The constant-flux nature of the digital landscape means that brands must rapidly adapt their marketing strategies to map the shifting consumption habits of consumers. In order to be present where consumers are focusing their attention, brands must be aware of the shifts in real time, as they are happening.
Audience measurement company Nielsen has released their latest report on the US digital consumer (download here), showing how the ongoing consumption trends are impacting the way these consumers spend their time.
The report shows some key trends in the coming years that marketers should already be aware of.
The average American consumes 60 hours of content across devices weekly
This is a staggering amount of content, which not only shows how many opportunities for engagement there are but also how challenging it is to cut through the noise and be in the right place at the right time. As consumers increasingly watch TV or other content with a second device, it's essential for TV marketers to consider their companion approach online.
If a brand is running a primetime TV commercial, is there a time-targeted ad that is served within a short window after that commercial airs? Is there a way to capture that flow from consumed content to search online? How can this intent be most effectively leveraged into a purchase funnel? What about consumption of time-shifted content?
These questions are especially valuable to a content-rich industry like travel. Cross-marketing - say placing a destination in a TV show - can be especially lucrative here if the brand is able to capitalize on a full cross-device content strategy that drives actual sales conversions.
Here's the breakdown of how time is being spent each month, with the green showing an increase over 2012 in green showing a decrease in red.
As far as social media is concerned, the company reports that 64% of social media users say they use at least one social platform daily, and close to half (47%) of smartphone owners say they visit social networks each day.
And the rise of tablets clearly impacts the ability to view content wherever whenever in a much-improved user experience.
Hispanics are poised to dominate
Brands not prepared to play in the Hispanic market will be at a disadvantage in the coming years.
Hispanics are "digital trailblazers," according to Nielsen, who spend even more time consuming content than the national average and are adopting smartphones at a faster clip than the average consumer.
The report predicts that Hispanic consumers will contribute 60 percent of the US population growth in the next three years - an enormous number that is clearly a wholesale cultural shift.
Hispanics are also spending 8 hours a month watching online video - 90 minutes more than the average - which highlights a direct marketing opportunity for those seeking Hispanic consumers.
Second device usage
Of particular interest to marketers is how to leverage the second device experience to complement and enhance content being presented on-screen. This is something that could be especially lucrative for travel marketers, as they can tie in an on-screen experience to sell a similar package in an easy-to-book fashion - say during a travel show or other place-specific piece.
Here's how Nielsen sees consumers using their second screens while viewing a primary stream of content. Tablet is blue; smartphone green.
Shift to mobile continues
For anyone still skeptical about the true seismic shift that is mobile, consumers are increasingly turning to social networks on their smartphones versus their computers.
And with apps, 86% of consumers are spending time on apps versus only 14% on mobile web - another useful tidbit as brands choose how to deploy native apps and mobile-optimized websites.
The consumption data is essential to understand, as consumer habits should drive resource allocation to ensure the most efficient use of capital. Also, it's important to point out that these numbers come from Q2 and Q3 in 2013, so are already trailing consumer habits by many months.
Click to download the full Nielsen report.
NB: Connected consumer image courtesy Shutterstock.