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Dual Screen Advertising: Why the Lag in Adoption?

Dual Screen Advertising: Why the Lag in Adoption?

There has been tremendous amount of conversation over the past few years that has focused the "experience" laser beam on dual screen content. In this post, though, the question I'd like to raise is: why hasn't advertising taken advantage of this new paradigm yet? Dual screen apps will become standardized in the next 12 to 24 months, so much so that we will come to expect these experiences as part and parcel of interacting with an app within proximity of a second screen. We already use AirPlay to stream content from our iOS devices to these screens and mirror game play, but to date, advertising has not caught up with this secondary screen.

So, how long will it take for advertising technology to adapt and embrace this experience?

Typically, we have seen advertising progress at a step or two behind the experience. When video first came online, linear pre-roll took a few years to take hold, but now is so commonplace that we can barely remember the days when most online video didn't have pre-rolls. Before there were pre-rolls, publishers and ad networks spent a lot of cycles developing ways to push cost-per-click (CPC) text ads into lower-third units. Pre-rolls then took hold and CPC ads on branded sites all but disappeared. The concept of in-page expandable display units then cleverly "jumped" into the stream and now we have IAB standards such as VPAID to handle interactive ad units inside the video window.

But where does that leave dual screen apps? I expect a number of ad technology companies to expand upon IAB standards in the coming year to embrace this experience and provide advertisers and brands cutting edge concepts such as:

  • Preroll on the "second screen," geo/demo targeted companion offerings on tablets
  • Interactive quizzes during linear programming on the "second screen," with live crowd-based results on the tablet
  • Instantaneous cohort-based surveys on the tablet to gauge brand-lift/ad effectiveness during pre-roll playback on the "second screen"
  • "Guess the ending" ads where consumers guess the ending to ads such as the "Mini Darth Vadar/ Passat Ad" 
  • Dual screen implementation of VivaKi's Ad Selector unit, where the selection happens on the tablet/device and the linear ad plays on the second screen 

And of course, these ad units will command premium cost per impression--or CPM--for publishers that can adopt them and will probably be implemented by customized extensions to the VAST format.

Will they become the bread and butter for publishers? Most likely not. Will they help publishers stand out on a site list when pitching agencies and brands for ad dollars? Most certainly.