Most digital publishers are experiencing similar patterns of readership behaviour across devices and platforms. The comScore chart below documents usage of three device streams: Computers and browser-accessed Web sites maintain strong readership during the work day, reaching high point around lunchtime; smartphones for news consumption are relatively steady over the course of waking hours; and tablets enjoy traffic in morning hours and a real peak in the evening.
Individuals fall along all three curves and do so across day parts — multiple devices used simultaneously and the composition varies by time of day. Consider the scenario where a commuter on the bus ride into work starts her day connecting on both a tablet and a smartphone. Our reader boots up her computer when getting into the office, checking news updates through the workday, but particularly while eating lunch at her desk. Of course, her smartphone never leaves her side for quick checks and alerts during those working hours. At night, she may unplug from the computer, but the tablet is within an arm's reach while making dinner, watching TV, and winding down with family. And, while not on the comScore chart, our commuter reads her print newspapers religiously every morning ...
This behaviour is pure gold for an advertiser. Consumers with multiple media touchpoints allow for the creative application of disciplined and targeted reach and frequency-building programmes. But before the gold can be realised, those multiple media touchpoints need to be quantified and made consistent across platforms — even better if the measurement spans print and digital.
For newspaper publishers with our future in digital media, it's our responsibility to guide the industry and our partners in creating a sound methodology to quantify cross-platform behaviour to facilitate advertisers buying access to our audiences with targeted, relevant and timely messages. New spin on the old phrase — Right Message, Right Time, Right Customer, Right Device.