'Game of Thrones' Won By Ikea On Second Screening

The week ends on some rather lighthearted research that actually might mean something, or it may not -- with social media, it's always hard to tell.

First a disclaimer -- this journalist has never watched "Game of Thrones," and so is the one person in the UK least placed best to introduce it. I think Sean Bean was there for a bit, then a dwarf had a lot of sex, people had lots of wars and someone got a dragon on their side? I think it's basically all swords and sex and a couple of women trying to win a throne or two? It must have a meteorologist involved too because memes are all over social saying "winter is coming."

The main marketing outcome seems to be a lot people who would otherwise be playing Dungeons and Dragons have boosted the tourism trade in Northern Ireland, so that can only be a good thing.

Anyway, as everyone in the world knows, the show's final episode aired recently, although some people are petitioning the makers to make a different ending. It was a big deal because, despite this one person not watching, I think most people in the UK would find it hard to think of another series in recent years that has more buzz?

Which brings us nicely on to 4C Insights. Prepare yourself for the stats that will be forever put up on screen at any conference where a speaker is trying to validate the power of second screening. We've all been there, phone in hand, as the ad break comes on -- surfing around until the show comes back on.

The question has always been whether this is idle time wasting or whether it represents a chance to influence behaviour for the brands paying to advertise between each segment of a programme.

Well, Ikea will almost certainly be the lead actor here with its three ads in the final series offering a near fivefold engagement on social during the five minutes after the spots ran, compared to the five minutes before. Apparently, the retailer claims its rugs were used in the show. It must have provided the thrones too. All that anger and warfare can only come from trying to self-assemble a royal seat only to get to the last page and realise you started out with the screws the wrong way around.

Perhaps most impressive was a trebling of interest in O2 on social after just one ad. For this the telecoms brand takes second spot by running the fewest possible spots to make them eligible for the league table. The researchers claim there is a link between O2 and Sky Mobile, which explains this. I would say there may well have been the angle of Sean Bean, who apparently didn't last too long in the show, also being the voice of its advertising. 

In third sport we have BT, although it took a massive eight adverts across the last series to double its social interactions. BMW was in fourth spot and in fifth we have Iceland which ran a hugely impressive 11 ads and got a 156% uplift.

As ever with social, this either means something, or it doesn't. It depends on whether a digital marketer believes social interaction is anything more than bored thumbs pressing buttons or reveals a growing awareness of a brand that might be progressing towards consideration and conversion.

What is absolutely clear, though, is second screening is a real and, potentially, powerful phenomenon. By comparing social interaction before and after adverts ran, the link between that spot and resulting traffic to the brand's social pages can clearly be made. 

Second screening exists, whether that means anything more than that simple statement will depend on how valuable mobile marketers consider traffic flows, likes and shares. 

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