The Many-screened Hydra

heraclesIn the second of the mighty Heracles’s legendary twelve labors, he confronted the Hydra. The Hydra was a terrifying creature with many heads, poisonous breath, blood so virulent that even its tracks were deadly, and for each head that was cut off, two more would grow in its place. In an epic struggle, he killed this awful creature through a combination of strength and intelligence.

What’s the lesson? Aside from the value of pants as a social institution, I see many businesses that feel like they are confronting their own Hydra with the proliferation of devices and screen sizes that their market is using to engage with them.

A recent, illuminating study from Google called The New Multi-screen World offers a brilliant set of insights into how we can take advantage of completely new behaviors that are emerging. I’ll discuss the implications in our next few posts.

multi-screen

Simultaneous vs. Sequential Screening – Takeaway #1

Do you treat mobile phone customers as a low priority? I know a lot of businesses that still think this way because “only” 10-20% of their website visitors come on a mobile phone.

Guess what? That’s wrong. And here’s one big reason why: people use multiple devices in two ways today. First, sequential screening, where we move between devices to complete a task, and second, simultaneous screening, where we use multiple devices at the same time.

When people engage in sequential screening, 65% of those tasks are started on a smartphone. Almost two thirds! This is a great argument for having a responsive website where your visitors can get the full experience of your company on their phone in a way that’s optimized to their device. So if your mobile phone traffic is low, it may be because visitors are stopping their engagement with you before it even starts.

Next time: We’ll talk about how finding customers in the multi-screen world is like online dating…

Hannah talking on the phone