Advertisers Should Hop On The Second Screen Bandwagon April 2, 2014

Written by: Rita Mogilanski
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For many, advertisements before videos are 30 seconds of branded agony. When all you want is the sweet satisfaction of the newest Jenna Marbles video, those ads had better be great. Wheat Thins got it right with the latest iteration of their Spicy Buffalo spot. This funny video ad features icons on the bottom right corner of the screen that each link to their respective social platforms.

Wheat ThinsI came across this ad on a TV network’s website while watching an episode clip. The ad is clickable, but links to Wheat Thins’ Twitter account while most banner ads or video ads link to a brand’s main website. Wheat Thins demonstrated that they know their target audience – millennials – and where they will be consuming content and how they want to interact with a brand. Ads that only link to websites are a waste from both a business perspective and user experience. If I accidentally click on it, I quickly leave the site, driving up the bounce rate. As a user, I am much more likely to seek out the brand’s Twitter account if I have questions, their Facebook page if I want to interact with them, or their YouTube channel or Vine account if I love their video content or brand voice.  

The lines between TV, social media, and advertising have become extremely blurry. A whopping 72% of people use mobile devices for video viewing and 75% of people use mobile devices while watching TV. Studies also show that some people aren’t watching TV in the traditional way at all, with 34% of millennials watching mostly online video and no broadcast TV.

Television shows have embraced this shift in attention, while many television advertisers have not.

The integration of social into TV and media has a direct impact on marketing and advertising. With more viewers using social and digital for an enhanced TV experience, custom online and second screen content needs to be a priority for advertisers. Television ads or video ads should have a social component or social call-to-action that can get fans involved. This is especially true for live television programming like sporting events and award shows. During live TV events, fans feel even more inclined to engage in real time with other fans and to avoid spoilers later. Wheat Thins’ social channel links on their video advertisement allow the viewer to easily continue the conversation online after the ad is over.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” is a great example of a show that has strategically increased its emphasis to a digital audience. While NBC expects Fallon’s ratings to be below that of predecessor Jay Leno, Fallon’s content is much more digital and social, and therefore more appealing to the desirable and hard-to-reach millennial audience. Clips from Fallon’s episodes become viral regularly, in turn not only promoting the show but also attracting advertisers.

Jimmy Fallon Tweet

While traditional television ads are not going anywhere anytime soon, it is imperative that advertisers keep up with the shift toward second screen viewing and social media interaction. Be on the lookout for a pop-up on your iPad that drives you directly to the product being advertised on your TV, or mobile apps that can scan ads in magazines and locate the closest store with the item in stock.

In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be live-tweeting commercials.