Would you like a screen with that?

Here’s my secret for the day: I love reality TV. Not all reality TV. You won’t catch me watching toddlers prancing around in prom dresses, and I wouldn’t know a Real Housewife if she had a name tag on. But there’s a whole other set of reality TV shows that I’m fascinated by. Anyone hunting for a house? I’m in. Anyone looking to demolish their kitchen? I’m there (without a sledgehammer). Anyone married to 4 women at the same time? I’m fascinated (and asking the question, why why why would anyone do that?!)…and I’ve tuned in. Here’s my other secret for the day: I hardly ever watch these shows on TV. I hesitantly bought an iPad last year, not sure what I would do with it, and now, I’m not sure what I would do without it. Sure, I play Fruit Ninja and Words with Friends, just like the rest of the world. And I Skype with my sister in Africa. But I find that mostly, I use it to read email and watch videos. Or, to be more specific, to watch perfectly fine landscapes get turned into delightfully awful mini Disneylands. It turns out, I’m not alone. Well, I might be when it comes to being obsessed with home makeover TV shows, but I’m certainly not alone when it comes to using tablets for TV watching. In early June, comScore released a study that found that tablet users were 3x more likely to watch video on their device than smartphone users were on theirs. That makes a lot of sense to me – the tablet may be bigger and harder to fit in your pocket, but the screen is more conducive to watching video than many smartphones. The “tabletizing” of our daily lives is changing how we interact with media. Those of us who were multitaskers before are finding ourselves pushed to the multitasking limit now. One Nielsen study recently found that
  • 65% of consumers used their tablet to check email while watching TV
  • 50% visited a social networking site
  • 45% looked up information about the TV show they were watching.
Having access to this “second screen” (or, if you have a smartphone too, a “third screen”) allows us to multi-multi-multitask, interacting with multiple forms of media at once – watching one thing, searching for another, reading yet another. This presents an exciting challenge to a marketer: how do you grab people’s attention when it’s split among not one but two or even three screens? Start by understanding your customer’s behavior before moving into developing a creative, attention-getting campaign. People search on tablets differently than on PCs, and at different times of day. Because of the proliferation of apps, how consumers use the web on a tablet is different than on a PC. Mobile ad units have the potential to generate a higher click through rate on tablets than on smartphones, but timing, creative, and strategy are key – just putting a banner on the hottest mobile device is no guarantee. Knowing where your customers are, what they’re doing, and what you want them to do – both on- and off-tablet – are all critical to a successful campaign.