About 3 in 4 smartphone owners today use their phones while watching TV – and 38% of them use their phone to occupy themselves during commercial breaks. It’s especially common in Millennials, who consume 26 hours of media content for every 24 hour day – meaning they’re surfing on their tablet while watching TV and tweeting about the program on their smartphone. We’re sending a message to advertisers who interrupt our chosen content with forced, least-common-denominator ads – you’re not catering to me, so I’m not listening.
Luckily for both viewers and marketers, new technologies can and will bridge that gap. Lisa Green, head of industry apparel at Google, explains the value of advertising embedded within a program – within the content viewers voluntarily choose to watch:
“It makes it more actionable and specific… It’s about being able to take advantage of that magic moment when you’re watching [a video] and want to buy it.”
Here are a few articles that go deeper into the rising trends in TV and video ads and conversations.
Many businesses now focus on creating ads that pull people in – video spots that, when posted on YouTube, are intended to make people want to watch voluntarily. This form of content marketing has value on its own, but YouTube and Google are making videos more actionable by embedding product page links within the video itself.
Juicy Couture is one brand experimenting with shopable video. Says Michelle Ryan, VP-global digital and social strategy at Juicy Couture,
“In looking where the consumer is going and how she’s consuming content, with our target being the 20-something, this is where she is and where we need to be.”
The retailer creates spots that tell a story, drawing viewers into the plot. A subtle box around characters lets viewers click to view a product page for the clothing on the screen, pausing the video so as not to disrupt the viewing experience.
When my family first got TiVo in our home, I knew shopable commercials were coming. Movie trailers subtly encouraged me to hit the thumbs up – bringing a longer trailer and more info on the film. My immediate thought was: Why not products? Why not take me to a product page with sizes, reviews, and color options, and even let me buy through my TV?
What I didn’t then realize then was that this idea of shopable media – like Juicy Couture’s YouTube videos – could be the death of interruption advertising as we know it. Why interrupt a program with an ad for a product when you can make the product part of the program itself? Sure, product placement has been around about as long as TV has. But actionable product placement that captures that “magic moment,” as Google’s Lisa put it, is a new evolution.
Take CW’s The Vampire Diaries. Characters’ communications on their phones are often important to the plotline. And it’s evident from their uniform use of certain models – currently, colorful Nokia Luminas with Windows 8 – that the manufacturer has paid for placement. Now imagine I’m intrigued by a feature used on the show, such as Windows 8’s Live Tiles, and hit a button on my smart TV remote that queues a feature details page for later, without interrupting the episode. I’m not just a random set of eyeballs watching a mass-market ad – I’m a qualified prospect who’s opted in to learn more. And the more my smart TV knows about me through Facebook, past purchases, etc., the better Windows can tailor their product page to my unique preferences.
Fully realizing the opportunity in opt-in TV marketing has taken much longer than anticipated – in part, because the right technologies didn’t exist. Enter mobile. Second screens – smartphones and tablets – add a new dimension to TV viewing that makes the product placement opportunities described above even less disruptive than hitting a button on a remote.
NBC’s partnership with AMEX pairs programs with a second-screen experience on their smartphone or tablet, and offers opportunities to buy merchandise inspired by the show – and it’s a mere toe in the ocean of possibility. Every program could soon offer chances to buy through the second screen; not only show merch, but any product featured. Shopable second-screen experiences will make product placement measurable. Expect it to become a much more prominent method of TV advertising.
The social conversation around TV programs has become an essential part of the viewing experience for many people. Events that attract big audiences (the Super Bowl, the Grammys) easily keep real-time viewers in sync – and their conversations are proven to increase viewership and engagement. But what if I pause the program? What about that episode of Parks and Rec I watch on Hulu the next day? As more viewers opt to watch TV on their own time online or on DVRs, how will networks encourage those valuable conversations?
Michael has a solution: Incorporate synced Twitter streams second-screen experiences that match Tweets to a particular point in the program. So, if you pause your TV to eat pizza before the Best Actress presentation at the Oscars, your tweet stream pauses with you. And when you finally hit play, you get to read tweets about Jennifer Lawrence’s now-famous stumble as it happens for you – no spoilers, just relevant conversation.
I’m passionate about the potential of TV and ads in the future, so share articles you find interesting with me on Twitter at @txTDM.