Multi-Screen Storytelling: Latinos on Steroids

As I was about to start this column, I opened TweetDeck to look for some inspiration. It was then that I ran into a tweet by @josehuitron about a new piece by @briansolis: “Content and the New Marketing Equation.” The article was about a report with the same name released by Rebecca Lieb, analyst at Altimeter Group. It addresses how marketers must evolve from advertisers into storytellers. Instead of interrupting consumers with messages that are about “me” (brand/product), they need to attract, entertain, and inform. Storytellers are sought and revisited…they often enter into a dialogue with the audience, Lieb says.

And the timing couldn’t have been better. Me jumping from one screen to another while writing an article is a perfect analogy of how consumers multitask today. Rebecca Lieb says it right: marketers need to rethink the way they deal with this empowered consumer (a consumer on steroids).

The Multi-Screen Phenomenon

Multitasking is a universal phenomenon, but Latinos are taking it to the extreme based on the following data.

  1. More screens available. More than 45 percent of Latinos have a smartphone and 28 percent of Latinos currently own a tablet (versus 34 percent and 24 percent respectively for non-Hispanic whites).
  2. Tablet penetration is growing faster. A 190 percent increase in Hispanic tablet users from February 2011 to December 2011; that’s almost double the increase for the general population.
  3. Multitasking frequently. Digital Hispanics spend 42 percent of their media time multitasking; they are more likely than the general population to combine TV viewing with browsing the web.
  4. Mobile shopping. Latinos experienced the greatest growth in shopping on mobile devices (August 2011 versus December 2011). According to comScore, they also make up about 25 percent of mobile shoppers in different aspects: checked product availability, found store locations, compared prices, found coupons or deals, etc.

Multi-Enjoying or Multi-Distracting?

Considering the growing multi-screen experience, creating engagement can be challenging for both consumers and marketers. How can we address this? With common sense: trying to understand media multitasking from a consumer perspective.

  • Multitasking can be addictive. Forty-seven percent of Latinos are looking at other screens while watching television. Furthermore, young Hispanics spent two hours and 53 minutes watching video, playing games, and listening to music on mobile devices. That’s more than twice the time that whites, who spent one hour and 20 minutes doing the same activities, according to a study by Northwestern University.
  • Latinos are struggling with multitasking. Based on observations on qualitative research, consumers have a hard time trying to find a balance. They feel excited about the enhanced experience that another screen offers while watching TV, but also feel stressed and distracted.
  • The need to share now. Social media is replacing the office coffee break. Why wait till tomorrow if I can share on the go? That Latino mentality is aligned with the growth of Hispanic mobile Facebook users: currently almost half of Hispanic Facebook users.
  • Multitasking occurs more at home. According to Google, search peak time by device is different: during the day is mostly via PC, in the morning is mostly via cell, and tablets play a more important role altogether with PC. Additionally, app usage peaks during TV prime time. Also, tablets are mostly used at home, connected to Wi-Fi. The perfect storm: TV and mobile devices.

From Media Planning to Media Storytelling

The multi-screen experience is putting Latinos on steroids. Is your brand taking advantage of this?

We are all part of this phenomenon (like my personal story at the beginning of this column). Yet, it’s surprising to see how many marketers and advertising agencies continue to approach consumers the usual way. They continue to plan media like in the old days. Yes, they might add mobile or social media to the plan, but they still aren’t shifting from advertisers into storytellers.

Here are some thought-starters:

  • Start with the consumer. Understand how the consumers are behaving and build a plan that is consumer focused, not media focused.
  • Don’t plan media; plan for an experience. What is your brand trying to tell? What is its story? How do you want to involve the consumer? What’s the overall experience you want to create?
  • Plan for a whole experience. Optimizing your web for mobile is not enough. Content and experiences should be part of a whole. Your TV spots and mobile devices should collaborate to create a single scene.
  • Think real-time interaction. Your social media strategy should play a key role. How can you leverage what consumers are experiencing on TV and offer a space to enhance that experience with people with the same interests or passions? TV shows are getting better and better at this; brands still have a lot to learn.
  • Integrate content and media. It should be a seamless experience. Separation between creative and media agencies isn’t helping. Fortunately, in the Hispanic market, many agencies manage both sides of this storytelling. We have a great opportunity to create successful case studies that can feed industry best practices.
  • Search should play a key role. Search sparks curiosity: 78 percent of Latinos have used search engines to find more information on a show they were watching on their TV.
  • Simplify. Consumers are overwhelmed by this multitasking experience. Make it simple; they will thank you for that.

There are more thought-starters I would like to share, but sorry…I need to get back to tweeting. The TV show I’m watching while writing this column has increased my desire to multitask.

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