3 Ways To Capitalize On The Second Screen

You’re probably reading this on your phone. If you’re not, your phone is probably nearby. If you’re anything like yours truly, your phone being farther away than arm’s length sparks pangs akin to being caught in the throes of a wardrobe malfunction. And what’s nuts is that despite all the time we spend surrounded by the screens we love, when we turn on the TV we also tune into screen two. 

65% of people “often” or “sometimes” use their smartphone while watching TV. Add in the (probably) liars who reported they “rarely” engage in this type of behavior, and the percentage jumps to nearly two thirds (as an aside, you 10% who said “never”…that’s enough out of you). The implications of this behavior are not lost on savvy marketers looking to capitalize on second screen use. Here are three ways your brand can start to think about doing the same.

  • Shazam it. The app that replaced snapping your fingers while you try to recall the name of a song has offered branded activations for years. Running commercials on TV or cable? Make your ad shazamable, and let users unlock unique online experiences (microsite, video, AR content, etc.). Just don’t forget to add a graphic to your creative, that tells people they can Shazam the ad.
  • “Hey Siri, how you doin?” Advertisers have been hacking at smart speakers for some time now (Burger King’s stunt is on you – or your Google Home – might have heard of). If you’re in one of the over 100 million US households with a smart speaker, the ease of shouting across the room for otherwise-pretty-easily-completed tasks is something you’re accustomed to. Prompt the people who see you on TV to talk to their voice assistant of choice and serve up relevant, timely content (e.g., directions to your closest store, recipes ideas for the ingredients you sell, etc.).
  • Make “live” livelier. One of the best things social media and smartphones afford us is one-to-one communication, at scale, across almost any border. Time, place, none of it matters as long as you’ve got a charged device and working data connection. Brands can capitalize on this by aligning social media content with broadcast dayparts. Running ads during local news and sports? Sync up activations on Instagram & Twitter with timed promotions and tightly-defined targeting to catch users scrolling between plays. 

The second screen phenomenon isn’t going away, and your brand can’t afford to miss the opportunity it presents. The challenge isn’t that audiences are turning away from one screen or another, it’s that brands aren’t thinking about why audiences turn to one screen or the other. Advertising is – at its core – interruption-based. The key is to interrupt the right people with something that makes them stop, pay attention, and remember you. Cheers to that.