Pundits have been saying for years that traditional media is dying. Is it true? Michael Guay, senior community manager at Deloitte Digital in Seattle, talks about how second screens are creating new opportunities for traditional media and advertising.


It’s easy to jump to conclusions sometimes, especially when the trends seem clear. It’s also natural to want to tell the story that is the most beneficial to the case we’re trying to make. Many will say, “traditional media is dead,” or “traditional media is dying,” but that’s not entirely true.

What is true is that spending in traditional media is declining in share as digital media continues to demand a larger portion of a company’s media spend. But traditional media isn’t going away. Ad inventory for Super Bowl XLVIII sold out at the beginning of December 2013 with your usual players continuing to gobble up airtime, but the advertisements don’t stop at 30 seconds anymore. Thanks to the rise of second screen viewership, marketers are now tasked with extending their marketing plans across new and traditional media.

Your customers are still watching television, and the ones that watch it with a second screen are more engaged than those who don’t—26 percent more engaged according to Ad Week—especially when they’re watching live events and episode premieres. But that engagement shifts away from the television during commercials. Syncing your ad with the second screen keeps the viewer engaged. Users who are served an ad simultaneously across two screens are actively engaged with the ad 48 percent of the time (Ad Week).

Social has become the call-to-action for many traditional advertisements—hashtags appear in print and on television, company websites are being replaced by Facebook pages in ads, and that’s just the beginning.

It’s estimated that 20 percent of current ad campaigns have a multiscreen component,according to MediaPost. And they should—just think about how you watch TV now. How often do you reach for your phone, tablet, or laptop? If you’re like most people, it’s quite a few times: According to the latest Nielsen data, 75 percent of TV viewers are engaged with a second screen at least once a month.

Social media is one of the main activities taking place on second screens. Users under 30 will switch platforms 27 times in an hour (Ad Week), which gives brands 27 opportunities to connect with them on their second screen. One example of how to effectively deliver an ad to that second screen is Twitter’s recently launched TV Ad Targeting, which automatically detects programs during which your brand ran an advertisement and serving promoted tweets to users talking about those programs.

Creating a second screen experience that is complementary to the first screen can help advance your advertising. Apps like Zeebox offer a platform for you to tell a longer form story and invite users to interact with your brand and advertisements in a more meaningful way—and if you don’t want to use an existing app as a platform, you can always create your own.

Brands are creating apps (or enabling functionality in existing apps) that bring an enhanced experience to live events. Is your brand a sponsor of a sporting event, team, or conference? Create your own second screen experience for fans and attendees centered around your brand—and don’t forget social sharing capabilities.

In addition to the deeper engagement and heightened awareness of your brand, you also gain insights through apps and social media that can be used to inform your future advertising and social content.

As brands plans for the coming year (which you’re hopefully well into at this point), consider how new media will impact where you’re capable of reaching your customers in the future. Media is evolving quickly, and you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you’re rolling your media plan over into a new year without considering how new platforms could impact it.

Mike Guay is a senior community manager at Deloitte Digital Seattle’s Pioneer Square studio.