Get the Most From Your TV-Synced Social Advertising

When Brand Networks pioneered TV-synced social advertising in 2013 with our Open Signals technology, our mission was to help digital advertisers deliver integrated, real-time, multi-touch campaigns combining the first and second screens. Today, that goal remains the same, and with our partnership with TVTY, our commitment becomes even stronger.

TV synced social ads are a thrilling innovation, and well positioned to make a big impact on viewers who are reached by them. But while many in social are selling TV syncing as a magic bullet, unfortunately, it’s not one. It’s important to understand the targeting limitations, as well as the levers today’s best media teams have to overcome them.

Let’s be clear about something: No TV-synced social advertising solution in the market can perfectly target the exact people (and only those people) watching a show or commercial on live television at the same time. This is a fact, resulting from the limited data ad-tech providers have about what humans are doing in their living rooms. It also goes without saying that not everyone watching a given show will be checking their social feeds at the same time.

That said, there are some great techniques available for systematically pushing your social ads to audiences of engaged TV viewers.

Optimizing the Delivery of TV-Synced Social Ad Campaigns

No matter what an advertiser’s business objective is, one goal that always matters when it comes to TV-synced social ad campaigns is reaching as much of the TV-interested audience as possible on the second screen.

To accomplish this, Brand Networks recommends the following best practices to maximize the overlap between TV viewership and second-screen user impressions:

Be Thoughtful about Targeting

Be aware of when and where TV spots are airing, but don’t limit targeting too much. Instead of targeting only a niche subset of viewers watching a specific show, keep your audience segments broad to reach as many users as possible within the small window of time available for your ads to be effective.

Use Accelerated Delivery on Facebook

Most TV-synced ads run on social channels for 5 to 15 minutes, which severely restricts available inventory as campaigns will only reach individuals checking social platforms from their mobile devices during that time frame. When running for a short time frame around a commercial spot, leverage Facebook’s accelerated delivery option to serve social ads at a faster rate. But remember, since Facebook is optimizing for speed rather than attempting to spend evenly and consistently, your budget may be spent before the scheduled campaign end time. While this may run up the cost in some instances, it’s a critical way to improve reach for short-running campaigns.

Use TV Targeting on Twitter

Because Twitter is a go-to destination for public discourse about events unfolding in real-time, TV and Twitter go hand-in-hand. As a result, Twitter has enabled broad targeting that can be easily configured to reach audiences who have demonstrated an interest in specific TV programs. TV targeting on Twitter allows brands to reach TV fans either continuously or during specified new show airings. When paired with an innovative syncing technology like Open Signals, TV targeting on Twitter can help advertisers get the right content in front of these audiences at the right time, and help advertisers build more comprehensive social advertising plans around their TV-synced flights.

Bid Aggressively

Because narrow audience targeting and placement availability mean fewer places for TV-synced ads to go, advertisers are forced to vie aggressively to achieve the best reach and delivery possible in social-ad auctions. To win the limited inventory available, it’s often necessary to increase bids. Keep in mind, if using accelerated delivery, you’re required to use Facebook’s maximum cost bidding. Whatever the case, experiment with bid values to optimize delivery.

Optimizing the Performance of TV-Synced Social Campaigns

TV-synced social should be the star of your campaign if you care about reaching a TV audience. But it shouldn’t attempt to do the job of an entire campaign. To get the most out of your TV-synced campaigns, optimize the way they fit into your overarching social advertising strategy.

To achieve optimal scale, social KPI performance, and business impact, Brand Networks recommends the following best practices:

Support your TV-synced Ads with Strategically Placed Social Ads

Extend the life of your campaign (both before and after your target programming has aired) by leveraging flight sequencing. Flight sequencing involves creating multiple subordinate digital flights, designed to unfold in order throughout a campaign. Sequenced flights can overlap or abut one another. Multiple second-screen initiatives can unfold back-to-back over a series of weeks. Blankets of low-cost brand awareness ads can be layered to create baselines of reach and delivery that run throughout multiple initiatives, including those focused on TV-moment activation on the second screen. And simple campaign structures that preview key moments, coincide with them, and then remind audiences of their impact afterward, can create major breakthroughs in overall reach and performance.

Sync With TV Commercials to Recapture Television Attention

Consumer interaction with second-screen devices and social channels is higher during commercial breaks—71% of people do this vs. 64% who interact during shows—so advertisers seeking to address audiences where their attention is focused can recapture their interest by delivering social ads synced with TV commercials. Additionally, you can divert attention from competitor brands and products by delivering social-ad-based conquesting campaigns, which sync your brand’s social ads with your competitors’ television spots.

Sync with TV Shows to Amplify Product Placement and Activate Corporate Sponsorships

Brands hoping to take in-programming product placement or co-branding efforts to the next level often place product-centric TV ads during commercial breaks in the shows or sporting events they’re already sponsoring. The same can be done to win mindshare among TV viewers by reaching them with second-screen social ads that arrive in sync with in-show product placements or during the commercial breaks of shows that feature those placements. (Take this one step further and sync across social and other placement types like Facebook’s Audience Network to expand reach significantly.)

Personalize the Experience and Test Cross-Screen Storytelling

Reaching audiences with more contextually relevant messages is a surefire way to get noticed. TV syncing focused on either commercials or shows can help you personalize the way you speak to your audiences. This approach works when ad creative speaks a language TV viewers are aware of from their television-watching experiences. Additionally, both types of TV syncing are effective at supporting cross-screen storytelling. Note that this is not the same as simply running your TV ad creative on the second screen. Instead, you need to create content that’s specifically tailored for the ad environment in which it will be placed, and which complements the stories you’re telling on other screens. Treating each channel uniquely as you consider messaging can make a big impact on the overall cross-screen experience.

Since pioneering TV-synced social advertising, Brand Networks has learned a lot about how to find social advertising success on the second screen. With the proper plan in place, digital advertisers can maximize their TV syncing ROI and add a valuable weapon to their advertising arsenal.

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