What the Second-Screen Trend Means for Your Marketing Efforts

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Watching television used to be all about one thing: the TV screen. Families and friends would gather around the set, focused on their favorite shows or movies.

Today, the experience has expanded to include a second screen (or, in some cases, even a third or fourth). In fact, the average number of devices per person doubled from two to four between 2000 and 2012, and 62 percent of Americans browse the Internet while watching video programming.

Millennials are the champions of this new trend, with more than 75 percent of the group engaging in second-screen behaviors while consuming video content. The main reason for the additional screen is to access more information about the content they’re viewing (i.e., Googling actors on their smartphones or engaging on social media about their favorite shows). Millennials also use a second screen to distract themselves during commercials and follow social media.

The second-screen experience provides your brand an opportunity to connect with your target audience via storytelling, relevant messaging, and educational content. Here’s how to approach the experience in a way that strengthens brand awareness and builds rapport:

1. Commingle online and offline.

A multiscreen approach should seamlessly integrate with your offline efforts, including TV, radio, or live events. While the overall campaign tone should remain the same, the call to action and the language should be tailored to each device for higher relevancy and engagement.

For instance, Coca-Cola launched a Polar Bowl” campaign that was designed for consumers to “watch while you watch” during the 2013 Big Game. The two polar bears represented each team and reacted to the game live, celebrating when their respective teams scored. The bears also responded to the halftime show and the commercials. The digital campaign served 9 million streams with an average of 28 minutes of dwell time. That is one really long ad–again demonstrating how worthwhile a multiscreen approach can be.

2. Sync outside the box.

It takes less than a second for some types of technology to detect a brand’s TV spot on air and unleash the appropriate digital message to viewers’ devices. Not only can you sync your own TV campaign with digital efforts, but you can also sync with competitors’ commercials to promote pricing, gain potential engagement, or even customize the way you digitally sync your TV spot. Based on your advertising objectives, take all these approaches into account before launching your multiscreen plan.

3. Have a crystal-clear call to action.

It’s important to have a strong call to action on both your TV and digital campaigns. First of all, the CTA will allow your brand to analyze campaign results and potentially optimize them. The right CTA on social can also trigger engagement and generate more buzz around your brand’s message. Even a small percentage of advertising dollars reallocated to connected devices can lead to a potential reach increase of 8.2 percent.

4. Get in on live telecasts.

Live event presentations always result in high engagement rates (assuming the event is relevant to a brand’s target audience). Many live broadcasters and social media platforms have stepped up their game to get socially involved in big live events. Instagram launched video collections to allow users to watch the best clips from the 58th Annual Grammy Awards this year, and Coca-Cola used a combination of SMS and mobile web to connect with its teenage fans during the American Music Awards.

Second-screen usage is on the rise, and it’s not going anywhere. Get in the game now to set a precedent for a successful multiscreen approach in the future. After all, when Millennials are browsing the web during commercials, whose brand do you want them to see?

This article was co-authored by Wan Hsuan Luo, senior media manager at Gravity.

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