+Multi-Screen Advertising

Scientists are already suggesting that our hands are changing and evolving due to the amount of texting we do and with the number of screens we spend all day staring at, surely our parents threats of ‘square eyes’ from too much screen time could become a reality?

In a typical day, I sit in front of my computer at work, go home and watch some TV, text on my iPhone and read a book on my kindle before bed. Sometimes I do more than one at once. Occasionally (and I’m embarrassed to admit this) I do all three. Take Saturday night for example, I was watching a film on TV and looking through Pinterest on my iPad when I got a text message. Naturally I picked up my phone to read it – that’s 3 screens at once! When I realised what I was doing, shocked at myself, I promptly put my phone down.

But I know I’m not the only one. It is becoming the norm to watch TV while using a mobile or tablet.

When we watch TV and we’ve got a device in our hands, our eyes aren’t glued to the TV screen. If there is a big sports game on for example, people might take to Twitter to share opinions on the match. Or it may be that you’re watching a film wondering ‘where have I seen him before?’ and you promptly do an online search through Google or IMDB which leads you onto other distracting content.

This is known as second or multi-screen search and according to Google, 84% of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices as a second screen while they watch. Surprised? Click here to see the actual stats around multi-screen advertising.

Aside from looking up people and opinions, second screen search is also a great opportunity for marketers.

John Lewis is a brilliant example of how to capitalise on second screen engagement. Last year’s Monty the Penguin Christmas ad aired at the beginning of November and it quickly amassed a staggering 4,365,105 views on YouTube after just a few days. The launch of the ad followed a build up to the release which included Twitter tag #montythepenguin, teaser trailers and Monty merchandise.

After several years of successful Christmas ads which have almost become as much a tradition as eating turkey on Christmas day (I said almost), John Lewis knows how to work their audience. You can almost guarantee that once the Christmas ad has aired on TV, viewers will search for the ad on YouTube, share it on Facebook, tweet about it and hunt for the merchandise online.

The strategy is so successful for John Lewis that for the first time this year they officially launched the ad on social media first.

Reaching your target audience through second screen search is however still a concept in its early days and advertisers need to think carefully about the strategy behind it.

Director of research at Millward Brown Digital, Joline McGoldrick says: ‘Right now, it’s still more often the case that people are using the second screen to engage in unrelated tasks to fill time during the commercial breaks or when first screen content has lost their interest.’

A brand must be careful not to drive people to another brand and therefore have something compelling to drive the customer in.

According to Google, ‘65% of smartphone users agree that when conducting a search on their smartphones, they look for the most relevant information regardless of the company providing the information.’ People aren’t necessarily loyal to a brand; they tend to just want the right product at the best price.

Think about it, you see Argos advertising a bedroom furniture range which leads you to think ‘actually we do need a new bed.’
You’re already on your iPhone so you Google “beds” and Silentnight is top of the search with Argos way down the page. A few days later and your new Silentnight bed has been delivered, resulting in a loss for Argos (oops…not what they had planned!)

So a brand should be prepared, particularly if it’s trying to engage customers in second screen searching.  It should be high up on search engines if not top, ensure online content is relevant to its TV advertising and make it as easy to reach as possible – mobile users want things done as pain free as possible.

Welcome to the second screen generation.

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