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Second Screen Opportunities For Advertisers

Television viewing habits are constantly changing, creating new opportunities for brand marketers and their advertising agencies. Many viewers today are using the Web while watching TV, largely because of a tablet or a smartphone.

The coexistence of a TV and these second devices enables marketers and advertisers to not only keep the attention of the target consumer, but to engage them and continue the dialogue long after the 30-second spot is over.

The opportunities that have emerged with the greatest potential are social TV and synced apps, both allow brands to engage the viewer during the entire show time, rather than restricting themselves to the traditional ad spots.

Social TV, the integration of social networking and TV, make TV becoming a social experience tat can be used to enrich brand awareness and engagement. As a viewer sees the ad, they can tweet about the ad or update their Facebook status with what they liked about it. This creates a buzz among viewers in their social network reading and responding to these tweets and status updates.

A successful recent implementation of this was seen during Comedy Central's Comedy Awards, which aired on multiple networks this past April and also streamed online. During the live broadcast, the producers displayed a hashtag in the corner of the screen while two comedians tweeted live along with the event.

The effort generated 21,000 tweets and the awards show was the top-rated show in its time slot for the coveted 18-34 group. Also in April, the hit Fox show "Glee" displayed the #Glee hashtag for the entirety of an episode. Expect to see more examples of this when hit shows emerge from the summer hiatus and begin airing new episodes this fall. Broadcasters will use new social media intelligence platforms like Trendrr to measure the success of these initiatives.

Synced apps, on the other hand, run parallel to a TV show on a smartphone or a tablet. Synced apps help foster brand engagement. By linking the second screen to the TV, additional content is made available through apps to the user to get him closer to the entertainment experience.

For example, "American Idol" is expected to launch a pilot program allowing users to log into their Facebook accounts and vote for their favorite singers in real time. And that's just one of many examples. SecondScreen Networks, an ad network company, is synching TV ads to digital ads.

Broadcasters and content producers are turning to popular discovery apps, like IntoNow and Shazam, to allow users to access additional content on their smartphones and tablets and interact with the shows they are watch as they watch them. New services like Zazum even make products that appear in TV shows recognizable to mobile devices, so viewers can make purchases on the spot. These tools aid in direct response advertising by interacting with the customer through second screens.

Apps not only act as a powerful feedback loop for advertisers, but also help in building revenue for programmers and help brands monetize ad inventory.

Second screen apps also help deliver targeted TV advertising -- the demographic profile of audiences can be analyzed based on usage statistics to identify the target audience. Relevant advertising can help brands and ad agencies boost ad revenue by increasing real-time interactivity and can help in launching an effective national branding campaign.

The stage is set for second-screen marketing initiatives to take off. Viewers have the devices and the desire to participate, as evidenced by the results of early campaigns. A handful of progressive brand marketers have already embracing this new era and the associated opportunities.

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