TVs. Tablets. Smartphones. Ultrabooks. Laptops. Convertible laptops that can turn into tablets and vice versa. People view a lot of screens throughout the day, and according to a series of studies conducted by Time Warner Medialab, they rarely just focus on one of them. The research revealed that 60% of people who have a smartphone, TV and computer are multitasking, and adults under the age of 30 are switching devices almost every other minute. This creates a new challenge for advertisers as it becomes more important to find a way to engage users across these various devices.

“I see pharma, and any firm in the business of providing healthcare information, solutions and support, taking advantage of the multi-screen trend via integrated 1) multi-content and 2) multi-channel (multi-screen) strategy, planning and execution,” says Craig DeLarge, Global Leader, Multichannel Marketing Strategy & Innovation at Merck.

According to DeLarge, multi-content respects a customer’s increasing adoption of aliterate (video, infographics, audio) content forms in addition to literate, in long and short forms to fit browsing (passive) and searching (active) contexts. Meanwhile, multi-channel respects a customer’s fragmenting channel habits that make the aforementioned multi-content available in every different use context healthcare is managed.

“Brought together, multi-content and multi-channel strategies make for multi-screen strategies,” adds DeLarge, “which result in user experiences that fit throughout the customer’s multi-screen day.”

One of the ways that advertisers can now combine multi-content and multi-channel strategies is through second-screen apps. Second-screen apps allow a person to enhance the viewing experience of one device (most commonly their TVs) by using a second device (such as a tablet or smartphone). For instance, people who use Twitter to follow along with other people’s reactions during a television show. Or IntoNow, which uses SoundPrint recognition technology to analyze television audio and match it to audio “fingerprints” in its database to provide additional info about what you are watching.

“While most in the TV advertising industry view this trend as a giant threat, [we] think this is a great opportunity,” explains Alvir Navin, Co-Founder and VP Client Services at Samba TV. This software developer for TVs, smartphones, tablets and more aims to create a more personal television experience by learning what you like and connecting you with more content that you may enjoy. “Consumers will soon be able to sync their ‘second screen’ with broadcast television, to provide instant access to interactive TV features and special offers directly from brands. This type of technology allows marketers to finally implement a 1-to-1 conversation with TV viewers for the first time.”

Time Warner Medialab’s series of studies also looked into the effect of second-screen apps and found that 48% of viewers were highly engaged with a TV ad when that ad extended to a branded second-screen app. Meanwhile, only 34% of viewers were highly engaged when the ad was just on the TV.

“Multi-screen viewership presents a huge opportunity to harvest more value out of the $70 billion invested in TV ads, and the five hours a day we spend watching TV,” adds Navin. “According to the Mobile Advertising Survey [from Hipcricket], 64% of smartphone users make a mobile purchase after seeing a mobile ad, but nearly 74% of those users haven’t received mobile ads from their favorite brands. The opportunity is wide open, and now is the time to be experimenting and learning how to execute it in this new world of television.”

With a wide-open opportunity ripe for the taking, these five tips from marketers, second-screen app developers and digital experts explain the best way pharma marketers can take advantage of this trend.

1. Extend the Content

Pharma marketers are well aware of how little time they have to cram a bunch of information into a 30-second TV spot. A second-screen app provides marketers with a solution for turning “a 30-second ad buy into minutes of engagement,” according to Peter Szabo, VP Ad Sales at Shazam, manufacturer of the popular app that can identify music, TV shows and ads based on audio and then provide more details.

“The 30-second advertising format is limiting in so many ways,” explains Szabo. “While it gives people a snapshot look at a product, it can’t truly educate them about it. The second screen format gives nearly every vertical—including pharma—the opportunity to take an interested consumer directly to the content that interests them—not just to the company’s website, but directly to the product. The experience can be anything from an educational video that provides more information to mobile-optimized sites of clinical studies.”

When creating an interactive ad campaign with a second-screen app, Szabo suggests that pharma marketers consider the app they are planning on partnering with and ask themselves the following questions:

  • Does the app have scale to reach as many consumers as possible?
  • Does the app provide a flexible solution that supports your goals?
  • Does the app provide metrics to measure success?
  • Does the app have a proven record from other campaigns?

“The most successful campaigns,” says Szabo, “are the ones in which the creative team works closely with the second screen from as early as possible to create a compelling experience for the consumer.”

2. Consider Your Audience

Dr. Andreas Schroeter, Co-founder & COO at wywy, a second-screen service provider, cautions pharma marketers that dedicated second-screen apps only serve a “niche” audience, as most of the viewers that currently use them are loyal fans of a particular TV show and influencers among their peer group. If this is the route you want to go, however, Schroeter suggests that you first determine what TV show fits with your company/product and how you can engage the audience in a funny and informative way. If your company is not ready to go with a dedicated second-screen app, Schroeter recommends a few things that you can do in the meantime to ensure you are still engaging with multi-screen audiences.

1. Mobile-optimized Website: Make sure that your website works on mobile devices so that the second-screen users can immediately get more information. This means either a mobile-specific website or a website with responsive design. Always test, don’t assume it works.

