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Media Zone: Are You Missing Out on the Second Screen?

1 May, 2013 By: Timothy R. Hawthorne Response

Now is the time to stop looking at mobile phones and tablets as distractions to your TV commercials and learn how to harness the power of the second screen.

Timothy HawthorneSuccessfully delivering TV advertising messages isn’t easy these days, what with the proliferation of mobile phones, laptops, tablets and other devices that come between the target audience and your television commercial itself. Call the teenager who peruses Facebook while watching The Carrie Diaries or the housewife who texts her friends while home shopping hosts peddle today’s top bargains distracted, if you will, but the reality is that today’s marketers have more selling opportunities than ever at their fingertips — they just have to know how to leverage them.

It starts by looking at that pesky second screen — a label given to the idea that a mobile phone or tablet can serve as a companion device for the TV, thus allowing for more interactivity — not as a distraction but as an opportunity. Recent research from Minneapolis-based Frank N. Magid Associates Inc., shows the degree to which digital device multitasking is becoming a norm among those who own a device and watch television.

For example, nearly half of tablet owners say they use their tablets while watching TV at least half the time. As more consumers come to own connected mobile devices that allow them to perform digital tasks in the TV viewing environment, says Rick Ehrman, Magid’s managing director, “This phenomenon will continue to grow at an impressive pace.”

“Thanks to the second screen phenomenon, more than 80 percent of TV viewers have a response device in hand while watching television,” adds Ehrman, who sees the ability to make an instant phone or Internet connection, or order at the press of a button, eliminating a lot of friction from the purchase process. And because a high percentage of consumers use their second screens in conjunction with the TV programming that they are watching, he says marketers are well braced to leverage this behavior in a way that measurably impacts cost per order.

Companies like Shazam, Viggle, Zeebox and Getglue have stepped up to the plate and are producing apps and taking other steps to help marketers and carve out a piece of the companion screen. “Of all the advertising segments,” Ehrman says, “the second screen is likely to have the greatest impact on the TV lead/order generation segment.” In return for their second-screen efforts, Ehrman says marketers can transform 30-second brand spots into DR and effectively extend DRTV media into prime time.

The question is: how does a DRTV advertiser go about harnessing this power in a way that positively impacts a campaign’s bottom line? The answer lies in combining the clout of targeted and measurable DR lead generation with the mass reach of prime-time brand advertising. Through ACR (automatic content recognition), for example, a viewer can not only sync a second screen to a TV commercial, but also sync it to a sponsor’s website, thus enabling the ability to make those “one-click connections” to a phone center, a direct purchase, “or telescope into ‘more information,’” says Ehrman.

Marion Guthrie, president of Gut3Marketing in Philadelphia, says the interconnection of DRTV and the second screen is obvious based on the fact that “consumers no longer have to get up off the sofa and walk into the kitchen to make a call anymore.”

Guthrie is one of those consumers. After seeing a commercial for the Disney nature movie Chimpanzee, Guthrie decided to take her grandson to the flick. Without getting up, she used her mobile phone to search for the #meetoscar hashtag (which was advertised on the commercial) to find local movie theatre show times. “It was a pretty simple and fast process,” says Guthrie, “and it just goes to show how seamlessly the second screen can be integrated into an advertising campaign.”

To marketers looking to leverage the second-screen phenomenon, Guthrie says the key is to put yourself in consumers’ shoes and envision what they want and need from an interactive advertising experience. From there, focus on how to integrate ad messages into your customers’ lives across these new platforms. “Remember to always use the second screen as an educational tool versus an invasive one,” she adds, “and always give customers a way to respond. Otherwise you’re just wasting your money.”

About the Author: Timothy R. Hawthorne

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