There have been a number of studies showing the effectiveness of Sync Ads – digital ads synchronized to live TV spots – on second screen devices like tablets, laptops and smartphones. We’ve run campaigns for a number of brands, like Ford Lincoln Mercury, Go Daddy and Molson with some of the major TV networks and sports leagues, and some independent, dedicated TV companion apps demonstrating significant improvements in engagement and brand recall. However, there’s still a tremendous audience of ‘second screeners’ on their favorite device, multi-tasking while watching TV but not necessarily on a dedicated companion app, perhaps on their favorite website or app.
We’ve been hard at work developing ways to reach that huge multi-tasking, second screen audience with digital ads sync’d to what viewers at watching. Recently, we ran a live A/B test of digital Sync Ads across the web with our platform, and saw very strong results.
We ran digital creative (of a major consumer brand advertising during the NBA playoffs) and targeted it towards those online and likely to be watching the game. For purposes of this A/B test, we ran Sync Ads online at the same time as the brand’s TV spots were airing and at other times, ran the same ads when they were not in sync. Results for the Sync Ads showed a CTR 97% higher than the non sync’d ads.
This is the first of a number of campaigns we’re planning but early results on targeted web inventory reiterate what we’ve seen with Sync Ads on dedicated apps (and what intuitively makes sense): Delivering digital ads to TV viewers on their devices, in sync with what they’re watching, works.
As agencies develop digital creative more tailored for the second screen, e.g., following up on a TV spot’s message with a more direct call to action, offer or some online engagement, results should prove even more powerful.
For all the talk about the intersection of social media and TV, what exactly are TV viewers doing online? Engaging with the show, conversing with other users or just doing the ‘usual’ Facebook/Twitter dance?
Well, based on some recent studies, it seems to be a bit of the ‘usual.’ eMarketer recently reported what TV viewers are up to when watching. Whether viewers are on Facebook or Twitter while viewing – which they are – they’re not always engaging in show-driven conversations.
…most chatter on Facebook during TV viewing related to a statement of fact (52%), such as “I’m watching [TV show title here].” Another 22% shared additional information about their current states, such as where they were watching the show, who they were with, or listing all their activities throughout the day. Just 19% were starting conversations about the show itself, and 7% were announcing they were either bored or in bed—or both.
While this may indicate the typical multi-tasking and/or lack of attention span, particularly among the younger demographics, another reason may be in play. While Facebook and Twitter are certainly predominantly used in such circumstances, are they necessarily the best channel? Or is there a huge opportunity for TV shows and third parties to develop richer, highly engaging, interactive ‘second screen’ environments, where users want to participate more fully.
There’s more and more buzz around the concept of the ‘second screen’ as it relates to TV viewing. Stats show a huge number of people are using mobile and tablet devices while watching the tube. Sometimes they’re emailing and web surfing, but other times they’re using their connectivity to interact around their show.
This increasing trend is going to have impact around a number of TV viewing constituencies. A recent blog post from Steve Van Belleghem highlights some of the issues. One interesting point he raises concerning TV advertisers’ fear of inattention (at best) and avoidance (at worst) to a show’s TV spots is how the ‘second screen’ can minimize that.
…consumers tend to switch less between TV stations during commercial breaks because they check their social media at that time. The higher the adoption of social media, the lower switching between commercial breaks.
As viewers become more engaged with TV show companion apps and websites, ad viewership can possibly be maintained. And as Steve adds that such apps can also increase engagement around the show’s content, they can also be used to improve the overall advertising experience and more importantly, its effectiveness.
Clearly, there’s a huge opportunity for TV advertisers to be part of this ‘second screen’ movement. Engaging viewers intelligently and when appropriate can yield substantive brand benefits. We’ll talk more about how they may do this in coming posts.
We’re the team at SecondScreen Networks…But what exactly is this “second screen?”
The advent of the “Second Screen” is changing the way we watch television. No longer a solo passive activity, the extraordinary capabilities of mobile and tablet applications are changing our level of engagement when watching the ‘tube.’ Now we can chat with friends and fellow viewers, interact with a show’s story and increasingly be part of the action, be it with your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
We believe we’re still in the nascent stage of what we’ll have and be using shortly (sort of like those pre-cable TV days with only about 10 stations!). Not too soon, it may even be strange to remember we just sat silently on the couch. There are already a slew of apps and sites for TV viewers to engage more closely with favorite shows, friends and fellow visitors.
And TV advertisers are moving to the second screen too. No longer content to simply run non-particpatory, non-engaging ads on the ‘first screen,’ innovative marketers and agencies are looking at the second screen as a way to become part of this new participatory behavior by the TV viewing audience. TV audiences are growing; advertisers just need to be where they are engaged and be able to converse with them. That’s where SecondScreen Networks comes in.
We’ll have more to say about what we’re building in coming posts. For now, we’d love to hear from you as we build out the first ad network for the two screen future, or actually the present! Whether you’re a marketer, agency, app developer, online publisher or TV programmer, you’re part of the two screen ecosystem. You’re not? Then contact us today (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll help you get there