Context is key

Context is key

With so many organisations getting their location based marketing wrong what is the secret behind communicating and engaging with consumers without being invasive and alienating?

Consumers today own multiple devices and move seamlessly between them throughout the day (sequential screening), or using multiple devices simultaneously (simultaneous screening). The device many consumers choose to use at any given time often depends on the context i.e. how much time they have, what their goal is, where they are and their attitude toward what they are doing.

Portable devices now allow consumers to shift from one screen to another and back again to achieve a certain goal or accomplish a task. These main modes of multi-screen usage, sequential screening and simultaneous screening, mean consumers attention is split between multiple devices and businesses must ensure, no matter what device a consumer is using, they are easily accessible and visible on that device.

According to Google’s Multi-Screen World report, on average consumers spend almost four and a half hours of their leisure time in front of screens each day. This time is split or used simultaneously between a Smartphone, a Tablet, a PC and TV and the amount of time spent with each is relevant to the consumer’s individual context.

The consumer’s context, and how they feel about your brand at any of these given times, depends on certain scenarios happening with in their daily life. The device or several devices a consumer chooses to use depends strongly on the amount of time they have, the goal they which to achieve, where they are (office, home, outdoors etc), and how they are feeling at that particular time of day.

This scenario driven context is what we call the customer journey and it’s extremely important to how organisations interact and engage with their target market via multiple mobile devices. The customer journey is an essential part of a mobile strategy and context is key when it comes to deciding on which multi-screen platform will be more effective and accessible for your target audience.

So what devices suit your target market?


TV is no longer the main device commanding our attention or being used by consumers to engage with brands – it is now the device used most commonly during simultaneous screening and is therefore the main catalyst for many search queries used by the three other main mobile devices.


Smartphones are the go to mobile device for most consumers. It is the one device majority of consumers will have with in arms reach at any given moment and it would be the number one device used by those on-the-go.

The context that drives this device is one of urgency – the consumer has little or limited time, they have a small goal they want to achieve, they are travelling or somehow on-the-go and may be feeling a bit rushed or feeling as though they don’t have much time for in-depth research.

Devices are used by consumers for short searches and quick snippets of information. They are the device quickly pulled out to send an SMS, scan a QR code on a direct marketing flyer or used look up a website seen on an outdoor ad. It is the main device used to start online research or online activities.

All messages and engagement strategies for targeting Smartphone consumers would need to be very fast, to the point and, most importantly, personalised.


If Smartphones are the ‘quick-use, on-the-go’ devices then tablets are the more laid-back and relaxed counter-part.

Tablets are the devices used mainly by consumers in the relaxing and comfortable space of their own home. Used for leisurely browsing and entertainment purposes, these devices hold no sense of time-limits – unlike the Smartphone which is used in short bursts.

Tablets are used for more in-depth research and consumers will take more time on these devices to read copy, learn more about a product, and interact with a brand.

Engaging with tablet users isn’t as rushed as Smartphone engagement, but it still needs to be personalised.

PC or laptop

PCs and laptops are generally used by consumers in a serious, business or work state of mind. These consumers are usually completing tasks that require a large attention span and intense focus.

These devices are used mainly for search and completing work tasks and are generally used either at work or at home but in a more professional context. The PC is seen by consumers now as a link to their work life rather than a link to leisure.

Organisations must target multiple devices to ensure they are engaging and connecting with their target market at all points throughout the day. Businesses now must understand the one point that links all devices together and drives multi-screen use is search and in order to stay relevant businesses must ensure they are accessible and visible regardless of what device is used.

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