Ever since we discovered that people watch TV with their smartphones in hand, second screen technology has taken off. Some companies are using it to offer an extra layer of content to a movie, while others are strictly for ad purposes.
This past week Hallmark Channel partnered with 44Doors to deliver a holiday gift from Billy Ray Cyrus to his fans. A QR code appeared on the screen during the airing of Cyrus’ movie Christmas Comes Home to Canaan. Accessing the code, allowed fans to download the song “Home” which was written specifically for the movie.
“An increased volume of viewers and sustaining that audience throughout Christmas Comes Home to Canaan was a primary objective, while the data analysis from the actual scans and downloads will help the network and advertisers to better understand audience viewing behavior, device preference and geographic location.”
He also noted that “thousands” of people scanned the code. It’s hard to say if that’s an acceptable response or not. Perhaps for Hallmark, that was considered a win.
Timing is Everything
The trick with these second screen moments is the timing. In order to make the most of them, several warnings are aired prior to the event. Still, not everyone sees the notation until it’s too late. Ten years ago, we wouldn’t have accepted writing at the bottom of a TV show every ten minutes, but now we’ve gotten used to it. So used to it that many people tune it out.
Last night, I saw a Shazam logo show up without warning on a TV show. Apparently, I could have logged on to the Shazzam app at that moment to download a song or maybe just get a link to buy it. I didn’t bother to check it out.
I have been playing around with the Shopkick ads on The CW. This app reminds you to watch for several commercials that will be airing during the show. When you see the ad, you trigger Shopkick, it “listens” and rewards you with points for watching. Currently they’re working with Best Buy, Macy’s and Old Navy.
In regard to timing, the DVR is my saving grace. Since the app works off of sound recognition, I can rewind the commercial and play it again if I missed it the first time.
As an avid TV watcher, I’m becoming aware of the increasing number of second screen notifications. The next step after awareness is annoyance. As smartphone usage goes up, so will the number of second screen ads.
On the other hand, as a marketer, I see it as a clever way of getting people to engage with a show or commercial. We do love our rewards and if all it takes to get a free song is to point a phone at the TV at the right moment, we’re gonna do it.
Have you used your smartphone to access a second screen reward on TV? We’d like to hear your thoughts about the experience.