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How Second Screens Are Changing Holiday Programming

No question about it: the emergence and growth of ‘second screen’ engagement (i.e. consumer interaction from phones, tablets, and laptops) has changed the holiday landscape for good. While in past years marketers may have lamented second screens as a user distraction from brand messaging, now businesses have shifted their approach to increase holiday shopping and brand loyalty. How? Why, by revitalizing their social media engagement, of course!

Because second screens are commonly used to access social media while watching TV, programming teams and media moguls are using holiday-related entertainment to attract and keep consumer attention during one of the most profitable seasons for retailers. Studies have shown that social media activity increases dramatically around the holidays—even if the holiday in question is more than a month away. So for the December/January celebrations, marketers can now benefit from a month-long real-time window into what drives fan engagement.

So how does this impact audiences and marketing professionals? Let’s start with the audiences. Second screens are now changing the way holiday material is packaged, giving viewers an all-new, interactive viewing experience. For example, ABC Family is now combining its traditional “25 Days of Christmas” programming with a second screen blitz. For viewers, this initiative includes games, trivia, and exclusive content through a mobile phone and Facebook app—not to mention fan giveaways on Twitter. Even movie theaters are getting in on this ‘total package’ ideal. Earlier this season Disney re-released The Nightmare Before Christmas into theaters, pairing it with a live app designed for tablets that encouraged audiences to simultaneously engage with both screens.

Now on to marketers, where the future of engagement may be an even prettier present under the tree. While marketing professionals used to have to compete for avenues that promised consumer attention (some in a not-so-holiday fashion), social media channels have now created an opportunity well for real-time marketing. The competition is still there, sure, but the chance to engage fans in real-time means that brands can also gauge consumer reactions—and sometimes direct revenue opportunities—in real-time too. This is much more comforting than the days of hoping a branded TV commercial actually gets seen by the right people.

But what this means for all of us, is a new holiday marketing experience that is interactive, focused on engagement, and always has the fans in mind. And if you think about it, the holiday season compliments this mindset perfectly, since it’s all about excitement and positivity. So the next time you’re watching It’s a Wonderful Life while Tweeting about ZuZu’s petals, don’t think about the juxtaposition. Just raise a glass of holiday cheer to the savvy brands that worked so hard for you to have this holiday moment.

Topics:
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Activation & Engagement
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