ITV heralds second screen as the ‘new advertising medium’

ITV is heralding second screen advertising as the “new advertising medium”, rather than just an exploratory platform, following the success of campaigns from advertisers including Asda, Strepsils and Specsavers on the X Factor app last year.

X Factor
ITV says AdSync campaigns on the X Factor ad demonstrate the case for second screen advertising.

The campaigns ran on the AdSync format ITV launched in 2012, which currently allows viewers to engage with brands through games and other interactive formats via the broadcaster’s mobile apps as their TV ads air live. 

During the 10th series of X Factor 18 advertisers in total placed campaigns on the Domino’s-sponsored app using the AdSync format, generating an average 43 per cent engagement rate and 14.3 per cent click-through rate.

“Stand-out creatives” during the season included an Asda campaign (see below) that allowed users to create their own snowman – like the one on its Christmas ad campaign – and share their creations via social media for the chance to win a £500 shop. It achieved engagement rates of 54 per cent and 20 per cent of users clicked through to Asda’s site.

Strepsils used the AdSync format to create a mini-game hosted on the brand’s site for a chance to win X Factor-related prizes. The game achieved the highest ever click-through rate achieved during the series, of 37.7 per cent.

Elsewhere Specsavers used the format to give viewers the chance to find out more about the characters in its TV ad, achieving a click-through rate of 29 per cent.

Jon Block, controller of commercial digital products at ITV, told Marketing Week the upward trajectory of both advertiser uptake and viewer engagement mean second screen advertising is becoming a new advertising medium in its own right.

He added: “It’s a medium where people are swiping and clicking anyway [as they use apps to play along with the programme on air] so when it gets to the ad break they are in a more receptive state.

“It’s also a full screen experience that takes over the whole device, not just a visual media banner in the corner of a web page somewhere, and all the research shows people find it nonintrusive because we limit [advertiser content] to the TV ad break and because they are already playing with the app for 10 minutes before an ad appears they understand the trade-off.”

ITV has “not even scratched the surface yet” of what it could possibly offer marketers using the format, Block said. He envisages creative where 50,000 people could be playing the same advertiser-created game at the same time against each other. 

“I don’t think any other medium has that, these are all things we’ve seen in advertising before, but never seen at that scale and all together,” he added. 

ITV is currently exploring how it can extend the AdSync format beyond apps for its flagship programmes such as X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent to assets such as the World Cup and its response mobile website. 

In 2014 the broadcaster plans to continue its programme of co-hosting “lab sessions” off-site with advertisers and agencies to discuss the future of TV advertising and also showcase the interactive formats it has on offer, Block said. He added that as part of the internal “one ITV” strategy, the broadcaster is looking to get different divisions of the organisation to work with each other more closely – so a sponsorship roadshow, for example, may also include members of the team involved with AdSync or other online ad formats.

In September ITV added a range of new interactive ad formats for its video on demand service ITV Player to the suite of tools it calls Ad Explore. In the last quarter of 2013 alone Block says there have been more than 30 campaigns using Ad Explore formats which highlights the demand for non traditional advertising products.

Asda Ad Sync
Asda ITV AdSync game