Why ad synchronization is the future of second screen

Written on 12 February 2015
By: Emanuela Zaccone

Social TV is quickly changing.
While we are perfectly aware of what we mean by second screen, we also saw a sort of “natural selection” in the last few years, which completely reshaped the ecosystem. Some companies survived, others disappeared.
Mainly because they hit the huge wall of “monetization”.

Social TV went from being a “Social” phenomenon to a marketing opportunity.
And not merely in the sense that real time marketing strategies found a perfect fit in social TV activities. The World Cup proved it, but starting from Oreo’s creative reaction to 2013 Super Bowl’s blackout we had no doubt about it.

Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and eventually Snapchat are constantly focused on improving and exploiting activities which are now considered as a natural complement of the watching experience.

As FremantleMedia’s Digital Chief Keith Hindle told the Guardian, “A few years ago, the only things that mattered was ratings. Now what matters more is the level of social engagement around the content”.

And here comes the point: what can I do with TV content? Where do people consume it and what does it mean for advertising?

We see three huge changes:

  1. Devices: TV is still alive.
    Maybe you don’t watch it in that box in your living room, but you still consume it. And even when we watch it on the first screen, we still love use a second screen to comment what we are watching or search information related to the TV show.
    In particular, according to GlobalWebIndex, 55% of people are mobile second screeners.Why ad sync is the future of second screen
  2. Media plans: cross-channel advertising is not a choice anymore, it’s a surviving strategy.
    In era dominated by binge watching and DVRs, live events are worth the investment.
    Sport, especially, seems to drive the innovation in second screen: it is emotional, it involves our passion and generates huge engagement of social volumes (again, think about the World Cup). Online campaigns must be integrated and coherent with offline ones and the ad spending can’t ignore the huge changes in consumptions habits.
  3. Actions: you can’t click on your tv screen.
    It does not matter how clever your marketing campaign is, how catchy is the copy or how cool is the video: I can’t do anything with it.
    In this sense, synced advertising on second screen is a game-changer. It takes into account the changes in consumption habits and it gives even more sense to media planning.
    You can invest (better) on what you can measure. Sure, it is possible to estimate how many people will be in front of a TV show during the pause, but no one can be sure that they did not leave to prepare a sandwich losing that wonderful ad on the screen. Actually, we don’t even know if they caught the message, if they are male/female and how old they are. We can estimate. Which is way different from being sure.

Why ad sync is the future of second screen

As Millward Brown stated in its latest report, “For 2015, we expect controlled second-screen syncing to increasingly appear on media plans.”
We totally agree, and so should you. Why?
Because your attention is limited: if you use a second screen while watching TV, then there is a good possibility that you are even more distracted by it during ads. What if an ad starts on the first screen and something happen on that device in your hand?
Imagine that a food brand offers a discount on its latest menu: what could you do? Remember to visit the website and download it (would you? Really?) OR a banner could appear on your second screen and let you click to redeem the discount. Immediately.
At that point the funnel is completed, the brand knows that you actually reached that message and you will probably go to that restaurant to actually use your discount.

Sounds like a huge marketing change, right?

We moved it a little further though. What’s even more valuable than this?
Giving brands the complete knowledge of who is the user behind that device.
Who is more willing to redeem the discount? 18 to 24 years old men or women?

How can we know that? By integrating TV synced technology into our apps (and letting any app developer do that thanks to our SDK), where users create profiles and connect them with their Social channels.
This is the way to monetization for second screen companies and the future of effective brand campaigns.

It also means that there is now a direct link between marketing investments and second screen innovations.
Social TV is not limited to a set of practices anymore, it is the future of advertising.

Prepare to an ecosystem in which broadcasters, Social TV companies and brands can develop competitive strategies like never before.

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