Whether we like it or not, it is human nature to judge a book by its cover and when it comes to viewing content the presentation and suitability is vital in determining its success. 

The constant changing nature of content consumption presents a challenge to content producers: ensuring their content is suitable for all devices (smartphones, laptops/PCs and tablets). Facebook released gargantuan ad figures of $2.5 billion for the Jan-March quarter earlier this year and the majority of this figure was made up of mobile-based advertising, the first time mobile devices have outperformed PC's. It is clear then that a more complex content strategy is needed to take better advantage of the multitude of platforms used by content consumers today.

Multi-screen usage

It can be seen that the key to creating the best content to be used on a range of devices is to understand their behaviour and usage patterns. From this a greater knowledge of why, when and how devices are used can allow improved content to be created. 

To gain the desired deep understanding we would need to identify; the most prominent type of content viewed on each device, when each device was used and how long we spend on each device during an interaction.  

 

The person behind the screen

So far I have stressed that the key to exceptional multi-platform content is to focus on a devices usage patterns, although this is important there should also be a focus on the user who is trying to access your content on their device. By understanding the needs of the user you can create content that is better aimed at the necessary audiences.

Through the segmentation of your audience you can separate each "segment" of your audience, giving them a clearly defined set of needs and traits. For example, one segment of your audience might be men over 30 who like to catch up with news on their smartphones during their commute to work. 

By defining each segment of your audience a better idea will be gained of how you can produce content that either a certain section of your audience or the entirety of it will find interesting and useful, ensuring that throughout content creation a key focus is being placed on your audience.

Usage-Why, when and how

Understanding what your audience use each device for and their behaviours when using them allows content to be aimed at consumption for specific platforms. Thus ensuring it remains relevant and suitable for the platform it is being aimed at. Recently carried out research has enabled us to gain a better idea of when devices are used and what they are used for (table shown below).

 

A number of conclusions can be drawn from this research that helps us identify how to aim content at each device in the most suitable manner.

Tablets are typically used at the start and end of the day, as well as the weekends, and are used to keep us entertained and help us to relax. As a result of this, tablets are increasingly being used to carry out research, as well as online shopping, with their medium interaction time (from the graph shown below). 

Tablets are becoming the number one device for sellers in term of conversion, making them a critical platform for online sellers. Furthermore, users are leaving more reviews on tablets than other devices so ensuring the review and comment system is fluid and responsive is similarly vital.

Smartphones are clearly the most mobile of devices and so are suitably used during the peak commuting hours, as a result of this they are used mainly for small chunk browsing for quick updates and news stories. A recent study by Google has identified how much time we spend on average when we use our smartphone, tablet or PC, the results from this study are shown below. 

 

Smartphones have the shortest average interaction time, meaning that users will want to find their desired content quickly. Accessibility and touch screen navigation support is therefore vitally important for mobile devices as users will be moving around multiple blog posts and the ever popular social media, allowing greater content consumption.

Small, easy to understand list and image heavy posts are the most suited for smartphones and it is critical to ensure the responsiveness of content is high.

Desktop Computers are the easiest platform to produce content for as it is the device that has been used for the longest and it has allowed us to gain experience with producing content for this platform. 

Longer, more in-depth articles come into their own on desktop computers as we spend more time during interactions with a desktop computer, however all content forms work well on this platform. A more interactive experience should be offered on desktops to take advantage of their superior browser capabilities over the other devices and to harness the full potential of a larger screen experience.

For all devices it is imperative that your content is easily accessible to your desired audience. A consistent content experience and a clear, easy to use menu structure will make it easy for users to come back to content they have already viewed and continue searches when switching devices. 

Content Design

This may all seem very daunting; having to ensure content always stays focused on the audience whilst also factoring in the differing behaviours and natures of each device. The way to consistently accomplish these two important areas is to have a structural plan which is checked as content is produced. 

The main areas to cover in such a structural plan include the following:

  • Ensuring you meet the needs of all segments of your audience
  • The continued creation of content that is suitable for each device; smartphone, tablet and PC
  • The use of different content types that are relevant to your auidence (articles, blog posts, info graphics etc.)
  • The use of features like images, lists and graphs to keep content interesting and unique for every device platform

This will help you to produce continually relevant and suitable content for all platforms and not be left behind by the ever changing dynamic that is content consumption.

By creating content that is suitable for any device you can achieve the best content strategy possible, taking advantage of the wide audience that exists when combining that of each device platform.

At Orchid Box we are experts on search and content, to find out how to improve your content's visibility in search results call Frank on +44 20 7097 8906.