It’s evening, and the family is in the living room. The teenager is on her laptop Facebooking, Mom is reading the news on a tablet, and Dad is checking email on his smartphone. Oh, yes, and they’re all watching a show on television. Does this scene sound familiar? It should, according to a new report from Google

Welcome to the multi-screen world, where it would not be uncommon that you’re using more than one screen while you read this. But what does the sequential or simultaneous use of different devices mean for content creation and digital marketing?

The Google report,  "The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-platform Consumer Behavior," developed in partnership with Sterling Brands and Ipsos, focuses on how consumers are engaging with content across these different form factors.

90 Percent of Content is Screen-Based

The report, which surveyed 1611 participants over nearly 8000 hours of activity and more than 15,000 media interactions, found that 90 percent of our content interaction these days is screen-based, leaving only 10 percent for static displays in newspapers or magazines. The report didn’t cover books, but the 10 percent does include radio.

On average, TVs are still the most watched screens, at 43 minutes daily. Computers score second with 39 minutes, followed by 30 minutes on tablets and 17 minutes on smartphones. The report points out that the choice of which device is often driven by context -- where you are, what you want to accomplish and the amount of time available. For instance, checking the weather on a mobile device like your smartphone as you head out the door in the morning is different from perusing movie reviews on your laptop at home in the evening.

Savvy content creators and marketers, according to the report, need to take into account how each device type is used, and for what purpose. It cited one typical respondent, named Bradley, who said his smartphone is a “personal device” to be used for “quick, precise feedback.” The tablet is disconnected from work life, he said, adding that it was a “dream world” -- which the report said often includes media consumption, shopping or trip planning. And he regarded a laptop as work, conveying the sense that he should be “crunching numbers or doing something.”

New Google Report Looks at Content, Marketing in a Multi-screen World

Sequential, Simultaneous Device Use

When devices are used sequentially, there are some common usage patterns. For instance, the report noted that search is the most common function used across all devices. Searching on one device can lead to a related search on another.