I've always hated the term "second screen." Certainly, as Time's Harry McCracken pointed out, Twitter has won the battle for "the place where people talk about TV." Twitter's dominance during the World Cup and other live sporting events pretty much put that one to bed. But Twitter is not television's second screen, because there is no such thing as a second screen. As my very smart friend Mitch Joel often says, there is only the screen in front of you.
Practically, what that means in terms of Twitter is that when you are watching the big game, or The Walking Dead, or American Idol, the TV captures your attention. But when you move to talk about the show, Twitter is the first screen. It certainly isn't getting secondary attention during those moments.
But consider this: when are those moments? Sometimes, they occur when the whistle stops a play, non-zombie-killing moments, when Harry Connick Jr. is not talking, or other slack periods during a program, but often, they are during the commercials.
One of the implications of this is that Twitter has become a very cost-effective way for anyone to advertise during a TV show. If I am engaging in a conversation on Twitter during a spot break on TV, my eyeballs and my attention are fully glued to the screen in front of me. If you are interested in reaching a certain segment of the population (and Twitter users skew young, well-educated, and have a higher than average household income), you might want to be on the first screen during those moments. And if you are a brand running TV commercials during high-engagement programming, it's probably worth running complementary promoted Tweets at the same time.
So, look for my Super Bowl ad next year. I'm already working on it.
This is just one reason why I'm bullish on Twitter lately. My Marketing Companion co-host Mark Schaefer and I discuss several more on this week's episode of the podcast, along with Mark's new book, 50 Shades of Schaefer (I'm waiting for the movie on that one.) If you haven't listened to the show (or listened lately), this is an excellent place to start. And if you do listen regularly, you have my gratitude.
You can listen by pressing the little play button below, or one of the links at the bottom of this post. DO EEEEET!
Or click here for episode 30 of The Marketing Companion:
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