Broadcast And Online Gap Narrowing With TV-Synchronised Advertising

A year after my first blog post on developments in the "second screen" and the role it will play in advertising, it is clear that the situation has rapidly evolved. Now, a myriad of brands and agencies are increasingly deploying TV-synced ad campaigns.

While the second screen was originally only considered to be a bonus companion to the TV-viewing experience, it is now evident that this experience is an integral part of media consumption, bringing along with it disruption to the TV and digital advertising worlds alike. This disruption means that brands and agencies have to find ways to regain viewers’ attention as it jumps from one screen to another -- which ultimately reduces the impact of traditional commercials, as said media is often skipped in favour of social media interactions or mobile Web browsing.

The greatest power in television advertising has always been its ability to deliver large audiences and excite its viewers’ emotions and desires. Where television maintains lesser power, however, is in its ability to build relationships, trigger purchases, or measure the impact of commercials -- all of which are finding their strength via online advertising.

Until very recently, these two different advertising platforms existed independently and competed for advertising budgets. However, the proliferation of smartphones and tablets has changed consumer behaviour, bringing TV and the Web together in the palm of the consumer’s hand and increasing the likelihood of instant purchases. This evolution has seen consumer demand for cross-media offerings increase, with the broadcast and online worlds moving from a position where they competed for advertising revenue to one in which they need to tie their efforts in a way that will be mutually beneficial for both.

By combining the targeting, interactivity, and measurement capabilities of online advertising with the reach of TV, brands and agencies can engage with TV audiences online and create highly targeted campaigns that reach users on multiple screens at the same time. TV-synchronised campaigns in Europe and North America have proven to be hugely successful, delivering an increase in click-through rate (CTR) of more than 60% when digital ad units are displayed in viewers’ Facebook feeds at the same moment a complementary TV spot is aired. A similar TV-synced campaign on Twitter saw a CTR increase of over 250%. Also, there has been an increase in conversions and unique users hailing from mobile and tablet devices, demonstrating the powerful brand uplift resulting from the combination of second screen technologies and tradition television advertising.

The next step that further aligns TV synchronisation with TV audiences will be to re-identify these viewers online, thereby closing the cross-platform/device gap even further. Additional measures that identify the method of connectivity and geographic location will increase the power, data overlay, and targeting abilities even further. With these systems in place, a new era of advertising will begin: offline advertising that is just as smart, interactive, and powerful as online advertising.

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