Dual-screen entertainment and what it means for the future

Now that all of the mundane reviews of Super Bowl commercials have been published, let’s get to the good marketing-based data that was generated on February 5, 2012. Did you wonder what Google was doing during the Super Bowl? Aside from serving up ads and fielding a few billion search queries they turned their attention to three words.  Mobile, Madonna and Manning. Madonna and Manning were in the top search queries and an increasingly large percentage of online searches were made via mobile device.

We are experiencing the changes that mobile devices have made in our daily lives over the past decade. The multi-function phone is a lifeline and we’re using it to supplement work and play activities on a regular basis. Surveys indicate that being able to update others and get real-time information on the pocket-sized device is becoming more popular across all age groups. Now, brands want a piece of your undivided attention on that hand held computer and they’re going to creative lengths to get it.

Take the Super Bowl as an example. If you watched it, chances are there was a mound of food, endless beverages and friends (new or old) to share both with. So, why then did we all have our phones or tablets out before, during and after the game?

  • To distract us from the sights and smells of the BBQ clad little smokies?
    • Only if you’re still tied to a new year’s resolution.
  • To impress our friends with the latest technology or downloaded application.
    • Quite possibly.
  • To enhance the experience of the biggest event in February?
    • Well, that’s what the digital marketers were telling their VP’s anyway.

Sure, the New York Giants won by slight margin, but the brands that pushed U.S. consumers into a new marketing arena won by a landslide. The digital marketers made a big splash and rolled out specific apps and websites, specific for those tuned into the game, that were interactive and in real-time. Chevy’s Game Time app, the clear winner at my Super Bowl shenanigans, facilitated contact with five additional national brands and kept us engaged throughout the four-hour commercial.

The Dual-Screen Experience Sets Precedent

In the days after the game, marketers and analysts went to shifting through Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube (and a few more tech driven apps) data to make predictions about how the Super Bowl will be watched in 2013.  Joel Ewanick, global chief marketing officer at General Motors in Detroit, reported that the Game Time app was downloaded more than 725,000 times and garnered 12 to 13 million page views. (perspective: Angry Birds reports 500 million downloads across all platforms)

The attention was focused on how football, commercial and half time entertainment fans would be using their devices. An industry report estimated that 60% would use their mobile devices while watching the game. Uses are still being tallied. Scrolling through tweets, re-watching commercial spots or getting in on the only “act-now” offer by Best Buy top the list so far.

Google’s data shows that a majority of game watchers were also multi-tasking mobile users. Google’s official blog stated that 41% of searches related to Super Bowl ads were made from a mobile device.  Other studies, pre and post game point to the same result. Harris Interactive’s study suggested that 47% of viewers age 18 and older expected to check their device up to 10 times during the game. Google’s timeline of search traffic indicated that commercial breaks were slightly more active than game-time.

Searchenginewatch.com indicated that digital analysts expected an increase in use over the 2011 championship game but users surpassed expectations with 30 million YouTube views before the kick-off. Most of the traffic went to pre-released commercials and brands that skipped the 30-second ad spot and took advantage of the search traffic created by the brands that did.

According to users, Madonna was the MVP and game stats weren’t as important as the halftime show.  Twitter users seconded that emotion and put up 10,245 tweets-per-second about the show during the half. The end of the game though took over Twitter’s universe by storm. In the last moments, users posted an astounding 12,233 tweets-per-second which is still only good for second place. This is 8,000 plus increase over last year’s game, which topped out at 4,064 tweets-per-second.

I think it is safe to say that we’ll be experiencing more entertainment using two screens. Those enjoying broadcast television will use one screen to watch what everyone’s watching. The other will be a personalized ‘dashboard’ of information relating to what’s on the tube or interactive experience likely sponsored by a brand.

Live event marketing planners will adapt to engage users on their mobile devices as well. Expect a combination of text-to-win, text-to-vote and broadcast tweets to enhance the experience.

Did you multi-task during the big game? And no, we’re not referring to balancing the plastic plate full of snacks while re-enacting a great play or commercial. Leave a comment and let us know if you watched the polar bears, downloaded an app specifically for the game or kept up on a twitterfall.


Stephanie’s data usage on her phone is also on track to break records this month. Congratulate her on this achievement with a tweet, @boldstephanie.

Posted on February 21, 2012 in News, Social Media

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