Connected Devices

MotilityAds Eddie DeGuiaEddie DeGuia, general manager and VP, digital marketing at Motilty Ads, looks at how mobile and TV make perfect bedfellows.

They may be called the second screen by some, but for most of the billion-plus people that use smartphones or tablets every day, they are screen number one. News, sports, weather, entertainment, communication – all of it streams straight into palms, pockets and purses around the world, around the clock.

When it comes to marketing though, these screens still play second fiddle to television – the screen that dominates in bars and bedrooms, living rooms and lounges – packaging our collective attention for a handsome fee.

For most consumers, television and the smartphone are the two screens that matter most. But marketers haven’t yet cracked the code on how to connect them in the most meaningful and effective way.

Think, think, think – there’s got to be a way for mobile marketers to use television to generate actionable demand. Think, think, think – there’s got to be a way for television to get in on the growing mobile marketing budgets that are only going to go up over time.

Symbiotic relationship
Most of the time, mobile devices are used to enhance the television experience through program-specific apps, conversations happening in social media or the ability to watch shows on the go. With a symbiotic relationship developing between television and mobile, does the marketing relationship have to be so one-directional? Right or wrong, most mobile publishers and app developers haven’t factored television into their marketing plans.

They often feel that the cost of television is prohibitive or that the benefits are difficult to measure. When you are used to performance-driven online campaigns that let you see which ad led to a specific download – and often, the cost of that click – television can seem like an alien environment, with its emphasis on that intangible haze called branding.

Yet the fact is that television has a lot to offer mobile marketers. Television remains unrivalled when it comes to reach and impact, and those are things every marketer would love to take advantage of. There are also new tricks that the old dog of television can be taught – especially in the era of instant gratification now made possible by mobile technologies.

Let’s parse out what TV can deliver, look how it can be enhanced and consider what these things mean for mobile marketers.

Huge audiences
Nothing beats television for reaching huge audiences with powerful images and messages. Even with the fragmentation of audiences since the rise of cable, you can still find and influence a lot of people with TV. Advertisers know this and continue to create commercials that make people laugh and cry, get jingles stuck in their heads and are argued about and discussed with friends.

Say what you will, but TV works. That’s why it continues to command such a big slice of the ad revenue pie. In 2012, US ad spending for TV was $63.8bn (£37.9bn), mostly in the form of brand advertising, versus $36.6bn for online.

Television’s emphasis on brand and the difficulty of connecting a commercial to a specific action doesn’t mean, however, that television can’t support specific calls to action. Think of the millions of votes cast by phone, text or app for talent shows.
So TV offers reach and impact, and can deliver a call to action. All, however, isn’t rosy in TV land.

Instant gratification
As mentioned earlier, instant gratification is one of the ways that the digital experience has changed consumer expectations. You want to hear a song? Find and stream it from Spotify. Can’t remember the punch line to a joke? Google it. Have something on your mind? Tweet it. A friend just showed you a cool app? Download it. Mobile devices mean pretty much anything and everything is now available, any time or any place.

With the exceptions of video on demand and time-shifting, television hasn’t been great at instant gratification. Sure, you might see commercials featuring a URL here or there, but the payoff is indirect, usually just leading to a website with more information about a program or product – kind of a boring prize at the bottom of the CrackerJack box.

So we know people want instant gratification and we know that mobile delivers it way more effectively than TV.

What we have here is kind of a peanut butter and chocolate moment. What if you could combine the reach and impact of television, with the immediacy and measurability of mobile?

Call to action
There is a place where a call to action delivered by television can have an instant payoff on the so-called second screen. Mobile game and app developers can use television to reach massive audiences with a simple and effective call to action that can lead viewers right to an app or game that will work right away on the device they’re holding right in their hand.

Let’s net this out Golden Book style:

See Dick sitting on the couch watching TV. Dick is texting with Jane as he watches. Look Dick, an ad for a new game. My, doesn’t that look fun! “Hmmm,” thinks Dick, “that new game sure seems fun.” A shortcode and number appear on the screen. Dick sends the code to the number and seconds later he is playing the new game. Play, Dick, play!
See how simple it can be? Television can be used for measurable and attributable performance advertising. Television can enhance the so-called second screen experience by providing instant access to new apps or games.

Television is a fact of marketing life and isn’t going anywhere. This makes it critical for mobile marketers to figure out how to take advantage of the awesomeness that is television to reach new customers in meaningful and measurable ways. And with billions of dollars in mobile marketing budgets looking for a home, television should be excited to find a way to play.

Eddie DeGuia is general manager and VP, digital marketing at Motilty Ads