- AMC Networks will soon offer technology that helps marketers determine how well their TV commercials lead to sales. Inaudible sounds from the TV trigger viewers' smartphones to send customized offers like coupons, digital currency, rewards points, website links, movie trailers or other promotions, according to Adweek. Viewers will need to download the Mobii app that runs in the background to pick up the audio signals.
- The technology, developed by ad-tech company ACTV8me, aims to incentivize viewers to watch ads on live and delayed shows while giving brands new ways to connect with viewers by linking TV with mobile. Brands can use the tech to track purchase intent starting from an initial ad impression, to when the viewer saves an offer to their mobile wallet and through to when the viewer redeems that offer and makes a transaction in-store or online.
- AMC Networks is selling the tech in its upfront sales presentation to advertisers and will soft-launch the feature sometime this year.
The ubiquity of smartphones means that many viewers engage with at least two screens simultaneously, watching shows while also looking at social media, communicating via a chat app or surfing the mobile web. AMC Networks' partnership with ACTV8me seeks to engage smartphone users and give them an incentive to pay closer attention to the commercials instead of focusing their attention elsewhere or simply skipping past them.
At the same time, the tech gives marketers a stronger way to track engagement from when a viewer first sees an ad on TV all the way through to purchase. Historically, these murky measurements have been a major challenge for TV marketers — so much so that many are fleeing traditional TV altogether for digital alternatives like video-streaming platforms and YouTube that offer better attribution analytics and greater insights into how ads translate to actual sales.
The biggest challenge this tech brings for AMC is how to successfully urge smartphone users to download an additional app whose sole purpose is to monitor their TV viewing and push more advertising onto their phones. Adam Gaynor, vice president of AMCN Agility, told Adweek that the education period is important to compel viewers to download the app. The network plans to frame the feature as a value add for viewers in that the tech provides an easy way for them to discover, unlock and download money-saving offers onto their mobile device.
Meanwhile, while TV networks fret over the distraction of smartphones, viewers are actually more likely to follow up on a TV ad when using a phone or tablet at the same time, a MediaCom and ViewersLogic study found. "Second screening," or watching TV while using a mobile device, improves the viewer's chances of following up on an ad by 75%, significantly improving its effectiveness, though not necessarily guaranteeing a completed sale. People who saw ads while second screening were observed as being more brand aware, with a difference of 12 percentage points between those who were second screening during ad exposure and those who weren't, per the study.