E-commerce Link: The Second Screen

Demystifying the second screen and a few considerations when designing these experiences

By now, many of you have heard about second screen experiences and even may have considered them to connect with your consumers in new ways. There are a variety of definitions for second screens; although for the sake of this column, I will define a second screen as any companion device that acts alongside a primary device.

Many think a second screen is always a smartphone and a television, but I would argue that with the increase in mobile adoption and the growing number of total devices per person, second screens can apply to any combination of digital devices, including TVs, computers, smartphones and tablet devices. In fact, most recently, I had a conversation about building a second screen experience on a tablet device while projecting a PowerPoint presentation.

Opportunities for Second Screens
The concept of using second screens isn’t new, but recently changing technology habits have increased multi-tasking tendencies, creating new opportunities. According to Nielsen’s “The U.S. Digital Consumer Report,” Americans now own an average of four digital devices and spend an average of 60 hours a week consuming content on their devices. The report goes on to say that 84 percent of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices as second screens while watching TV.

Because of this, the opportunity to build deeper secondary experiences has grown, increasing the potential of longer lasting and more engaging brand messaging. As advertisers, this is the basic goal of any project. The potential to captivate an audience beyond its initial engagement with a primary screen is limitless, and I am convinced that advertisers will further explore this space in the coming years. Some have even gone as far as using billboards to push users to secondary experiences.

In order of frequency, Nielsen ranked the most popular second screen activities during TV usage as surfing the Web, shopping, checking sports scores, looking up secondary information (actors, plotlines, etc.) and emailing/texting friends regarding a program. These activities can be dialed-up, transforming a passive activity to interactive or social, thus lengthening the period of influence.

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  • Lollipop

    I really enjoyed the article. Very informative and collegial. Well done! Look forward to seeing more of your thoughtful writing.