How to take business advantage of second screening conversations. The blog shares some top marketing ‘how to’ tips which include don’t forget to relate to web analytics and digital analytics to prove results.

According to recent statistics, more than 6% of the world’s population now owns a tablet and 22% own a smartphone (with 20% owning a PC)*. These figures are still growing fast and so is the trend for second screening, which refers to the use of a laptop, mobile or tablet device while simultaneously watching television.

TV advertisers can take advantage of second screening by encouraging viewers to log on to their brand website or join in with a social media discussion around a new campaign, during the ad break. Traffic to a company website can then be analysed using dedicated software to find out how many people visited during breaks and to therefore measure the effectiveness of the campaign, as we helped customers Villa Plus to do for their recent advertising campaign. (Click here to read their case study). Even if you’re not advertising on TV, there are other ways to take advantage of second screening conversations.

Television programmes frequently encourage social media discussion and debate, displaying the necessary details to enable viewers to join in online (hashtags, Twitter handles, etc.). Through the use of a consistent hashtag, viewers can search for others talking about the programme and get chatting.

Social media activity during television viewing is often widely participated in and can even be the subject of media attention later on. The Great British Bake Off, for example (which used the hashtag #GBBO), was the subject of much discussion after contestants were harshly criticised on Twitter both during and after the programmes aired.

But the conversation is not all negative, with popular shows sparking a lot of general chit-chat. Followers of Great British Bake Off also commenting on the food that had been prepared that week, for example, or picking up the show’s frequently used phrases for a well-timed joke (think ‘soggy bottom’).

Such ready-made, positive conversations with varied audiences can be tapped into or piggy-backed onto for wider commercial gain. To do this, pick a programme that focuses on a subject relevant to your business; keeping with the Great British Bake Off example, this could be relevant to a company selling cooking products or baked goods. Show such as #DragonsDen and #TopGear also generate conversations relevant to entrepreneurs, investors and car aficionados as well. Again, engagement and website traffic can be analysed to monitor the impact of this kind of marketing outreach.

To begin with, check out the programme’s social media presence and any conversations to make sure there is enough activity to make joining in worthwhile. This can also help you to ascertain whether or not the audience is right for your company.
Consider how you can engage while also linking back to your products or services; try to avoid direct calls to action: ‘@123 I see you’ve been watching #TopGear – why not check out our new range of used cars –’ is a bit aggressive. This overtly sales-y approach can turn others off; people are more likely to engage if you use a more natural, subtle tone so that they feel they are interacting with a real person.

Here are some tips and ideas to get you started:

  • First and foremost, make sure your own social media platform is ready and prepared with all the information viewers need to quickly understand who you are and what your business does. Describe this clearly and succinctly and include a link to your website. You could also include the names of those who tweet from the account to give it a more human presence, for example: ‘Entrepreneur Bootcamp provides expert coaching, business planning workshops and funding routes for start-ups. Tweets from @John_Smith and @Debbie_Jones.’
  • You can engage in conversation using the relevant hashtag, adding your own website to the end of each tweet, e.g. ‘@123 I know! Those Dragons can be harsh, can’t they? #DragonsDen’ or ‘Glad to see @dragonjones lending his support! #DragonsDen www.’
  • For a more direct approach, you might offer the programme’s viewers a discount on your products and services for a limited time (but remember to keep the tone light rather than sales-y!) e.g. ‘We love Dragon’s Den so to celebrate the final we’re offering 10% off an initial coaching session using code DragonsDen! #DragonsDen’
  • As with any campaign, the important thing is to agree your objectives and plan your strategy in advance, with a clear view of what you want to achieve for your business. Like Villa Plus, You can measure the success of your second screen engagement as you go using web and digital analytics tools. This will help you see what approaches are working best and the campaign’s overall impact on your web traffic and online interactions and adjust the campaign as needed.

Remember to have fun with it and to experiment, measuring different approaches as you go, to find out what works best for your business.

*Statistics source: