All those waiting for the promise of interactive TV ads to be fulfilled should shift their focus from the remote control to the mobile device. Growth is more likely to come from dual-screen behavior than finding a way to get people to punch buttons on the traditional channel changer.
Twitter and Shazam certainly elevated the possibilities with announcements Thursday. Twitter’s new TV ad targeting product and Shazam’s refashioned iPad app offer the opportunity for viewers to take immediate action in perhaps faster and more tempting ways than punching the remote several times.
With Twitter, marketers have a green field with the combination of its the TV ad targeting and the also-new Lead Generation Card functionality. If executed well, a TV spot can lead to a marketer obtaining the email addresses for customers, who have shown an interest in their brand.
With the ad targeting, Twitter technology monitors all programming where a particular commercial runs. Simultaneously, it can identify which Twitter users tweeted about the show with the spot. That offers the chance to target the viewers immediately with a message related to the ad via the Lead Generation Card.
(But who's to say the ad was actually wacthed? Twitter says: “We believe a user engaged enough with a TV show to tweet about it very likely saw the commercials as well.”)
With the Lead Generation Card option, a person’s name, Twitter handle and email address are already on file. An expanded tweet offers them a call to action, which can be activated with a simple click. Bingo: a special offer or other material can instantly wind up in an inbox and a marketer has the seed of a one-to-one relationship.
What’s advantageous is the Lead Generation Card allows a user to take action without leaving the Twitter-sphere. Being directed to a heavily branded landing page could be a turnoff.
Lead generation is huge business. Interactive TV offers immense possibilities, but has never become a killer app. And, mass amounts of people are using Twitter with a tablet or smartphone to comment on shows while watching. There’s a pretty juicy confluence there.
(With TV ad targeting, Twitter also encourages marketers to deliver relevant Promoted Tweets to users. But a Lead Generation Card would seem to offer an easier way to prompt interaction with an advertised brand, not just offer exposure to a message.)
Both the ad targeting and the Lead Generation Card are in various test modes and not available to all potential advertisers yet.
For some time, Shazam has offered viewers the opportunity to tag commercials with a mobile device and access added content. Now, it has redesigned its iPad app (which users download) allowing for automatic exposure to a chance to receive special offers or more information about a product or brand. Fiat and Fox have exclusive rights for the first three months.
The function known as auto-tagging (which also works with music and TV shows) only works with iPads so far. There is the possibility of a backlash with audiences exposed to ad content without opting in, but Shazam executive David Jones told the Guardian it has spent considerable time on the matter and believes it can thread the needle in helping advertisers without turning off consumers.
Separately, he also argued that the iPad offers particular runway.
“We think of iPad as just a bigger canvas for our brands and agency partners to paint on," he told the paper. “If you think about making a television advert interactive, it's wonderful to be able to do it on a smartphone, but even better to do it on a bigger 10-inch iPad or seven-inch iPad mini.”
The message is clear: dual-screen behavior involving TV and mobile devices might finally turn interactive TV into an impressive revenue driver.