know they’re consuming media digitally. As a result, we’re seeing these digital-mobile behaviors at an all-time high. Interestingly, the research also shows that all this access and choice also increases the amount of stress related to device usage and devotion users experience. As noted above, the frequency of device interaction has the paradox of providing more creature comforts while simultaneously adding to our number of daily tasks.

This change in behavior brings a need to re-think, at least to some degree,  the role of marketing in acquiring, engaging, and keeping the most profitable customers. 

Here are 4 tips to acquire new customers, retain current customers  and cross-sell for future growth. 

Know your customer.

The personalization of messaging is even more critical because of fatigue from all the device activity. More than ever it’s important to know and understand the person at the other end of the device. Misdirected offers and messages fall flat (or may be viewed unfavorably where the brand is concerned) in a world where everything is running together. 

Develop better insights.

Data is essential to creating better customer experiences. It generates insights that help brands better segment their customers, for example,  so they can prioritize which should be supported telephonically versus through the website. It’s not actually a marketing thing, but from the consumer’s perspective it is probably very important 

Activate better audiences.

Building better digital and media audiences can help telco, tech, and media businesses stay on top by focusing marketing messaging and engagement strategies on those customers who are eligible and have a desire to switch carriers, show interest in new streaming services, or match the portrait for the next big show or series – just to name a few. Creating addressable high-value audiences and activating them in channels the customer uses can help break through the noise of our new “always-on” culture. 

Create better campaigns/messaging/offers. 

This convergence between the device, the technology and the content is profound, and therefore it’s more important than ever to know the full picture of each individual  to be able to know who is a customer, in what circumstances, across which parts of the business.  Understanding the changes in people’s behavior and using this insight to deliver targeted and contextually relevant messages at the right time to the right person is key to the ongoing health and well-being of media, tech, and telecom.  

1Acxiom Market Pulse, November 2020