With the right framework, brands can ensure they won't lose readers who are prone to switch between devices at a moment's notice.

Marketers like to think of user experience as being a continuous line: People go from link to link and network to network in pursuit of content, and the entire journey is easily tracked and quantified. However, the ways that customers and prospects interact with content marketing materials gets more complicated every day, so brands need to carefully monitor consumer behavior and optimize content to match.

For example, Campaign Monitor recently performed a survey that sought to understand how recipients view email marketing messages. Mobile opens are increasing, just as mobile device usership has exploded in general, but that model doesn’t quite tell the whole story. For example, 23 percent of customers initially open emails on mobile devices, but they keep them in their inboxes to read in-depth later. Further, 70 percent will revisit the same content on that very device, while 30 percent will circle back on a desktop computer.

Mapping the movement of content consumption

This research shows there are dozens of journeys every buyer can take from one device to another – and that’s just taking email into account. According to Econsultancy’s Finding the Path to Mobile Maturity briefing, only 36 percent of businesses have created a detailed mobile strategy. It’s obvious brands need to be doing more to optimize content for a multi-device viewing session while creating content that transcends device limitations.

One solution is to monitor emerging trends that will make content sharing easier. As Brafton reported, Google is testing its latest feature, Stars, which will help users socially bookmark sites, images, articles and other web elements to share with friends and followers.

However, businesses should simply produce the most interesting and engaging content possible across devices for the time being. When it comes to emails, campaigns shouldn’t send articles directly to users’ inboxes. Instead, include summaries and links to drive leads back to a main website. Similarly to how content should be a free sample of a business’ service and expertise, links on social media and email should serve to preview what will appear in full on a blog or homepage. In addition to more successfully driving leads, this model will ensure that there’s less confusion as people navigate from a smartphone to a tablet to a PC.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.