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Role of The Second Screen in Advertising

holding big smart phone

If you regularly watch television whilst using your smartphone, tablet or laptop to access the Internet, then you’re not alone. According to a recent survey by Google, around 77% of people do so regularly. The phenomenon has become known as ‘second screening.’ Advertisers have initially been wary of the second screen, believing that it may distract their target audience during the advert breaks. Yet some have started to take advantage of the second screen, and create innovative campaigns that may change the face of television commercials.

Second screening isn’t really a new idea, but with better access to the Internet and the rise of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, it’s never been easier to connect with the wider world in an instant. When program makers discovered that viewers were discussing their TV programs on Internet forums and on social media sites whilst they watched, a whole new concept was born, and now there are many programs that allow you to interact via your phone or computer.

Mercedes Benz Case Study: The “You Drive” Campaign

However, advertisers have been slower to adopt the use of the second screen. The first big campaign to exploit second screen use was shown in October 2012 in the UK, when Mercedes-Benz launched their ‘you drive‘ campaign. The advert was shown in three parts, and looked more like a film trailer than a conventional commercial. What’s more, viewers were able to influence the storyline by voting for one of two different outcomes via Twitter (#YouDrive). The result was that the advert itself became unmissable; it became the thing that people were switching the TV on for, which is surely the holy grail of television advertising.

Compliment Not Compete

The challenge is for advertisers to embrace the second screen and integrate it into the televisual experience in the way that Mercedes-Benz have done. The second screen needs to complement the television, not compete with it. If they can achieve this, then there is endless potential for reaching out to a new and more varied consumer base.

Over to you…

How are you using the “Second Screen” in your ad campaigns? Share your experience…

About Omar Kattan
Omar is MD & Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital. His experience includes 10 years in traditional marketing and advertising in the Middle East and a further 10 years at two of the largest media agencies in the UK. Follow Omar on Twitter for updates on the latest in digital, branding, advertising and marketing.

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