Today, consumers don’t have to keep tuning in when their favorite television programs break for commercials. An increasing number of television watchers turn to a second screen when they want a break from the TV, with more than half of second-screeners preferring a computer or a smartphone when they look away from the tube. Men and women of all ages are known to use second screens, but the vast majority come from households with children under the age of 18. The activities consumers choose when they turn their attention to second screens vary, but the most common pursuits include email, web surfing, texting, and shopping.
The reasons behind using a second screen are just as variable. Most turn away from the television and focus on a second screen because they feel compelled to multitask. They want to enjoy the television program, but they don’t want to ignore incoming emails or an online auction bid. Some use their second screens just to pass the time during commercial breaks, while others pull out the second screen when the television program fails to hold their interest. Television programs can also go the other way – they interest viewers so much that people feel inspired to use their 4G LTE capable smartphones like the Galaxy S5 to research characters, plot points, and other elements of the show while they watch.
Advertisers recognize the second screen trend and hope to capitalize on it through synchronized advertisements and push notifications that engage audiences when they aren’t watching television. When viewers turn to their second screens, TV advertisement awareness drops by nearly 60 percent. Ad synchronization, on the other hand, can increase click-through rates (CTR) on digital ads by a similar margin, though they must provide engaging, actionable content to hold viewer interest. Keep reading to learn more about how second screens impact consumers, advertisers, and technology usage.