2. The TV Basics: Guide viewers on how to interact with you. Include a website, hashtag or something similar in your TV commercial. If this is not possible, make sure that you are on top of the list when people search for your product/service/company on Google.

3. The Multi-screen Strategy: Combine your TV advertising with an accompanying online ad for a true multi-screen campaign. This approach allows you to go after a “broader” audience than second-screen apps, i.e., by aiming at Twitter users with “Twitter TV ad targeting”.

3. Create More Targeted Campaigns

“Context and timing is everything in the marketing business,” explains Navin. “By retargeting the TV ads over a period time with the second screen, marketers can create cross-platform campaigns that truly improve the awareness of their products and purchase intent.”

Rick Bruner, VP of Research and Analytics at Specific Media, a next generation media platform company that enables brands to seamlessly connect with consumers no matter where they are, explains how technology is now allowing pharma marketers to do this.

According to Bruner, Specific Media’s Householding suite of products enables marketers to target all of the Internet-connected devices connected to one household’s IP address. Additionally, the company’s TV Audience Segments program can target homes according to what programs they watch on TV or ads they are exposed to by a given advertiser or its competitor.

“With these tools, we can create custom ad programs that, for example, could target homes based on those exposed to an ad for a prescription treatment and follow that up with a 60-second video ad—as we see that the household tablet is surfing sports or business content—complemented with subsequent ads directed to the PC offering long-form rich media ad creative,” explains Bruner. “By optimizing the sequence and media formats of the ads according to the advertiser’s goals—and what we see drives the most post-exposure interest from the users—we can deliver an omni-screen campaign that balances brand and information objectives that best suit the pharmaceutical advertiser’s unique needs.”

Meanwhile, Szabo mentions that Shazam recently launched the Shazam Engagement Rate metric to provide brands with a way to measure the “when and where” people are engaging with the brand’s commercials. According to Szabo, this new metric breaks down the time, channels, programs, etc.; where the commercial is airing; how many people are watching that ad (using Nielsen data); and, most importantly, how many people are engaged with that ad. This understanding gives companies insight to better plan and execute their marketing strategy.

4. Go Beyond the Pill

DeLarge envisions a day when his doctor prescribes, not a pill, but a new module as part of his current healthcare maintenance regimen. For example, a pharma company can develop a module for osteoarthritis that will take advantage of a patient’s health and genetic records, apps, sensors and community support to educate, assist and hold the patient accountable to do what is in the best interest of his or her health. The multiple screens that people now tend to use, (phone, tablet, laptop, big-screen TV, and soon enough, watch and glasses) will be the prime interfaces for delivering this scenario.

“Pharma currently has much of the information and therapies that can enhance this screen-mediated scenario,” explains DeLarge. “Our job is to figure out how to get more of that information integrated into the screen experiences that support outcomes.”

5. Think Beyond Just TVs

The most common use for second-screen apps is paring them in some way with your TV. However, while Kurt Mueller, Chief Digital & Science Officer at Roska Healthcare Advertising, agrees that “there are a ton of cool things pharma marketers can do through the audio fingerprinting technology underlying these capabilities,” he doesn’t think that marketers just have to limit themselves to people watching TV at home.

“Second-screen experiences integrate what’s happening on a screen—wherever it’s located—with a person’s smartphone or tablet,” says Mueller. “The key word here is ‘wherever.’ Think of all the places that people see screens these days; at conferences, in waiting rooms, in drug and grocery stores, and in airport and train stations, just to name a few.”

One example from Muller: Imagine that a patient in a waiting room sees a news item on the health network. She can then use her smartphone to engage in a more immersive experience and interact with additional premium content including video segments and more detailed information, and even download a doctor discussion guide—before she ever enters the exam room. Or consider a physician at a conference who enters the brand’s exhibit on the floor and experiences a whole new MOA video—one in which he can watch the MOA on the screen in the exhibit, while also viewing key clinical trial data and interactive polls on his smartphone that are timed to be presented at the most relevant time, based on the audio fingerprint of the video file. Mueller suggests adding another layer of activity by enabling users to share the video and resources with peers.

Mueller adds that “screens” are moving beyond video to live events as companies such as Gracenote are beginning to push the technology to recognize “cheers” and “boos” of crowds at live events. This allows brands to create second-screen experiences that are integrated into the real world we see through our eyes, and not just a video screen.

When actually deciding whether to create a second-screen experience, Mueller suggests first making sure that your target audience is using a mobile device, and second, confirming that they actually want to engage in this type of experience. And, of course, it is always a good idea to bring your med/legal team in early and make them a part of the process so things can move a little more smoothly. Mueller’s final piece of advice: Deliver value.

“The biggest mistake marketers make is doing little more than creating a link to the brand site,” he explains. “The companies that integrate a truly valuable experience that assists patients with compliance, lifestyle content, and tools and resources that integrate therapy into their everyday life, are the ones that will win in the new age of marketing.”


You May Also Like

Topin & Associates Turns Thirty

How do you commemorate 30 years in business? As you can see here, you ...

The State of Health Media in 2021—10 Facts You Need to Know

We recently pulled and analyzed all media transactions on PulsePoint—the largest programmatic health platform—to ...

Why Do We Track?

Over the last decade or so, the emphasis in marketing has been placed on ...