Second Screen Advertising: Connecting to the Consumer


Dean Donaldson, Director of Innovation at DG and MediamindDean Donaldson is Global Director of Innovation for DG & MediaMind, who launched their dual screen video advertising platform earlier this year. Here Dean talks about how consumers are using the second screen, the opportunities it will open up for brands and how it is going to affect how TV is produced.

Think about it – when is the last time you sat still watching a TV show? Chances are, even when your favorite football match or reality series is on, you find yourself fiddling with another screen, whether it’s a smartphone, a tablet or a laptop.

This shift in consumer behavior shows no sign of slowing – anywhere between 63 percent to over 80 percent of people engage with another device as they watch TV.  Advertisers have of course followed the eyeballs and are trying to work out how to capture the enormous potential of second screen advertising.

The Big Click Won’t Stick

But what do we really mean by the second screen? It’s as simple as having a second screen to duplicate content viewed on another, right? Not quite. The hype around the second screen has tended to focus on content that either replicates the content first screen, or puts the onus on the viewer to pursue the content.

While we’re likely to have a honeymoon period during which consumers enjoy experimenting with the new functionality, the reality is that over time it’s going to become harder for advertisers to persuade users to activate ‘click-here’ content.

Push v. Pull

But here’s the thing – it shouldn’t be up to the viewer to activate second screen content in the first place. The layered richness of video can deliver advertising so relevant and engaging on the second screen that we can go well beyond the “click”. The consumer shouldn’t have to dig around to discover the brand’s message. On the second screen we can have a service push instead of a consumer-dependent “pull” for an ad.

Rethinking TV 

The second screen is also going to affect how TV is produced. For example, TV shows could have points in the narrative that encourage complementary viewing on a second screen.

Imagine a product placement for a soft drink aired during a prime-time show. For example, a viewer could wave a phone at an image of the drink, as a product placement during the show, and be directed to additional promotions, coupons, or links for the viewer to directly purchase the beverage.

Taking it further, imagine a TV spot in 3D, where someone is offering you that drink for you reach out and grab, and in turn the phone appears to fill up with that very drink! The possibilities and potential advertiser tie-in are endless.

Beyond the excitement around the new-fangled tech, what we’re really talking about here is a new way to connect to the consumer as an individuals in ways that have been impossible before now.


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