Gone are the days when advertisers solely worried about viewers constantly changing TV channels, now they face a new challenge: multiple screens. Currently consumers watch several different TV programmes and simultaneously use their smart phone, tablet or laptop. With advertisers facing ever-growing demands from consumers, cross-media campaigns are essential when turning a brand’s message into an all-screen experience.
Everyone has experienced this at some point – you’re losing interest while watching a TV programme or the ad break starts (often synchronised over different channels). In the old days people used to reach for the remote but now viewers keep themselves busy with their smart phones, tablets or laptops. The simultaneous use of several devices has led to a significant change in customer perception. The distraction of other screens has caused a declining attention for advertising while TV viewing figures stayed more or less the same.
This consumer behaviour is defined as parallel or second screen usage. Parallel usage means that an additional device is used irrespective of the TV content. For example, there is no connection between watching a TV programme and reading emails on a tablet or sending WhatsApp messages. However, the use of second or even third screens means that the user engages with the TV programme by for example sharing or accessing relevant information. Opinions are shared in real time while watching the programme (rather than the next day in person).
According to data presented on emarketer.com, six out of ten UK web users are parallel users while 24% of UK web users engage in second screening. Showing users relevant content on a second device bears a huge potential for advertisers. Several TV channels have developed their own apps that allow viewers to share their opinions on programmes in real time. Those channels encourage viewers to use their apps which deliver relevant content and enable integrated brand messages. It is mostly used during quiz, music, cooking and politics shows as well as soaps. This allows the user to share opinions and information in real time which holds immense potential for advertisers. Active second screen usage guarantees a consumer’s attention and therefore the delivery of a brand’s message.
In order to advertise successfully it is essential to develop seamless cross-media campaigns that deliver an experience for the consumer across all channels. TV advertising should direct people to a website showing relevant content at the right time and on the right device. The basis of efficient campaigns is understanding the customer journey in order to reveal when and how the viewer uses which screen. This knowledge should influence the optimisation of the allocated marketing budget across the individual channels. One successful approach is the combination of customer journey analysis and individual conversion attribution which was discussed previously in this blog piece.