While many of you were watching the big game, our Couch Consultants were hard at work…Ok, this isn’t exactly true, but armed with some CTV Advertising sponsored buffalo Wings and pizza ,we did give our couch consultants the task to provide insight into the second screen, social TV and at some further point, connected TV advertising from their respective watching locales.

It was a simple setup, where we had the couch consultants, answer questionaires and create direct observation reports on numerous second screen advertising initiatives prior to, in the middle of and after the Super-bowl. A total of ten couch consultants were used and spread across differing demographics.  We’ll be distilling further information to our clients in these regards, but here are some interesting highlights.

Let me first preface as well. My firm has a strong focus on Connected TV, but we also do quite a lot within the multiscreen space and view the television ecosystem holistically. I am incredibly confident with the direction of 2nd screen synced ad spots, but believe there is a lot of work to be done and a lot of improvements that need to be made. I am quite sure that some enthusiastic results will come from this years 2nd screen experiments, but these need to be taken into consideration with full perspective of various conflicting factors and an eye on future research that needs to be conducted. The following examples highlight some of the areas that may need improvement. In the next article, I will provide some thoughts and perspective on the below, and how it relates to differing devices and methodologies.

1.  Second Screen Synced Ad spots can be socially disruptive:

Six out of ten of our couch consultants (All independent of one another) made this claim in differing ways. It appeared that most watched the super bowl with a group and the need to focus on “tagging” a commercial for say an App like Shazam, waiting for the content to be recognized and further interacting with it, caused an inability to actually focus on the people around them. This means that they lost certain abilities/potential to socialize in-person with their group around them. Whether this socialization focused on an Ad or external items.

We quoted one C.C.  “My friends were pretty angry that I sat there head down rather than talking to them about the Ads or anything else, I missed most of the conversations and felt pretty antisocial.”

2. Certain second screen spots may* cause lower engagement with the first screen television spot:

Having to actually focus on interacting with the advertisement on either a mobile or tablet meant that our C.Cs had little time to actually watch an Ad spot on the big screen. This was commented on by four out of ten couch consultants. When trying to engage  deeper with an ad spot, focusing on the second screen and the calls to action needed to do so, meant less focus on the actual advertisement.There are a lot of potential ramifications to think about here which we’ll eventually delve into further in future posts.

“I’d watch bits and pieces of the Ad, but most of the time I was playing with my Ipad.I interacted, but couldn’t tell much about the  Ad on TV. I barely watched a lot of the Ads.”

3. Device problems and fragmentation created advertising issues.

Seven out of ten of our consultants found issues with the actual process of the second screen experience.  Several claimed  issues with the recognition of content, claiming loud conversations and a seat not right next to the television created functional/operational problems with their second screen.

Another issue across the board was  second screen app fragmentation  across differing apps and Ad spots. Many claimed not knowing which Ads could be interacted with and which couldn’t, and where to find those that could meant that they had issues knowing when they could and couldn’t interact with Ad spots.

“Some I could play with, some I couldn’t. By the end I gave up as it was just  a hassle. I tried showing my friends what I was up to and often they just looked at me in confusion when it didn’t work or nothing displayed. ”

4. Programming related Companion Content was well received:

Our couch consultants across the board found that companion programming content on their second screen Apps was useful. The ability to interact in a longer  manner with content delivered over a synced second screen when available, proved an interesting and useful utility. Many enjoyed having access to features that were tailored to the program itself and the elements that surrounded the game.

” Loved being able to get game stats in one easy location while I was interacting with other game  and advertising content.”

5. Incentives went a long way for our couch consultants to create engagement.

Eight of out ten couch consultants were happy to further interact with spots that offered them something back.  The sweeping approval of incentives crossed the border of the differing incentives offered. These reward based initiatives seemed to create higher engagement across the board.

“I entered a sweepstakes and helped donate to causes by certain commercials. This excited me and led me onwards, but most of the Ads that didn’t have anything for me to gain  didn’t make me want to follow them any further. They’re just Ads.”

We have plenty of more insights, some we’ll be distilling publicly and some more directed towards clients. We feel there is an unbelievable amount of power held within the second screen. That said we are also just as convinced as we have been that many areas can be greatly served by initiatives found within the first screen, especially a connected primary screen.  I’ll be signing out now to continue going over our initial reports, (as well as nursing my pizza hangover) but expect some further thoughts coming soon.

Author: Zachary Weiner is the owner of CTV Advertising– A boutique Connected TV Marketing firm as well as the North American President of the Connected TV Marketing Association.  @itvadvertising  @CTVMA