As most digital marketers know, viewers no longer give their full attention to TV. In 2019, people are spending more time multitasking on a second (usually mobile) device while watching TV.
The term “second screen social” refers to people’s habit of using social media on a mobile device while simultaneously consuming other types of media (typically television or movies). A study by Facebook shows that 94 percent of viewers have a smartphone in their hand while watching TV.
But while brands may once shudder at the idea of the consumer’s eye wandering across multiple screens, for many it’s proving to be an advantage.
Secondary viewers are 30 percent more likely to discover brands through recommendations and comments on social networks, and 50 percent of viewers use social media for product research.
Far from being passive observers, second viewers are actively engaged in the content they see on TV through searches, conversations and social research. Knowledgeable brands have developed strategies for how to engage with this audience in new ways, and in this post we’ll explore some of the best examples.
6 brands that have mastered second-screen social
In 2018, the Super Bowl had over 100 million viewers and 170 million social media interactions.
For big brands, this event is a great opportunity to attract second audiences in North America.
Tide took the top spot in the Super Bowl by running a creative campaign that was cleverly integrated into TV and social media. They combined witty TV spotlights (“Every Ad Is a Tide Ad”) with a social media war room that was ready that day with pre-scheduled posts and GIFs. The team intervened to make instant jokes with their audience. hashtag #TideAdvertisement It’s been trending on Twitter for the entire game.
— David Harbor (@DavidKHarbour) February 24, 2018
Lesson: Engaging in a real-time chat can be a great way to engage second audiences, so prepare ahead of time with content to engage people for the entire event.
It’s no coincidence that Netflix is the top streaming service provider. They embraced the changing digital behavior of their audience.
Netflix understands that viewers use social media to discuss characters, exchange ideas about events or events, or spread their favorite series. They’ve created a GIF library of their most popular shows so viewers can share their reactions on social media.
Netflix also engages its followers as fans and posts inside jokes when they know people will be watching their shows.
For example, during the week of the season premiere of the Canadian show Schitt’s Creek, Netflix Canada has a comeback video the much-loved character Moira Rose. It sparked a fun conversation among the audience.
Have you ever stopped to think that Catherine O’Hara’s performance as Moira Rose in Schitt’s Creek was beyond perfection? pic.twitter.com/o2ulmHs5B5
— Netflix Canada (@Netflix_CA) January 11, 2019
Lesson: Netflix is adept at using data to build social relationships. Research your customers to better include secondary audiences in your target demographic.
For outdoor clothing brand Burton, it was almost a dream come true for half-pipe gold medalist Chloe Kim to snowboard at the winter Olympics.
However, Kim took this bright moment one step further, attracting second-run screenings from around the world. In the middle of the competition, he started live-tweeting his fans about ice cream and the internet went up. This spontaneous conversation between Kim and her followers felt natural and unplanned – it would be very difficult for a brand to do this through their own channel.
Might be down for some ice cream rn
— Chloe Kim (@ChloeKim) February 12, 2018
Whether by design or incidental, Burton’s iconic brand is now associated with Kim’s viral moment on Twitter. Kim’s interaction with her audience demonstrates a huge shift in how athletes – and therefore their sponsors – can please their fans on social media.
Lesson: Sponsors and influencers can act as an extension of your brand by engaging with your audience during live events. Give them as much creative freedom as possible to harness their star power.
ABC owns two of the top-ranked social TV shows in the US: The Bachelor and American Idol – so they understand the importance of second screens to the popularity of their show.
— American Idol (@AmericanIdol) 31 December 2018
The second screening concept is already ingrained in shows like American Idol, as they ask viewers to join the show by calling or texting them by voting for the artists.
As American Idol has evolved (and digital behavior has changed), ABC has done an excellent job of expanding its engagement with audiences to include conversations between artists, judges, and the audience on Twitter. Most of the contestants and judges are active on social media, acting as an extension of the ABC network.
Whether viewers are furious about a finale or sharing their favorite moments from the season, it’s clear that social viewers are invested in the show.
Lesson: If you run a campaign on TV and social media, increase engagement by creating a live voting element for viewers to follow your social posts.
5th Academy Awards
Social media engagement is an important part (and potentially a predictor) of movie popularity and ticket sales.
The Academy Awards gathers millions of second viewers each year who discuss the outfits, potential wins, and cast their unofficial votes. The Academy Awards capitalize on this interaction with GIFs and jokes. Celebrity attendees also often broadcast live from the event.
They’ve also created a community on Twitter where movie buffs can chat all year long. Not only do they post on the night of the event, they always keep a ready presence for their audience until the next awards season kicks off.
Lesson: Interacting with second screeners is more than instant access. It’s about creating a community that people can come back to whether they watch TV or not.
The NBA has harnessed the power of second screens by allowing fans to vote for their favorite player to attend the all-star game.
Viewers can vote via Facebook or Twitter, and their votes make up 50 percent of the final decision. NBA uses hashtag #nbavote to promote the campaign to fans.
This campaign not only increases online engagement for the NBA, but also allows fans to become more invested and engaged in the experience. Bringing superfans together on social media at a much-anticipated event each year is a smart strategy.
Lesson: Run contests or polls that make second viewers feel like they’re part of your event, even if they don’t attend in person. Use an easy-to-remember hashtag so people can follow the result.
As digital consumption continues to rise, the second screening will be the new reality for TV viewers. Brands that understand and embrace this change will win the hearts (and likes) of their followers.
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