Using Second Screens for Better Advertising

John Krautzel
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Whether you work with large corporations or small businesses, as an advertising professional, you should have an understanding of the burgeoning trend of using second screens to enhance user interaction and increase targeted marketing opportunities. Today, many television viewers supplement their experience with second devices such as smartphones and tablets. Your company can develop new apps or take advantage of existing ones to create a richer user experience and gather better data about target demographics. Additionally, technology like QR codes can be incorporated into a comprehensive strategy optimized for second screens.

Television networks and game developers have been using branded apps to increase user engagement and build brand recognition. These apps can offer goodies like additional footage, cast interviews, and behind-the-scenes news, making them a desirable option for hardcore fans who may view them on second screens during commercial breaks or lulls in the action. Advertising within these apps can help you target specific demographics. For example, if you are creating a campaign for a luxury car dealership, you may be able to place ads in a branded app for a reality show that highlights the luxury lifestyle. Apps for mystery shows can be a good place to advertise crime novels and problem-solving games.

Incentivized apps can also encourage viewer engagement. These apps award points or credits for certain actions, like completing a quiz. The rewards can be redeemed for in-app games, exclusive content, or tangible prizes. If you're seeking user feedback, an incentivized app may be a smart option.

Twitter, which is available on smartphones and tablets as well as computers, provides a dynamic user-created second screen experience. Live events tend to spur a flurry of Twitter activity, especially when they involve controversial performances or breaking news. When viewers use the Twitter smartphone app to search for tweets related to the TV program, they can view targeted advertising related to the show. Even small businesses can take advantage of Twitter's second screen capabilities using targeted keywords that relate to television shows and live events, according to Twitter's vice president of global online sales, Richard Alfonsi. This effect is enhanced when participants in the televised event tweet with viewers. Other social media platforms, like Facebook, can provide similar opportunities.

Apps aren't the only way to take advantage of second screens. Incorporating a puzzle into a television show drives user engagement. Providing clues that can be solved with the help of a second device, such as through a QR code or searchable phrase, can drive traffic to sponsored content; this strategy was employed in J.J. Abram's Alcatraz, a supernatural mystery thriller broadcast by Fox and sponsored in part by Ford.

By understanding how television viewers use second screens to enrich their entertainment experience, you can create targeted ads for just about any business. This is true whether you create a unique campaign based on a particular television event or use keywords to focus ad placement on branded apps.


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