Consumers have become extremely adept at switching between watching television and using other electronic devices, but marketers have yet to capitalise fully on the advent of the multiscreen world.
Perhaps they are beginning to, however, for investment in multiscreen advertising campaigns is expected to skyrocket over the next couple of years, as marketers catch up with this new behaviour.
According to an August 2013 survey by the Association of National Advertisers and Nielsen, two-thirds of U.S. marketers currently spend up to a quarter of their media budgets on integrated multiscreen campaigns. Such spending appears justified, for, according to technology research company Telsyte, the average household in Australia has up to eight Internet-connectable devices.
In fact, a June 2014 study by Telsyte found some households have more than 20 smartphones, tablets, and computers, often used simultaneously. “Multiscreening is on the rise, with 58% of Australians using a device such as a smartphone or tablet while watching TV,” noted Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi. “Being on two devices at once is very common.”
Research by consultants Frost & Sullivan included in a whitepaper by Telstra, titled “Beyond the box: How the second screen is changing the media landscape,” backs up these findings: In 2013, 48% of tablet owners surveyed by F&S said they used their tablet always or most of the time while watching traditional TV.
“It’s all about delivering the right message to the right device at the right time—either disrupting them to grab their attention or drawing them further into the experience already being provided,” the Telstra whitepaper said.
The two main findings of the research were that, first, 80% of second-screen use is not related to whatever is on the primary screen (usually the TV). The main focus of the second screen is on household administration tasks, social media, short games, or work. Second, related multiscreening accounts for just 20% of all multiscreen activity.
Opportunity For Marketers
Rob Beeston, general manager of TV social and content network Beamly, said he believes marketers should no longer think about how to split a campaign across various channels.
“You need to be looking at the campaign as a whole and how digital will interact with broadcast and vice versa,” Beeston said. With the right approach and techniques, Beeston said, the rise in multiscreen use could help businesses gain distracted viewers or deepen viewer engagement with the primary screen.
The Telstra whitepaper noted that by providing the distracted TV viewer with relevant, personalised content, media organisations could harness the urge to reach for a second screen during a moment of inattention to the primary screen.
Furthermore, encouraging viewers to share their personal data is crucial. “Consumers are increasingly at ease with the idea of receiving commercial messages on their second screen, as long as the criteria of location relevance, message relevance, and tangible benefit is met,” the report said.
“The same platform that delivers personalised content to viewers could also help companies targeting the second screen to show more targeted ads to their viewers,” the Telstra report added. “Viewers would actually see fewer ads, but advertisers would get to reach a more receptive audience.”
Putting aside the avenues through which to deliver personalised content to viewers, the real opportunity for marketers will be fulfilled only when they know why viewers reach for a second screen.
Untangling The Technology
The age of multiple screens provides the opportunity to engage with consumers across more channels. However, it comes with a new set of challenges for marketers to keep in mind. As Telstra’s whitepaper outlined, the key to multiscreen success lies in finding the right technology partners that can deliver messages in a consistent way across multiple platforms.
However, the vital ability to track the same user across multiple screens will require increasingly sophisticated technology, as well as understanding the role of each device along the conversion path.
So even bigger picture, success lies in recognising the speed at which this market is changing and the adoption of techniques to avoid technology lock-in--all while catering to constantly changing consumer preferences.