The second screen experience is happening more and more in every home. In some it can even be a triple or quadruple screen experience as the TV goes up against tablets, smartphones, laptops and handheld gaming devices as a distraction to fill the gap that any downtime allows.
Watching TV is no longer an experience to be enjoyed by a room full of people. Now you'll be Tweeting about it to others, sat on Facebook updating a status or having a conversation – perhaps even watching a show while on Skype to a friend or family member.
While all of these second-screen experiences are beneficial to a user and how they experience a show or moment, they certainly aren't doing retailers any favours as television advertising goes unwatched or ignored.
But all is not lost in the battle against advertising! The second screen need not be something retailers and marketers need to fear! In fact, it can be an incredibly beneficial way of tapping into consumer consciousness and directly engaging the consumer with your brand.
1. Make use of apps
Both FoxNow and Zeebox provide users with a social experience around their viewing habits, allowing them to see which friends are watching a programme and find out more information about what's being shown on your TV screen.
What's really interesting about FoxNow though is that it makes use of the Shazam audio identification software to listen in on what you're watching – identifying an episode and what's happening on-screen at that time.
With that information it delivers to the user information on where to buy products shown in the show – such as a dress or jacket being worn by an actor, all the way down to the cutlery they're using in a dining scene.
Naturally this means that consumers can instantly grab what they want when they see it on TV, but it enables retailers to enter in and offer up a whole range of products that a user may have otherwise forgotten about or missed out on.
Essentially, it lets you advertise in a way that the consumer wants – by showing them a product they're interested in.
2. Use social networking to your advantage
Everybody knows that there are big programmes that nearly everybody watches when they air on TV – be it Game of Thrones, X-Factor, Britain's Got Talent, The Walking Dead Downton Abbey etc.
By tapping into this on social networks, retailers can instantly humanise their company and really come across as just one person who's just like anyone else, who really shares the interests of their consumers.
It may not be the most direct approach to securing the second screen experience, but when there are rafts of people Tweeting or commenting about a certain televisual event, Tweeting or commenting alongside them only helps them identify with your brand – securing it within their mind when they next need to grab something.
It's also a perfect opportunity to slide in information about a possibly related product with a little bit of wit and humour – just like most media-savvy people enjoy. Take Game of Thrones for example, you could quite easily sell a winter coat alongside some of the very chilling wintery scenes shown around Northern Westeros (the fictional continent that Game of Thrones is set upon).
There are already some companies who are doing it right.
3. Create adverts that promote second screen experiences
This may be a very obvious point, but if you create and unusual or engaging advert that then encourages users to venture into something new within their second screen, chances are they'll take you up on such an offer – especially if it piques their interest.
Effective marketers know just how popular and effective the Guinness TV adverts are as they stand out amongst the crowd of loud advertising noise with their more sedate and largely surreal offering. Mixing that with the opportunity to discover more via an interactive second screen experience would not only mean viewers are watching your TV advert, but they're engaging with your brand for far longer than they otherwise would be.
It's not an easy strategy to implement, especially if the boundary to entry is tough or convoluted – i.e. no long or complicated URLs, nor fiddly QR codes that need to be snapped up off the screen quickly. But if done right, it's hard to imagine a potential consumer not being curious enough to download a free app or visit a website.
Capitalising upon digital offerings and emerging technological trends is key for both established and growing businesses in the retail sector around the world. At this years Loyalty World Mexico, as well as Europe's Customer Festival 2013, securing these new digital trends and engaging with an entirely new audience plays a big part, so don't pass up an opportunity to find out more by downloading a brochure for free.