I might visit “The Voice” fan site or tweet about contestants but those shows are still the exception. Mostly, what I’m doing on the second screen has nothing much—really nothing at all-- to do with what is on the television.
Rushing to agree with me would be a German firm called Wywy, which sponsored research purporting to show that among second screen users, TV ad awareness dropped 58% compared to another group that wasn’t using that damned second screen.
That would almost seem like an odd study if it wasn’t that Wywy has created a second screen ad solution that puts inexpensive banner ads for a client brand on whatever Internet site I’m on.
That’s based on a probability (based on demographics and such) that I’m watching a certain TV show that is showing a Wywy client’s TV ad at that very moment.
There’s a fair amount of hit-and-miss in Wywy’s system, but it goes something like this. The company has listening posts that can discern all ads playing on around 80 major broadcast and cable networks nationwide.
Within a fraction of a second from when that ad begins, Wywy buys banner ads on the programmatic market. Almost instantly it has purchased banner ads that appear on my Websites, matching up with the commercial on the air.
If I’m a guy ignoring the Wonderful Pistachio commercial on “The Colbert Report,” I see a banner ad for that brand on whatever real-time enabled site I’m visiting. (Wonderful Pistachios was just used as my example, by the way.)
“The idea is to extend the TV ad to the second screen viewers to capture their attention,” says Andreas Schroeter, Wywy’s co-founder and COO. The firm has been doing business in Gemany for a year; it hit the States in June.
The thing is, Wywy doesn’t even know if I have a TV on, let alone “The Colbert Report.”
That fact, Schroeter admits, stops some advertisers.
“It’s not 100% foolproof yet but that’s the way to get the second screen viewer,” he says. “The worst case scenario is that we’re delivering an ad to someone not watching television--so you’re just buying digital advertising.
“But if you’re a TV advertiser, you’re spending millions of dollars on ads and you’re losing the second screen viewer as it is because people just don’t see your ad. They have their eyeballs on the second screen when the ad comes on. So we say, listen, if you just spend a little percentage, just 3-4% to get the people on the second screen, that’s a good investment because then you can even start engaging with them, if they want to engage. That’s kind of the story line.”
Wywy calls that part of its business LiveSync. It also markets SiteSync, that will make sure, if I see the TV commercial, and see the second screen banner ad, and click on it, it will go to the company’s Website selling the same extension of the product.
So, seeing a Ford Explorer commercial leads to a Ford Explorer banner ad that leads to the Ford Website showcasing, foremost, the Ford Explorer, not the Focus or some other model. Wywy can also tap into its real-time TV ad detection apparatus to show which ads compelled viewers to engage further with the brand.
“Most people don’t go to a Website like that but many do, and we can see it, like a blip on a heart monitor,” Schroeter says. “Eighty percent of the people come to the site after an ad come within 90 seconds of the ad. That’s something you can measure.”
At the end of the conversation, he adds a tantalizing other use for Wywy’s ad syncing.
“It’s quite interesting,” he confides. “We get lots of calls from advertisers who say, ‘We don’t want to sync up with our ads. We’d like to run online during commercials of our competitor.’ It’s a kind of guerilla advertising tactic. They say, ‘Hey if they’re going to spend millions and million on their television ads, how about I spend $10,000 on a digital ad and take advantage of that? I’d say about half our buys now are that way.”