How Second Screens are Changing Television

Are interactions with second screen viewing appearing on your credit card statement more often than traditional advertising commercials in your household?  At my house, I know once the baby boy is in bed, my wife and I enjoy watching television, and we enjoy it a LOT.  I know, I know…TV is brain rot and we should be reading, or listening to Mozart, or researching advances in mobile software development, or doing yoga or a million other more productive things.  But the truth?  We don’t mind brain rot.  It’s fun! It allows us to relax after working our tails off all day, after the dishes are done (man!) and we have a couple precious hours of time before bed.  I wish I could tell you we only watch 60 Minutes and catch up on Meet the Press or Charlie Rose–which we do–but we also really love Real World Challenges, True Blood, and frankly, a bunch of other garbage.

However, I’ve noticed that while we are “watching” these shows, we tend to pay just as much attention to what kind of bugs are being eaten on Real World as we do to what’s happening on our iPhones, and Macbooks. Checking our emails, Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, Amazon and ESPN apps.  And here’s the big kicker, Mr. Eisner, & Mrs. Peacock: Unless it’s a Cardinal football or basketball game on the tube, chances are we’re fast-forwarding through your primetime commercials and only getting a half-second glance at your logos and content.  That’s air time for which companies like McDonalds and Coke are paying millions of dollars, both to TV stations and to their ad agencies, all in order to reach consumers like my wife and myself.  But if they fancy both the eyeballs of their consumers and hard earned cash, they should be taking more advantage of viewers’ second screens if they want to drive us to interact with their brand.

Tell us to download an app or interact with your social media channels, or give us incentives that activate through our mobile phones or tablet apps.  Look at Twitter, which is already experimenting with turning itself into a virtual remote control.  Interapt knows second-screen applications can drive more social awareness, more brand recognition and a more engaged one-on-one conversation with customers than traditional advertising, specifically when trying to engage Gen X, Gen Y and millennials.  In fact, a third of millenials say they don’t even watch broadcast TV.

Meanwhile, my own Visa statement proves that second-screen marketing can lead to direct purchases.  While my wife and I are watching the aforementioned garbage, she’s ordering supplies on Amazon, maybe researching our next car purchase, and, if we’re prompted with a deal that makes sense, I’m sure we would even impulse buy—and that hasn’t typically been a goal of a TV commercial (those drive brand awareness, thus increasing the likelihood that I pick Tide off of the shelf—a shelf not near the television—instead of Downy).  But now, the traditional TV ad is changing, or at least it should be.  Think about that next time you see a hashtag in a major brand’s commercial.

To get a good example of second-screening being done well, check out this Mashable article on how Shazam and Jimmy Kimmel are teaming up to increase purchases and interaction with musical guests by rewarding viewers who get out their mobile devices to take a listen using the popular music-recognition app.

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