The Pool Study Highlights Second Screen Advertising Opportunity

64 per cent of smartphone owners and 70 per cent of tablet owners multi-task while watching TV several times a week or daily, while more than 40 per cent of mobile users now report daily usage of a second screen device while watching TV; 29 per cent of viewers report looking up program-related information, and 20 per cent report looking up ad-related information while watching TV.

These are some of the key findings of the US Two Screen TV Lane study carried out by The Pool, a cross-industry collective of advertisers, publishers, media and tech companies, whose mission is to use research to solve advertising problems. 

160 companies are involved in The Pool, collaborating on 14 research ‘Lanes’. The Two Screen TV Lane results come off the back of six months of two screen advertising research with two advertisers – Kraft and one other, unnamed advertisers – and other participants including Viacom, zeebox, Alternate Routes, comScore and Tobii Technology. The results of the study demonstrate the need for advertisers to begin engaging TV audiences on two screens – the TV and the second screen at their fingertips. 

“As mobile devices continue to proliferate and compete for viewer attention, a new kind of TV viewer has emerged: ‘the power breaker,’” said Tracey Scheppach, innovations director of digital advertising firm Vivaki, and founder of The Pool. “Once a show pauses for commercials, these viewers are turning their attention to content on their smartphones and tablets. However, this viewing trend creates a new and exciting opportunity to engage TV audiences in relevant and interactive ways.”

One of the most significant findings was discovered during the eye-tracking research in which participants viewed programming on TV while using TV viewing companion app, zeebox, on a tablet. Participants, who were observed in a controlled setting, showed a strong propensity to seek out additional content during commercial breaks. In fact, across the group measured, over two-thirds of total attention was focused on the tablet during commercial breaks. That shift in attention was confirmed through six focus groups. Respondents made it clear that they frequently sought additional content while watching TV. 

The Pool also tested consumer response to branded messaging on the second screen. The approach involved testing companion ads that ran in the PC, mobile, and tablet versions of the zeebox app alongside TV ads. Instead of distracting from TV, the study found that the app complements TV content by centralizing show-related content and social elements like Twitter in one experience. It can also enable brands to support their TV ads with contextually relevant and even simultaneous ads that appear within the app.

The study’s behavioral and attitudinal analysis of live, in-market ads showed strong response to branded messaging. During the research, The Pool tested a new technology that allows an app to time the launch of an ad with the same brand’s TV ad. This early test conducted with a small group, earned a 39 per cent click-through rate for the synchronized ad unit, SpotSynch making clear the potential for two-screen advertising. From an attitudinal perspective, users exhibited significant lifts across key brand metrics such as unaided awareness, ad recall, brand favourability and purchase intent.

“We believe TV and second screen synchronized advertising introduce rich new paths for consumer engagement so we’re pleased with what we’re seeing from The Pool’s research on how to maximize its potential,” said Jason Forbes, EVP, zeebox USA.

The qualitative phase of the research explored users’ thoughts on companion apps, the zeebox platform, and advertising on zeebox. The eye-tracking phase analyzed users’ viewing habits while using zeebox in a lab setting during live TV episodes to understand how much time users spend looking at TV versus tablet. The attitudinal phase measured compared consumer reactions to brands between those exposed and not exposed to the ads, using zeebox tracking to differentiate between exposed and unexposed in the two groups. And the behavioral phase deployed multiple ad models on zeebox to analyze users’ interaction with advertising within the app. In total, the behavioral research included 3,441 hours of consumer exposure to two-screen advertising.

There’s more information about the study here.