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How the digital era changed consumer behavior

How the digital era has changed consumer behavior
27. 03. 2019

July 16, 2021, I Post entirely revised and updated.

Digitization is fundamentally changing consumer behavior

Over the last few years, customer journeys have changed significantly: Consumers buy on mobile devices, per voice assistants, or directly in their social media feed - Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok are sending their greetings… Almost endless possibilities exist.

Everywhere consumers walk and stand, there is an opportunity to engage with brands and create a digital touchpoint. Today's customer journeys are more diverse than ever. And they arise directly in the moment of need.

The Boundaries between Offline & Online are fading more and more

Digital or analog? Consumers are no longer either online or offline today. They are both – at all times.

And new channels and advertising opportunities are constantly being added. Hardly a day goes by without a new app or digital trend are being reported in the media. These new technologies are changing customer relationships and, in some cases, fundamentally influencing prevailing business models. For example, see our blog post 3 Reasons why you can't do without Marketing Attribution as a Retailer

However, the effects of the digital transformation go far beyond online retailing.

The use of mobile devices is also changing the entire interaction between customers and companies. A product search that previously started in brick-and-mortar stores is more likely to start on the internet via Google or social media platforms. We search for information online – regardless if we are at home, on the road, or already in a physical store.

Accordingly, sales in brick-and-mortar retail are influenced by a wide variety of online channels and digital devices, and vice versa. Thus, classic advertising measures can have just as much of an impact on online sales. There is no longer a clear distinction between online and offline customers. The entire media usage behavior is constantly changing.

Media Consumption in the Digital Age

On average, Germans spend more than ten hours a day with audiovisual media (Media Activity Guide 2020, SevenOne Media).

A large part of this is still accounted for by linear television – at over four hours a day. TV, smartphone, and radio are the media devices most used by Germans – with the use of smart speakers tripling in the last two years. Internet use is also rising dynamically; however, this is also due to the coronavirus crisis. After all, consumers spend more than 1.5 hours a day on free online videos (primarily on YouTube) or social media activities. 

But the day – despite all the media diversity – still only comprises 24 hours. To make the most of the variety of media options, consumers frequently use several channels and devices at the same time (TV/smartphone & TV/tablet are popular combinations). According to Statista, around 65% of consumers in Germany were second-screen users in 2020, surfing on their smartphones while watching TV (Media Consumption, Statista 2021).

The activities vary during TV consumption. The most popular second-screen activities range from research (e.g., looking up actors, etc.) to social media posts and interactions to shopping. 28% of TV users in Germany say they have already purchased on the internet directly after a TV commercial was broadcast (Media Activity Guide 2020, SevenOne Media).

Advertisers need an Omni-Channel Marketing Strategy

Advertisers need to respond to this change. Not just to provide their customers with an optimal customer experience – ensuring a smooth shopping experience across all channels at all times. Also, to comprehensively manage all media activities according to their potential.

Therefore, advertisers need to have a multi-channel marketing strategy. With a focus on the consumer rather than the channel, multi-channel marketing is about creating personalized, relevant experiences that reach consumers at the right place, at the right time, and with the right message on the right device to drive targeted conversions.

For advertisers, that means they orchestrate their social media posts or banners, TV spots, etc., so that they are timed to provide the most holistic brand experience possible.

Today, attribution technologies allow advertisers not only to track consumers as they move across devices. They also measure the exact value contribution of each touchpoint in the customer journey. These solutions give marketing professionals detailed insights into how content and ads users see on one device impact actions on another.

Exactag offers a holistic attribution solution that delivers all relevant information on the customer journey as a single source of truth  in full compliance with data protection laws, including a view behind the walled gardens. That provides marketing professionals with precise insights into the effectiveness of their campaigns and allows them to make critical budget decisions based on this information.


Today, customer experience is no longer a pure marketing topic but is becoming a crucial competitive advantage for companies. That is especially true in the context of digital transformation, where competition is only a click away.

The changing media landscape is also significantly shaping consumer behavior. Admittedly, each platform offers its advantages for consumers. But there is still a symbiotic relationship between traditional and digital technologies. Advertisers who can track and target users even in this multi-device and multi-channel environment gain tremendous competitive advantages for their businesses.

If you are curious how Exactag can holistically, accurately, and privacy compliantly assess the customer journey or want to see a short live demo, please don't hesitate and ...

Book 15 minutes of insights with Sven!We look forward to a fruitful conversation.


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What advertisers need to consider when analyzing marketing performance

20. 08. 2021
Nine valuable tips that companies should consider when evaluating and optimizing their marketing performance.

The five pillars of holistic marketing measurement

01. 07. 2021
What you always wanted to know about attribution..

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