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Social TV and the Second-screen Era

Who doesn’t love spending money on items that wow them? What if you could instantly learn more about or even buy those particular items on sight as they appear on your TV sets? Well then, social TV is your new best friend. The idea of watching TV while engaging with the content online is not brand new, but the fact that it has started to take good shape in the media world is making advertisers alert. Not only social TV can bring about meaningful engagement and buzz among TV viewers who depend on their second-screen devices where the conversations take place, now it is enabling advertisers to influence the viewers and earn ROI.

According to Nielsen, nearly 40% of Americans use tablets or smartphones while watching TV at least once a day, and 62% do it several times a week – the numbers are showing a shift in how consumers interact and engage with content or brands. Presumably, brands that have the propensity to disrupt the consumers during their viewing will be ignored and wooed since they have the option to opt-out their primary screen and land on their second screen at will. American Express and Target are trying to be unobtrusive with their advertisements on TV and migrate to the second-screen phenomenon to generate sales.

To put this in perspective, I tuned in to Spotify the other day and saw a new music video from Ellie Goulding on the screen beckoning me to press play, so I did, and as I hovered the cursor over, there were these gray transparent boxes all over the artist’s body from her top to necklace to pants to shoes with details about them as well as how to buy. Similarly, American Express is trying it out with the show ‘New Girl’ on Fox as well as NBC Universal cable networks; it is supporting programs that let the viewers buy items that are selected by and presented in the show and networks in real time. Moreover, Zeebox is embraced by AMEX and NBC Universal enabling users to interact through Zeebox with NBC’s content during a commercial break with related content, which helps intensify conversations further. At the same time, Target is aiming at the show ‘Revenge’ to boost sales by encouraging users to engage with additional content on their second-screen devices, where they learn more about the items and how to purchase. Many other brands such as Neiman Marcus and Verizon are also striding into the same area.

It’s true that social media conversations are imperative for brands to last in the minds of the consumers during their TVs are on and after they are turned off, but it’s also true that they are not enough anymore. These brands need conversions, and social TV might be the ultimate answer for advertisers to reach their consumers, especially if they continue to multitask and have short attention span. My question remains whether social TV and its new strategy is powerful and reasonable enough to move the consumers to impulse buying and conversion at the end of the day. On the bright side, the product placements of these items allow the consumers to easily visualize the items on them or in their homes. However, this is just the beginning of the trial; it’s still a long way to go to see the outcome of this shift and whether or not social TV will be a successful force for sales generations.

To read the article: http://adage.com/article/media/social-tv-business/238347/


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