The perception that "broadcast TV is dead" seems to be gaining momentum. The reality however, is that television is entering a new Golden Age. And digital media is the most valuable player. Why? Multiscreen engagement heightens the viewing experience. People are leaning forward on their couch while watching TV and simultaneously tapping social media.
If we look to last week's Super Bowl as an example, there were over 2.4 million social media engagements about the Philadelphia Eagles, 1.1 million engagements about the New England Patriots and 1.2 million social media engagements about Justin Timberlake on the evening of the game alone.
Whether it's major sporting events like this or the Winter Games, Hollywood celebrations like the BAFTAs or Oscars, or even news of a royal engagement, digital platforms have become the de facto place for the world to react. And social has provided a place for conversation to continue around the big screen.
Digital creates a "surround sound" TV experience
In the past, TV ads, or even branded integrations in programming, were a one-off one-sided experience. Now, digital and social platforms add value by amplifying the TV experience. They make TV truly clickable.
Take this year's Super Bowl Bud Light campaign. The brand delivered one of the its largest-ever digital campaigns through Snapchat with three types of Snap Ads, including a Snapchat game, and two different types of Snapchat filters. During the game, animated filters of "Dilly Dilly" signs and clinking Bud Light bottles were published before post-match geotargeted filters based on the winning and losing cities allowed further celebration and commiserations online.
Other advertisers picked up on this and applied best practices from digital advertising to their own ad spots. Netflix employed direct response tactics by promoting "The Cloverfield Paradox" and making it available for viewing immediately after the game. Kraft took engagement to a whole new level, relying on "real families" to participate in its real-time, 30-second Super Bowl spot. To garner participants for the event, Kraft supported its bold campaign with social, digital and broadcast buys.
TV-like experiences improve digital
The TV and digital combination is a two-way street. Online platforms are increasingly focused on video content, and digital content producers and strategists are taking their cues from what has worked on TV. This trend was perhaps never more on display than during the Super Bowl. Sponsored second-screen viewing opportunities like Facebook's Watch Party, Snapchat's behind-the-scenes looks at players and fans on the field, and Skittles' unique approach to its 2018 Super Bowl ad, all took a page from the TV playbook to deliver engaging TV-like content.
Interestingly 2018 will see Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter hit the industry with a double whammy. They will continue to produce new original content as well as gain rights to license premium content and live broadcast sports. Look for these changes to further mimic and improve upon the multiscreen experience.
Of course, the major TV players are not merely sitting on the sideline. BBC in the UK and NBCU in the US have aggressively pushed into the online domain to enable streaming for the Winter Games. NBCU is even creating bespoke programming for Snapchat with daily highlights and interviews. Broadcasters are also leveraging digital metrics to prove the value of linear TV such as the 46,000% lift in social T-Mobile saw from its Super Bowl spot.
One team, one dream
Ultimately the takeaway for UK businesses from the Super Bowl is this: the most successful campaigns make it hard to determine where the consumer experience stops and starts across screens. Don't look at strategies and budgets with a channel-specific lens. Take a step back and instead focus on your audience.
From a range of ages, genders, political backgrounds, and personal interests, major events like the Super Bowl and Winter Games are relevant to different audiences in different ways. UK businesses need to be able to enhance cross-screen experiences for each segment – something that can only be achieved by truly understanding audiences no matter where and how they're engaging. More importantly, understand that TV is far from dead and grows only more powerful in a Golden Age of multiscreen engagement.