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MBPT Spotlight: Second-Screen Ad Synching Projected To Grow In Popularity Among Marketers in 2015

Most marketers have so far not been heavy spenders on second-screen advertising, instead choosing to move some of their TV ad dollars into social media platforms.

Second-screen apps aimed at providing TV viewers with expanded experiences tied into the shows they watch have, for the most part, not been popular among viewers or advertisers. Many of them have offered viewers incentives that would draw them into the apps while watching shows, but even that has not been enough of a draw to lure big ad bucks.

However, other companies are using technology to offer advertisers the ability to buy ad inventory in real-time programmatically, allowing them to run ads in a TV show and draw viewers to the marketers’ websites just after the commercial airs, where they can find more information on the product advertised on TV—synchronizing the commercial messages to their own websites.

Millward Brown, the global research company specializing in ad effectiveness, issued a report before Christmas predicting the rapid growth in this second-screen synchronization of advertising messages in 2015.

The report says more TV advertisers will begin running an increasing number of ad messages on digital devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones to reinforce their TV commercials.

“Second-screen synching isn’t just about media efficiency and hitting consumers with multiple messages, it’s also a new storytelling opportunity that allows brands to add extra value for people who just watched their TV spot,” says Duncan Southgate, global brand director, digital at Millward Brown.

A Millward Brown study found 35% of all screen time involves simultaneous usage of TV and a digital device. Yet, consumers are more often than not using their digital devices for activity unrelated to TV or to a TV commercial that may be airing during their viewing. The study also found “just 11% of multiscreen users proactively use a digital device to follow up on a TV ad.”

Millward Brown points to technologies from companies such as Civolution, Infectious Media, Mediasynched and wywy that helps agencies and their marketing clients better synchronize their TV and digital advertising in real time by allowing them to immediately deliver ad messages on digital devices for the advertisers who have just run spots.

Andreas Schroeter, cofounder and chief operating officer of cross-channel advertising company wywy says viewer use of smartphones and tablets while watching TV can be a distraction, resulting in them not watching commercials.

His company, with clients including Hyundai, KFC, Panera, Puma and Avis, provides a technology that allows marketers and their agencies to buy cross-screen advertising in real time.

The company recently commissioned a study and has issued a white paper with the results that show a lack of integration between TV, online and mobile advertising. The white paper provides some data pointing to opportunities being missed by many marketers.

The study found that while 80% of TV-inspired visits to advertiser websites happen within 90 seconds of a TV commercial airing, only 20% showed a clearly visible product that was being advertised on TV. Another 15% featured the product with “compromised visibility” where the viewer needed to scroll down to see it. And 40% of the websites did not offer the TV advertised product on the advertiser’s homepage at all.

Additional data found that 55% of marketers did not display a TV advertised product on the mobile version of their homepage and 7% had the product with compromised visibility.

“Marketers are spending millions on TV ads only to potentially lose interested TV viewers when they use their companion second-screen device to purchase or seek more information and can’t find the advertised product,” Schroeter says. He adds that displaying the advertised product on second-screen device homepages increases conversion rates two-to-five times and “is vital to getting the most out of a TV media buy.”

The Millward Brown report says second-screen synching “can be used to hijack competitor ads by running targeted digital counter-claims at the same time as a competitor’s TV ad.”

Second-screen synching can also offer complementary brands a chance to cross-promote products. For example, viewers of a TV commercial for a vodka brand could subsequently be targeted with a digital device ad for a soft drink brand to mix it with.

Working with client Hyundai and its agencies Innocean and Havas, wywy earlier this year helped implement a complementary multiscreen strategy for the new Hyundai i10 model. When the commercials for the new model aired on TV, an audience of viewers in the 25-34 age demo were simultaneously targeted on their second-screen devices with corresponding Hyundai display ads for the model on the Hyundai website. Visits to the Hyundai website increased by 50% over the visits when only the TV commercials were run.

The multiscreen strategy cost only an additional 1.5% of the total TV ad campaign, according to wywy.

“Synching technology seems likely to have broad appeal across categories . . . and looks set to become a standard part of the marketing toolkit for smart advertisers,” Millward Brown says. “The true impact of this form of targeting will be measured over the coming year as its use increases, and advertisers understand the impact on brand and behavior.”