Synchronized Ads Dunk on the Competition

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.

NBA playoffs

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.

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Super Bowl Synchronicity

As ‘water cooler’ events go, the Super Bowl is about as big as it gets.  Given the surge of activity since last year’s game across the social TV and companion app landscape, there’s going to be a huge amount of activity this year.  Clearly this will be the biggest Super Bowl for ‘second screen’ and social TV apps. Apps and websites with any game-related content should see huge traffic spikes from last year.  What’s most interesting is that with all the interest in this burgeoning space, a number of national brands are looking to target this growing audience.

Some brands have created their own game and brand specific apps like Chevy.  As a demonstration of our synchronization platform, we’re running ads with a number of Super Bowl advertisers (including perennial game advertiser Go Daddy).  With them, we’ll be delivering digital advertising on social TV / companion apps sync’d in real-time to their TV spots during the game.  Ads will run on both iPhone apps and websites.  So, for those viewers engaged with apps like PrePlay Sports and Tapcast, when certain TV commercials run during the game, a complementary digital spot (a “Sync Ad”) will display on their smartphones, tablets or laptops.

We’ve seen huge levels of engagement with such ads in previous tests (e.g Ford on USA Networks’ Character Chatter app) and look forward to substantive learning from this initiative.  We’re planning to do research around these campaigns and look forward to sharing that post-Super Bowl.  This Super Bowl Sync Ad campaign is the first of a number of ‘water cooler’ events around which we plan to run Sync Ads.

Other upcoming events include the Oscar’s and the Final Four.  If you’re a brand or agency planning any TV advertising during any of these upcoming events and want to connect with the growing social TV audience, please reach out to us.  We’d love to discuss how this new medium can work for your brand.


What (and Whom) Will the ‘Second Screen’ Impact Most?

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.