Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior in the Digital World

Estimated Reading Time for This Post: 2 minutes, 46 seconds; approximately 554 words.

Each day, countless consumers use multiple mobile devices to engage in shopping. Interestingly enough, there are multiple touchpoint stages that a consumer will go through before a purchase is actually made. For example:

Consumer uses tablet to browse for items


Consumer uses laptop to research item further


Consumer goes to store, uses mobile device to research item further


Consumer makes in-store purchase and/or uses laptop to order online

Looking at Consumer Behavior on Digital Devices

In a 2012 study by Google called, The New Multi-screen World, Google looked at consumer behavior across multiple devices in order to study how consumer behavior has (and continues to) evolve. The following are some interesting statistics:

  • We use an average of 3 different screen combinations/day (81% smartphone + TV, 66% smartphone + laptop/pc, 66% laptop/pc + TV)
  • TV is a major catalyst for search
  • Micro-moments across multiple screens offer advertisers more touchpoint opportunities to engage consumers throughout the day – ex: someone who has 15 free minutes of time will check their bank account online, etc. via their mobile device.
  • 44% of all spur-of-the-moment searches on smartphones were to accomplish a goal compared to 43% on PCs
  • 59% of smartphone users shop online in-home
  • 84% of smartphone users shop from their PC/laptop at home
  • 81% of smartphone users engage in spur of the moment shopping versus 58% of PC/laptop users
  • 67% of us start shopping on one device and continue on another

What Online Marketers Need to Understand

Because of the increasing prevalence and saturation of mobile/digital devices in the marketplace, one could definitively conclude that mobile devices will continue to not only influence consumer buying behavior; mobile devices will also continue to function as an accessory to making purchasing decisions. Therefore, businesses need to adjust their marketing strategies and pay closer attention to how consumers use mobile devices for researching, browsing, and buying.

For example, not all digital devices are created equal. Abandoned shopping carts from mobile devices (and digital devices) may be traced back to poorly designed websites, confusing checkout screens, and the inability for users to save their progress between different digital devices. Saved shopping carts, for instance, may help to keep consumers engaged with the brand/product and encourage them to come back to complete their purchase (Amazon is a great example of this).

Marketers shouldn’t limit themselves to creating conversion goals and CTAs that are targeted for one device. Rather, marketers need to understand that consumer behavior today often includes the use of multiple devices, sometimes simultaneously. For example, Google revealed that often, smartphones are companion devices to consumers while they are watching television. During commercials, or even during shows, consumers use their smartphones to research information about what they’re watching, or they may use their smartphones to browse other un-related information.

It is during these downtimes that marketers have an excellent opportunity to convey branded messages. For instance, if your targeted audience is Baby Boomers, it may behoove you to research the prime time frame and/or shows that Boomers watch, and build your marketing messages/collateral into a format that is readily and easily available to them – whether its ads on Facebook, Twitter, or some other online spot.

Final Questions

  • What sorts of digital devices is your target audience using?
  • If you’re a marketer, how can you help your clients achieve more visibility through studying consumer behavior?
  • What strategies do you plan to put into place to tie into how consumers interact with their digital devices?