Multiple Screen Impact on Campaigns

Image by Christian

Setting up an online outreach effort used to be easy. You’d find a social tool or three, add your content, centralize on one page, and pollinate the idea with your friends.

Things have changed.

The current blurred multiscreen environment and converging media forces us to consider customers and stakeholders receive (or reject) our communications.

Blurred boundaries exist everywhere for brands . Consider the five screens that someone may use to access content: Smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop PC and finally Internet-empowered widescreen TVs.

Image via UX Magazine

That’s five, not one, but five diverse screen environments. Each is able to process and show different types of content well with its own strengths and weaknesses. Input methods vary by device.

Our stakeholders move between them seamlessly without thought, expecting the information and content to be relatively the same. This diverse experience means we need to consider several critical components in the online marketing campaign:

  • How the story unfolds across diverse media. A video on smartphone can be choppy depending on coverage, while magnificent on a large screen.
  • The contextual path as it’s seen across media. Which elements belong on which screens?
  • Impact on their input capabilities. Entering information on AppleTV is painful, while a smartphone empowers visual input, but not text. And of course a desktop computer is the best for most forms of input.

In building online experiences, these elements can really give a strategist fits. Google’s Mobile Ads division shows how the diverse environment may impact the national election this year.

Interactive really has two approaches to this conundrum: Create an HTML 5 empowered site that responds to the browser size and reconfigures content accordingly (responsive design), or build unique pages for each environment, e.g. a mobile site, a regular site, etc. Building a responsive web design may be more costly than building a unique site for each environment, but given the fractured online media environment, the investment may be worth it.

There are so many different behaviors to consider; synchronized usage, complimentary use (moving from one device to another), screen sharing, and on and on. Does the effort necessitate applications for better user experiences?

It really gets back to wireframing and storyboarding the cognitive process for diverse stakeholders. This doesn’t necessitate a complicated build of content and actions; but it does require a thoughtful one.

The questions that dictate the campaign design should start with how will my customer experience this effort? Will the experience fulfill them while achieving their needs and our goals?

What do you think about multiscreen marketing efforts?