The proliferation of devices continues unabated, but wise Direct Response marketers won’t forget that the big screen in the middle of a household is as important as it ever was. Television isn’t old fashioned, it’s as much a piece of the future as it has ever been.
Now that the smartphone is nearly universal, one could think that traditional video advertising on television is not important anymore. This would be a mistake. People are using devices more, but they’re also using them at the same time they watch TV. Pairing television ads to online content is a powerful way for marketers to present both their products and a way to purchase them immediately.
For example, on a cold winter’s evening, an ad during a TV show introduces viewers to a new product called a “Snuggie.” The product seems to solve the problem they are having at the moment, how to keep their arms warm, yet available to hold their child. The consumer does an online search for the Snuggie on their tablet PC and is served up a mobile-friendly ad and special offer. The viewer’s attention jumps from one screen to another to find out more about a product, and potentially buy. At each easy step, the viewer is encouraged to take the next action. Two screen advertising campaigns increase brand recognition. They give advertisers an opportunity to guide the viewer.
SecondScreen CEO Seth Tapper said the companionship between device and television is being actively pursued. “A huge effort is underway by both startups and traditional media companies to serve these multi-taskers with information and social experiences relevant to what they’re watching on TV.”
Another really good example of this is the feedback loop of the AMC network zombie-themed show, The Walking Dead, and its various online platforms. Viewers are encouraged to comment on Twitter while they watch. They also have opportunities to download and play show-themed video games (single click download!). These are direct response actions.
Special online-only content is advertised during commercial breaks. After the show, the two screen experience continues with a fan-driven after show, Talking Dead, where online participation shows up in the discussion. It’s a potentially rich environment for Direct Response marketers to work in. Purchase opportunities can be offered at multiple points along the journey.
The two screen approach also makes it easy to evaluate success. An uptick in website traffic is expected to coincide with the airing of the ads. If the ads aren’t driving traffic to the site, then the operation needs to be altered. Either way, the effectiveness of a two screen advertising campaign can be easily and quickly evaluated.
All of this requires companies to choose Direct Response agencies versed in the best practices of both online and traditional media. Personal devices are the order of the day, but there are some things that television still does better. Knowing how to use both simultaneously will offer businesses greater opportunity in the new media environment.