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Re-engaging your distracted TV audience over a second screen

Re-engaging your distracted TV audience over a second screen Dr Andreas Schroeter

TV viewing behaviour has altered dramatically over the past few years thanks to the arrival of second-screen devices such as smartphones and tablets. Viewers are no longer as focused on the big screen and are likely to be checking e-mails, web browsing, gaming, or communicating via another device while watching television. 

Media multi-tasking is now routine and most adults (99%) conduct two or more media activities at the same time at some stage each week. On average, consumers cram 11 hours and 7 minutes of media activity into 8 hours 41 minutes per day, indicating a degree of overlap between activities.

So what impact is this change in viewing behaviour having on advertisers, and how can they use it to their advantage?

With consumers becoming increasingly distracted by mobile devices, TV advertisers are finding it more difficult to capture and retain their attention.

Consumer concentration is likely to wander to the second screen – particularly during commercial breaks – which has a negative impact on the contact quality of TV advertising and reduces ad awareness by up to 58%.  

Advertisers have two options when responding to this trend. They can either try to force the consumer to change their behaviour and carry on viewing – perhaps by using very short ads or split screens – or they can embrace this shift in viewing behaviour and attempt to reach audiences via the second screen at the same time as on TV.

As the use of second screens is only increasing, the latter option provides an unmissable opportunity for brand advertisers.

TV syncing – which means delivering online ads to second screen devices the moment a related TV commercial airs – has a number of benefits for advertisers. Synchronised second-screen advertising results in significant uplift in various brand and image KPIs.

For one brand, this resulted in a 21% increase in brand trust and a 62% increase in consumers’ perception of the brand as ‘innovative’. It also helps advertisers to maximise their TV budgets as the attention of the viewer is recaptured via the second screen, increasing audience engagement levels.

Finally, TV syncing opens an immediate engagement channel that allows consumers to respond in real-time. The interactive nature of second screen devices means that engaging with a brand – for example by visiting their website or requesting a free trial of a product – can be carried out immediately with minimal effort. 

TV advertising as a whole will evolve over the coming months and years as connected TVs and set-top boxes offer TV advertisers more real-time insight into audience profiles and viewing habits, allowing them to deliver relevant, targeted advertising. The availability of consumer data will also allow TV advertising to become more automated, with platforms such as Clypd and AudienceXpress already providing programmatic TV ad buying technology.

Advertisers will move increasingly towards cross-device campaigns instead of having a separate TV budget, and TV syncing will form a key part of this integration.
Today’s consumer expects a unified brand experience, and modern media consumption habits – together with developments in technology – are finally providing brand advertisers a real opportunity to engage their TV audiences quickly and effectively with highly targeted content.

Alongside other developments in TV advertising, synchronisation of TV commercials with second-screen devices will continue to evolve – recapturing the attention of distracted audiences and boosting ROI for brands.


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