GLOBAL: Distracted, multi-screening consumers have little patience for a poor content experience, with most choosing to abandon it rather than persevere, a new study has found.

Software firm Adobe surveyed more than 12,000 consumers across six countries – the US, UK, Germany, France, Australia, and Japan – to understand consumer views on digital content.

The subsequent report – The State of Content: Rules of Engagement – said that more than eight in ten digital device users would stop engaging with content that was too long or hard to view across devices.

People reported using an average of five different devices, with most (83%) using multiple devices simultaneously: the global average was 2.23 devices at the same time.

And while the majority had positive feelings about multiscreening – 81% said they felt entertained, 80% felt connected and 76% productive – almost half (47%) said they were distracted when thus engaged.

The report also highlighted a strong demand for tailored content from brands. Around three quarters of respondents were open to content recommendations from brands based on past behaviour, while the same proportion were willing to exchange at least one piece of information about themselves in order to prompt better suggestions.

More generally, there was widespread skepticism of online content, with 50% of consumers questioning whether negative comments or reviews had been removed; 49% wondered if authors had been incentivsed to write positive reviews and 48% questioned whether news articles were biased.

There was better news for brands which have an existing relationship with a consumer. Just 23% of respondents said they trusted content from companies whose products they don't buy, but that nearly doubled to 43% if the source was a company from whom they do purchase.

"This is a wake-up call for content marketers everywhere," said Brad Rencher, senior vice president and general manager, Digital Marketing, Adobe.

"To break through, brands need to earn consumers' trust, use great design and apply smart, predictive connections that add value to the experience."

Data sourced from Adobe; additional content by Warc staff