RamKrishna Raja
Jul 22, 2014

Are you second-screen ready?

Five tips for placing smarter TV-plus bets.

RamKrishna Raja
RamKrishna Raja

Over the past couple of months, I have been advising an ambitious startup that helps publishers and broadcasters drive second-screen engagements via their native app ecosystems. As part of my role, I have had the opportunity to meet with publishers, broadcasters, agencies and major brands to help them understand the second-screen opportunity. 

While the ‘tech’ from various vendors has positively wowed the marketers, most are challenged with identifying the best approach to drive their second-screen strategy.

Questions mostly centre on the following topics:

  • Where do I start?
  • Where does second screen fit into my marketing strategy?
  • So many second screen apps, which one to go with?
  • Is there enough of an audience to justify the spend?
  • How do I measure ROI?

Second-screening as an identifiable behavioural shift is a recent phenomenon, and the marketing opportunity is in its early days. But make no mistake, the phenomenon is here to stay. The recent watchESPN app viewership number during the FIFA World Cup is just the tip of the second-screen iceberg.

With so many ‘social TV’ app vendors in the market driving their second-screen solutions and broadcasters working hard to keep their audiences locked into their own app ecosystems, marketers are left to wonder where to place their bets. Here are five tips to help you make smarter bets that yield results.

1. Start with the second screen in mind

Most second-screen ad engagements today are conceived as post-view responses to a 30-second spot on TV. While this might be OK today to experiment, a sound second-screen strategy must start with the brief.

Start ideating your next campaign with the second screen in mind rather than fitting in an engagement as an afterthought. Keep it seamless and have a compelling story or utility. Also, be honest with yourself. If you feel that you are forcing it on your audiences, you most probably are. 

2. Identity the best use case for your next campaign

You now have the opportunity to engage your audiences in ways that could not be conceived even just a couple of years ago. Everything from live events to gamifying TV spots, driving e-commerce, geo targeting, couponing, instant polls and automatic gratification can be driven synchronously. And that’s just for starters. Work with partners to come up with a road map that leverages all your brand assets and the most logical use cases to drive them.

3. Empower your audience

Audiences need to be given a choice and reason to engage. Create ways to put the power in their hands so that they can choose to engage with you or not. If your story/value is compelling enough, they will. And remember, it is ‘social TV’. So keep it social.

4. Spend money to drive your brand and not the platform

Advertisers today spend considerable resources to drive third-party app installs for what is mostly a one-off engagement window. At the end of the day, your money needs to be focused on driving your brand and not the platform—unless the platform is yours.

One way to maximize your spends is to work directly with broadcasters. Broadcasters today are equipping themselves to deliver the same kind of second-screen engagements that are being promised by the Shazams of the world. Add this to their native app footprint, you get a chance to drive a much more seamless TV+ experience with a larger native reach.

5. Protect yourself from attention-hijack

Lastly, and most importantly, give due consideration for your brand’s safety. It’s just a matter of time before the third-party app ecosystem morphs into a hyper-competitive, second-screen bidding game where competing engagements can be driven against your content or spots on TV. Think of how Adwords works and you will get an idea. Bring this up at your next vendor meet and seek concrete guarantees around brand safety.

Marketers around the globe are in the process of crossing the ‘to or not to’ line and entering the ‘how to’ territory when it comes to driving their second-screen strategy. With the excitement and opportunity come the challenges of integrating this new modality into your TV marketing mix. The idea is to create a mix that works in tandem to drive a richer, more powerful experience than what can be derived separately. Failing which, you invite the risk of alienating your most important asset—your audience.

RamKrishna Raja is a digital marketer and evangelist

Campaign Asia

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