ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Marketing Dive acquired Mobile Marketer in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out the new Marketing Dive site for the latest marketing news.

Second-screen advertising struggles to make a connection

While consumers are increasingly multitasking on a mobile device and watching television at the same time, translating this engagement into a prime advertising opportunity is still elusive.

Second-screen is still a relatively new behavior and part of the problem is that marketers have still not figured out the best ways to engage these consumers. There also still needs to be a behavior shift to consumers more readily understanding the integration between screens when it comes to an advertisement campaign.

?The biggest challenge for marketers is to get the audience to use their second screen to continue their interaction with the brand in a related way,? said Joline McGoldrick, director of research at Millward Brown Digital, New York. ?Right now, it?s still more often the case that they are using the second screen to engage in unrelated tasks to fill time during the commercial breaks or when first screen content has lost their interest.

?Part of the behavior is already there,? she said. ?Their smartphone or tablet is already out. When the call-to-action for the second screen activity is related or enjoyable, consumers are already doing that. 

?The challenge is to pull that engagement into advertising.?

Multitasking, multiscreens
The culture of multitasking is growing and placing more screens in front of consumers at all times. Many have their smartphone or tablet in hand while watching TV, and this creates a new type of engagement for consumers.

Marketers are trying to tap into this new culture by tying TV ads together with mobile ads, but there is still a lag when it comes to this cross-screen engagement.

First of all, the mobile second-screen element is often somewhat of an afterthought to a TV ad. Marketers would benefit from thinking cross-screen from the beginning.

?The first step is understanding the effect that both your first and second screen offerings will have on the consumer before you air them,? Ms. McGoldrick said. ?Just as it?s important to know in advance that your TV ad is persuasive, you should know that the second-screen engagement is a positive and rewarding experience too before deploying either.?

Viewing the second-screen component as an afterthought will not translate into high engagement rates from consumers.

Even though consumers may be on their smartphones or tablets while watching TV, they do not yet assume that a TV ad will require them to connect via mobile, so marketers need to educate consumers if they want this to become a reality.

?It?s a nascent behavior, but we need to remember the majority of people are on their phones or have them by their side when viewing content,? said Mark Brennan, head of mobile at Manning Gottlieb OMD, London. ?It?s easier to try and be part of that existing behaviour, like reaching users of official companion apps in the X Factor.

?We did this with Waitrose Christmas and the X Factor, where we used an Ad Sync format that took over the companion app with a competition to win a Heston Blumenthal themes prize, who featured in the TV spot,? he said. ?It offered the consumer value in exchange for engagement.

?Trying to trigger new behaviours, like Shazam-ing a commercial, will always come with its challenges, but with the right audience, product and engagement mechanic, it can work to those that are familiar with the platform.?

Another challenge with second-screen campaigns is that consumer behavior varies widely depending on what they are watching on TV.

?Browsing the mobile Web between ad breaks of a drama is very different to participating in the conversation around a sports game or reality TV show,? Mr. Brennan said. ?It?s a challenge finding the synergy between TV context, Ad content, device, mindset and brand.

?Watercooler TV shows that inspire debate and reaction will have a massive audience engaging with the show itself and with their social groups via messaging or social media,? he said. ?More lightweight fare, or passive programming, will see people browsing the mobile Web or shopping during the show and between ad breaks, bouncing back and forth because the TV doesn?t demand as much user concentration.

?This spectrum will vary, so marketers need to consider what mobile behaviour will suit what audience, context and platform.?    

Early experimenters
Despite these challenges, a number of brands have begun testing the waters with second-screen marketing.

Brands have been flocking to get a second-screen campaign out, with giants like Visa, Coca-Cola and Dunkin? Donuts jumping on board (see story).

Kia recently launched a second-screen app called Game On that lets consumers return a serve from Australian tennis player Sam Groth during the company?s TV ads throughout the Australian Open (see story).

Additionally, Clorox leveraged second-screen mobile application Viggle with a campaign that resulted in a 53 percent engagement rate. The campaign asked consumers to vote on their 12 favorite ?bleachable? or cringeworthy moments throughout The Bacholrette (see story).

Contextual relevance
While these brands are wise to take a stab at this growing second-screen audience, they are still primarily experimental. Many of the campaigns lack long-term engagement or fail to truly take into consideration the exact audience they are reaching and the context in which they are reaching them.

?Advertisers need to understand the general frame of mind that consumers have when they are using multiple screens, and create campaigns that are tied to that,? said Michael Hayes, chief revenue officer and chief marketing officer at UberMedia, Pasadena, CA.

?For second-screen campaigns to be successful, advertisers needs to factor in both the relevancy of the ad, and the behavior of the consumer,? he said. ?For example, if a brand is trying to reach college football fans in Alabama watching a pre-game show, the type of campaign they are going to run will really differ from a campaign trying to reach moms in LA watching the Academy Awards.

?To ensure the ad experience is delivering, a campaign needs to leverage social data, factor in location, and think about context and the emotional state of the consumer. This is not easy to do, and is a major challenge for many brands trying to run second screen campaigns.?

One way to draw consumers to second-screen ads is to partner with the publishers of the TV content to best engage the audience.

?The 30-second spot is a short period of time to connect with someone, get them to navigate somewhere on their phone and engage before it's too late so that publisher support bridges the gap,? said Bryon Morrison, president of mobile marketing at The Marketing Arm, Dallas. ?Networks like Bravo and ESPN have done an exceptional of engaging via the second screen and integrating advertisers/sponsors so they get much better results. 

?If the program is entirely advertiser-driven, the weight is put on the shoulders of mobile so you can start to consider technologies that will prompt the user and automate the content search within an app or site,? he said.

Just throwing together a second-screen app and asking consumers to go to it during a quick TV commercial is not necessarily going to work. There has to be a lot of backend work to get consumers to anticipate such second-screen engagement and to provide enough value and relevancy to draw in the TV viewer.
?Brands spend a lot of money making ads to try and get attention or spoken about, so they can shift this to make them the jumping-off point for engagement with potential consumers,? Manning Gottlieb?s Mr. Brennan said. ?But to take this long term, they should start being consistent in the second screen approach. 

?Testing different screen mechanics and platforms should be encouraged, but marketers should think about how they can start complimenting mobile and tablet with their TV ad from the start, and activate it regularly so consumers expect to engage with a TV ad,? he said.

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York