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Think BR: Advertising for the second-screen

Mobile technology is making a major contribution to the way we interact with television, writes Andrew Fisher, CEO, Shazam.

Andrew Fisher, CEO, Shazam

Andrew Fisher, CEO, Shazam

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Here’s something savvy advertisers already know: television has become interactive. What was once considered a passive activity has evolved to become an active experience, with mobile devices acting as a companion to our television viewing.

As our devices become smarter, they allow us to interact with the environment around us. Increasingly, viewers are multi-tasking on their mobile devices whilst watching television. This is known as the ‘second-screen’ phenomenon and is now becoming the norm in many households.

These shifting consumer habits towards content consumption have opened new opportunities for advertisers to reach consumers and communicate with them in interactive and more personal ways.

Today, the use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets is skyrocketing and the opportunities for leveraging advanced mobile technology for second-screen advertising are greater than ever.

The main reason for this is that mobile phones have become a ubiquitous means for communication as well as content consumption.

Whether it’s watching an online video or reading the news, this activity is increasingly occurring on mobile devices, and being shared with digitally with other people. Mobile usage is rapidly taking over as a standard way of life as the number of mobile connections worldwide rises to an all-time high - in fact, within the next three years, mobile access to the internet will surpass that of computers.

Additionally, a recent study conducted by media research company Nielsen, which surveyed tablet users in the US, shows mobile devices serving as a second screen

The research found that 45% of respondents used social networking services during television adverts, 27% looked up product info for ads they've seen, and 22% looked up coupons or deals related to ads.

When you look at these findings together, you have more than a trend - you have a tidal wave that points to mobile devices, be they phone or tablet, as the ideal candidate to revolutionise television advertising.

People can literally use their mobiles to consume content and to interact with what they’re watching on television, whether it’s to get more information about the shows they love or order products they want to buy in the moment. 

This creates an opportunity for advertisers as revolutionary as television itself, because it allows for direct customer dialogue and provides the consumer with a more open-ended experience.

Just as the prevalence of Internet-connected mobile devices has meant that people are no longer passive viewers of television, similarly, no longer are they passively receiving advertising messages.

Advertisers can leverage mobile technology to reach consumers via rich content that is tailored and interactive - much more of an immersive experience than simply viewing an advert.

However, advertisers must be strategic with how they use the second-screen experience to reach people, as there is no one-size-fits-all method.

Using check-in apps is one method, but the check-in apps are struggling to reach scale and maintain repeat usage from those who try it, suggesting that simply checking in is not compelling enough to drive sustained interaction. Social media check-ins should be included in any second-screen strategy as well as the development of 'reward' for people who engage in the commercial in a way that is relevant to the product.

For the viewer, this means that they don’t need to remember a URL or product name. Mobile devices offer advertisers and consumers a simple, yet effective way to engage that is almost second-nature to them while watching television.

At Shazam, we believe that what people are really looking for in their second-screen experience is a rich offering that includes access to exclusive content and offers, as well as social features.

We’ve seen firsthand the power of interactive adverts at this year’s Super Bowl, when we partnered with a third of the brands that advertised during the event, including Toyota, Pepsi, Disney and US electronics retailer, Best Buy, to make their Super Bowl television adverts Shazam-enabled. Viewers were able to use their mobile phones to enter to win prizes, see exclusive content and receive special offers.

This dramatically increased brand engagement, with engagement numbers in the millions.

More recently, we launched our first interactive ad campaigns in the UK with Pepsi Max and Cadbury during the Britain’s Got Talent final and received 50 thousand tags in just one minute of airtime. 

More importantly, 89% of the people who tagged the ads went on to interact with the commercial, interacting and developing an affinity with the brands.

As the digital revolution continues to unfurl, it is imperative that advertisers consider a second-screen strategy.  We believe the second-screen enables them to extend a 30-second advert into two, three minutes or even longer engagement time with a brand, giving people more information and a more personal interaction.

All signs point to mobile technology contributing to the evolving ways in which people interact with the television viewing experience, both in terms of programming and ads. 

Building what that interaction looks like and what will drive engagement - both from the app perspective as well as that of the show or brand - is developing at an increasingly rapid pace.

Mobile has revolutionised the very act of watching television itself, opening up many possibilities for the future of television programming, advertising and fans alike, but this is just the start.

Andrew Fisher, CEO, Shazam


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