Marketing for the Second Screen: Social Television is a Growing Trend

There is one television show that has recently got me hooked, Shark Tank.  Shark Tank is a reality television series with a panel of investors who evaluate proposals by entrepreneurs to invest in their businesses.  I find myself always sitting with a mobile device in hand while watching.  The reason, I like to see what comments are trending on Twitter and read more about the businesses online.  I am part of a growing number of mobile device owners who watch television with a mobile device in hand.  This growing trend is changing the landscape for marketers.

What is Second Screen?

Individuals watching television are multitasking with a mobile device.  The term Second Screen refers to an additional electronic device (e.g. tablet, smartphone) that allows a television audience to interact with the content they are consuming (source:

Importance for Marketers, Some Statistics:

1.  40% of tablet and smartphone owners use them while watching television (Source: Nielsen Wire)

Like myself, television viewers are now multitasking.  We are not fully engaged with the television shows and/or commercials.

2.  42% visited a social networking site (Source: Nielsen Wire).  

The second screen is a place where people can socialize while watching television by visiting social networking sites.  Social Television is a general term for technology that supports communication and social interaction in either the context of watching television, or related to TV content (Source:

Social media engagement while watching television is on the rise from previous year.  Just look at this year’s Super Bowl and Grammy Awards,  there was a record 12.2 million social media comments during the Super Bowl and the Grammy Awards set a new record of 13 million social media comments – a 2,280% year over year growth form the 2011 Grammy Awards (Source:  This is significant growth that cannot be overlooked by marketers.

There are apps for mobile devices to grow this area.  The Race for the Second Screen App discusses five apps that are shaping social television: Shazam, GetGlue, Miso, IntoNow, Zeebox.

3.  19% looked up product information for an advertisement13% of viewers looked up a coupon or deal related to an advertisement. (Source: Nielsen Wire)

These are important statistic for marketers.  Marketers need to ensure that the message in a commercial is aligned with the company’s website and all social media interactions.  Viewers will go and seek out the company website and look for more information via social media.  If a company makes an offering in a commercial, it better be able to support that offering online.

Two technical points for marketing success in this area is that a website must be mobile friendly and capable of supporting an increase in traffic generated from the advertisement.

A mobile friendly website is also known as a mobile site, defined as a website that has been specifically designed for optimum performance when viewed on a mobile device (Source:

It is important that all businesses recognize that when they are on television in the form of an advertisement there is the potential to increase website traffic, the amount of visitors to a site.  Some sites are not developed to manage a large amount of visitors at once.  As a result, the website crashes and this prime time of engaging with a target audience is lost.  So it is imperative that marketers forecast for the potential site traffic stimulated from the advertisement and ensure that the site can manage the increase of visitors.

Going back to Shark Tank, my biggest frustration is when I go to a website to learn more about the company pitching to the investors on the show and their website is down because it cannot support the traffic generated by the show.

From Passive to Social Television

The Second Screen can create buzz or distraction.  The most important realization is that nobody is watching television in a silo.  The Second Screen has transformed television watching experience from a passive push of content to a social community.  Marketers need to have a strategy that encompasses all the potential touch points with a consumer and delivers a consistent experience.


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