A blog about Facebook marketing

Highlights from Facebook’s multi-device study

Thursday, April 24, 2014 Sven Hamberg

Facebook recently released a study digging into people’s behaviour over multiple devices, specifically investigating what role each device plays and how our relation to them differ. While I recommend you to read through the full study, here’s a breakdown of the highlights.

The study was carried out by market research agency GfK and involved over 4,000 people from the US and the UK.

Multiple devices is the norm

  • More than 60% of online adults in the US and UK use at least two devices every day
  • 25% of online Americans and 20% of online Brits use 3 different devices
  • More than 40% sometimes start an activity on one device and finish on another

Different device, different task

  • The smartphone is the device for communication and social activity
  • The tablet is the device for entertainment - and it’s shared with others in 50% of the cases
  • The laptop is the work station - 86% of UK and 80% of US online adults use it for tasks like working or managing finances

A single activity often involves multiple devices

  • More than 40% of online US and UK adults report that they sometimes begin and finish an activity on different devices
  • Over 50% of people who own 2 devices switch before completing tasks or activities - and this goes up to 75% for people who own 3 devices
  • The most common reason for switching is to access a larger screen
  • Tasks ended with a tablet in 25% of the cases in the UK and 22% in the US - with respective laptop figures of 60% and 58%

The study concludes that since people are in constant movement between devices, the challenges for marketers increase in terms of providing a solid brand experience as well as measuring the effect of efforts across devices.

And this is an area where Facebook really shines. I know it’s a bit obvious giving Facebook a shout out after referring a study they commissioned, but in terms of creative consistency over devices and cross-device measurement they have a very attractive solution.

Combine news feed placements with Facebook pixel tracking and you have a pretty solid foundation for meeting this challenge. Or as the study authors put it:

“Because people use their real identity on Facebook, it’s easier to reach, report and measure across devices, creating consistency in a complicated world.”

Connect with Sven on Twitter: @svenhamberg

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