On any given evening, I can usually be found watching TV, browsing on my phone, and playing with my tablet. Yes, that’s right, all three. All at once. While some may consider this to be tech overload, this behavior — often referred to as “second-screen behavior” — is increasingly becoming the norm. Per IAB, among those with a TV and a computer, 52% are somewhat or very likely to use another device while watching television. Among those with a smartphone, TV and a computer, 60% are multitasking. That figure rises even further, to 65%, when the user also has a tablet. The tablet, computer and/or smartphone becomes a TV companion, which allows for added levels of user interactivity, whether on social networks or sites that complement on-air content with dedicated second-screen apps.
In a recent Time Warner Media Lab study, it was shown that second-screen apps drove ad engagement. When people used CNN on a second-screen app while watching CNN on TV, their emotional response to the ads was 1.3X higher than those watching the ads on CNN alone. The same study also found that brand favorability increased with the second-screen platform. When people watched Conan on TV and used a Conan sync app, there was a 33% increase in brand favorability to the advertiser when compared to people who watched Conan on TV alone.
Viggle is a dedicated second-screen app that describes itself as “a loyalty program for television that gives people real rewards for checking into the television shows they’re watching.” Essentially, Viggle users can use their smartphone or tablet to check in to a television show to earn points; these points can be redeemed for items such as movie tickets, music and gift cards, or they can even be converted into charitable donations.
The second-screen app is merely a year old and exists within a space that is still nascent, but it is emerging as a game-changer. Viggle’s registered users reached 1.62 million in the fourth quarter, a 42 percent quarter-over-quarter increase. January saw another 14 percent increase in users, which puts the company at 1.85 million registered users. Viggle’s platform is also seeing increased loyalty from advertisers by charging them only when users engage with the ads, rather than using the typical CPM model. Users are also rewarded points for ad completions, so they are more likely to complete the ad with the point incentive. It’s a win-win platform for both advertisers and users.
Recently, I was watching a TV show that prompted me to tweet about the show with a hashtag of the show title to win a prize, so, naturally, I immediately got on Twitter via my mobile device and did just that. Twitter is essentially an organic digital counterpart to TV programming. Joel Lunenfeld, VP of Global Brand Strategy at Twitter, referred to Twitter as the social soundtrack for TV because 95% of all conversations about TV shows are happening on Twitter. Nielsen and Twitter are even combining for a new metric in TV engagement — the “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating” metric — which will correlate TV engagement and ratings. The metric has already been able to correlate an 8.5% increase in Twitter volume, which increased the ratings for TV premieres by 1%. In mid-season, it takes only a 4.2% increase in Twitter volume to increase ratings by 1%.
According to Lunenfeld, brands are using Twitter in three main ways: brand taglines, leveraging existing conversations (on air), and campaign-specific calls to action. Twitter recently published a report that found that brand recall scores and other intentional marketing goals increase when Twitter is integrated into advertising. People are going to talk on Twitter, so brands should give them something to talk about. Twitter plus TV opens up new and creative possibilities for brands to include viewers in a new genre of dynamic storytelling where the brands become the heroes. As brands continue to align with both TV and Twitter, second-screen opportunities for consumers and advertisers will continue to grow.
According to a report from BI Intelligence, the second-screen industry will ultimately succeed for four reasons:
1. Usage is growing rapidly: 85% of smartphone users reported second-screen behavior at least once a month, over 60% reported doing it on a weekly basis, and 39% did so daily. Over 80% of 18- to 24-year-olds told Pew that they have used their phone while watching TV, and 60% of Americans with annual incomes above $50,000 use their phones while watching TV.
2. And mass acceptance isn’t even necessary: All that matters is that a significant minority of viewers develop this habit (especially if they are highly engaged viewers). In the U.S. alone, TV ad spending was $18.4 billion in the third quarter of last year — a $74 billion annual run rate. If mobile can carve out even a small share of that pile of dollars via second-screen channels, it would boost the mobile industry tremendously.
3. Second screen isn’t really a new activity: It’s a natural update to the old ways of engaging with TV, like the old office water cooler conversations about last night’s football game or popular TV drama. Moreover, second-screen behaviors were already popular on desktops and laptops before mobile came along and made it a lot easier to participate.
4. Second-screen apps and sites are bridges: They bring together the powerful but increasingly fragmented world of television media and the fast-growing but still undeveloped digital realm. For TV-centric advertisers and content producers, second screen provides a channel through which to test out digital strategies while still remaining tied to familiar territory.”
Viggle and Twitter are two big players in the second-screen game, but an increasing number of marketers and agencies are sure to capitalize on consumer’s multitasking behavior given the increased levels of engagement and brand favorability shown by using the capabilities of the second-screen platform.
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