The Second Screen“Second screen, sometimes also referred to as‘companion device’ (or ‘companion apps’), is a termthat refers to an additional electronic device (E.g.tablet, smartphone) that allows a television audience tointeract with the content they are consuming, such asTV shows, movies, music, …” wikipedia
ObjectiveToday, 2nd screen services are designed mostly to gainviewers, spreading the buzz around the show bygenerating engagement primarily via social media.Tomorrow you will want to monetize your 2ndScreen service in a scalable way.Here we outline our experience and key findings.
The webThe free web is paid for mostly by Ads.$32 billion were spent on Ads in 2012. The wholead-supported internet ecosystem contributes $530billion to the US economy.
The “ad” wayUse Advertising to monetize yourSecond Screen service.The time is ripe.
ScaleFor an ad-supported business you need scale:1. Users2. Impressions3. Clicks
UsersA lot of people (>80%) use a second devicewhile watching TV . The users are there!
The loopYou probably have experienced this yourself.While watching TV you might read your emails, check yourFacebook and Twitter updates or scroll through the newsfor a few minutes to half an hour.Then you get bored.Before you know it you find yourself checking your inboxagain, desperately waiting for something to arrive.
1.5 hours to fillHere is the opportunity:Although the user is “distracted” for half an hour orso, s/he is still watching TV.The user holds the smartphone/tablet for the entirelength of the show and is continually looking forsomething to do. 1.5 hours are waiting to be filled by you!
Impressions1.5 hours is a lot of time.But, a lot of time translates intoa lot of potential impressions. There is room for a strong business model
The mathlet’s keep it simple: 100,000 Users generating 1 impression/user/minute for 1 hour= 6 Million impressions/hour= $60,000/hour if you sell ads at $10 CPM Your target
Your numbersMaybe you have more users.Maybe your show will run longer than an hour.Maybe you will not put Ads everywhere.Multiply or divide accordingly.You should still be able to get quite animpressive figure (per hour).
First set of challenges1. Gain users2. Entertain users long enough3. Avoid spamming4. Generate impressions5. Generate clicks
Gaining UsersGaining users to the service is fairly easy, just promotethe 2nd screen service on TV (consistently).Our experience shows that, on average, you can expect1% of your audience to download your 2nd screen appfor every time you (properly) promote it on TV.
Entertain users long enoughYou need to use your second screen service and offersomething less boring than checking an empty inboxor a news feed for 1.5 hours!You can do it!
RelaxDon’t forget the user is usually in a relaxed statein front of the TV.That said, the user is not totally passive.You have the opportunity to provide an engagingalternative to Facebook and email updates.The goal is to satisfy the user’s desire forcontent without overwhelming and properlyguiding the user to generate clicks.
Generate impressionsYou know you have the user’s attention if s/he iswatching your show and has downloaded your app.You’re in the perfect position to…Send the user something!(it’s that easy)
Generate ClicksWhy is this important?The more the user perceives clicking as a natural andrelaxing part of the experience, the more s/he willengage with ads too!
Serve AdsShamelessly serve ads but blend them in theservice and in the app user experience.
The idea is simple, but achieving satisfactory resultsrequires a few extra steps.
Second set of challenges1. Reach as many users as possible2. Generate 1 impression/user/minute3. Achieve strong CTR
Reaching usersTo reach as many users as possible, you need to broadcastyour 2nd screen signal on your: Mobile / tablet app HTML5 web app Facebook wall Twitter account Web siteIt’s not important where your users are,it only matters how many you can reach.
1 impression/user/minuteGenerating such a rate is quite demanding especiallybecause you don’t want to spam your users but…It’s totally doable.There are multiple ways to do this, but we’ll focus onthe one we found most effective.
Less is moreWhen we push content within the 2nd Screen App, wetypically link them to two sub contents.All content should be bite-sized and easy to consume.Delivering content every 3 minutes (20 pieces of content /hour + 40 pieces of sub-content) generates an averagesustained rate of 1 impression/user/minute.To note: Content is usually contextual with the show butthis is not a strict requirement.
Sample User Experience Impression 1 Impression 2 Content Sub-Content 1 Icon 1 Sub-Content 2 Back Icon 2 Back Impression 3 Pushed in real time on the 2nd Screen
CTRAchieving a strong click-through-rate (CTR) is possibleprovided that:1. Users are trained to engage with content2. Ads do not disrupt the user experience3. Ads do not compete with content
Engaging with contentThe User Experience suggested earlier has beendesigned and tested to lead users to click (touch) thesecond screen app often, with minimal distractionswhile keeping the user focused (mostly) on the show.Our experience shows that you can achieve a 60% -80% CTR on the pushed content.
Blending AdsMobile (in-app) CTR is typically very low (< 1%).The main reason being:Clicking an Ad completely disrupts the user experience.Our suggestion is to implement Ads in the same format andflow in which you serve content. The user should be ableto engage with Ads and go back to the content fluidly.If the users trust you enough to not disrupt their organicexperience and they feel that they are in control, they willnaturally engage with the ads.
Ad not competing with contentNo app can exploit this better thana 2nd Screen app.As anticipated, you have a lot of time to fill.Pushing content with proper timing will help youleverage the relaxed-mood of the user to serve Ads thatthe user wants to interact with.
What you can achieveOur experience shows that it’s possible toachieve an above average Ad CTR (>10%).
The good newsProducing content to keep the user engaged isless complex/expensive than you might think.
More good newsThere is a long tail.Our tests demonstrate that, after a show is aired, thecontent produced for the 2nd Screen can accompanythe on-demand version to generate as much CTR(revenue) as the live/first-airing.
ReferencesWe tested this approach on the 2nd screen service for aprime-time show.The 2 hour show ran for 5 episodes with each generating anaverage of 2 million TV viewers.The goal was to create a 2nd screen experience that wouldbe 100% paid for by Ads.The service yielded a 75% margin on the 2nd screenproduction costs.Some of the technologies used are patent pending.
Going furtherBeside what we presented here, there are additionalelements you should consider: Ad model (sponsorship, CPM, CPC, …) Content and Services to serve Production organization Single screen experience (what if the viewers watch the video on the same device) Inventory size
Thank youFeel free to contact me for suggestions,comments or questions.Giampiero ReccoX2TV, Beeweeb Groupg.email@example.com