Article

Andreas Schroeter
Andreas Schroeter 9 April 2015

What Is TV Syncing Anyway?

Media multi-tasking has radically transformed TV viewing habits in recent years. So what’s it all about?

The phenomenon of media multi-tasking– derived from a growing dependence on mobile devices– has radically transformed TV viewing habits in recent years.



When consumers gather around a television at home, it is now with one eye on the TV and the other on a second screen.

Last year, three in five British adults owned smartphones (61%) and almost half owned a tablet (44%). With mobile device ownership continuing to rise, the average user in the UK reached for their handsets nine times a day at the end of 2013 – nearly twice as often as the beginning of the year.

A quarter of distracted British audiences are using mobiles to interact with the TV programme they are watching, including discussing the programme on social media (known as media meshing). Whilst almost half of viewers are carrying out online activities completely unrelated to the TV programme they are watching (known as media stacking).

Connected devices are here to stay, so how can marketers exploit user reliance to engage TV audiences and boost ROI on TV ad spend?

The Answer: TV Syncing
TV syncing takes advantage of second screen dependence by incorporating the interactivity of mobile devices with the power of TV advertising. Within seconds of an ad being aired on TV, it can be simultaneously served to the viewer’s second screen, making the most of the optimum 90-second window of opportunity for capturing audience attention.

So How Does It Work?
TV syncing technology uses a television-monitoring network together with the linear television signal to detect when an advert is aired. This real-time ad detection then prompts the online ad exchange to launch the inventory bidding process. All bids run through a probabilistic model that identifies viewers who have been watching that particular TV ad, and then serves them the corresponding digital ad onto their second screen.

The Benefits
The benefits for marketers utilising TV syncing technology are considerable. TV syncing allows advertisers to recapture distracted audiences through a second screen, boosting visibility as the brand message is seen directly on the very device distracting the consumer from the television screen. Brands can now include links within synced ads that direct the viewer straight to the correct landing page on the brand’s site, featuring the products advertised in the commercial. This invites immediate one-click brand engagement and encourages conversions.

TV syncing also enables brands to better evaluate the impact a TV commercial can have on website KPIs. Real-time tracking allows the advertiser to accurately measure the uplift in website traffic as a direct result of a TV ad being aired. This data can then be used to evaluate how effective an advert has been and which channel, day and time, result in the most conversions or web traffic uplift.

TV syncing technology allows marketers to take advantage of the rise of the second screen and to reengage TV audiences distracted during TV commercials. It offers a direct and easy route to conversion via a synced website homepage which displays the advertised product clearly, as well as providing brands with accurate real-time data conveying the impact of a particular TV advertising campaign. With brands such as Nissan and L’Oreal already exploiting the media multi-tasking phenomenon of TV syncing, it won’t be long until synced ads become the norm.

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