People are sick of ads; even the most clever and engaging campaigns seem to outstay their welcome (I’m looking at you Flo.) Broadcasters need a new strategy, and as I have said before, the answer is gamification. The time has come for broadcasters to adapt or fade into obscurity as the advertising norm rapidly transforms into an interactive experience.
The Importance of the Second Screen
To today’s consumer, the term “second screen” may not mean much, but it has already begun to change the way they interact, watch TV, and even react to advertisements.
Here’s an experiment; next time you’re watching television with your friends, take notice of how many times they check their phone. It’s a lot isn’t it? Chances are they are looking up an extra tidbit about that show or tweeting their reaction to a particularly engaging moment. The emergence of the second screen has lead to a major shift in how television is viewed. Consumers eyes are no longer glued to just one screen, some overzealous consumers may even be looking at 3 screens simultaneously.
If Broadcasters are smart, and most of them are, they will know that instead of battling the Internet for the consumers attention they can capitalize on the multi-screen viewing experience by ensuring it is their products and programming that people are interacting with on their devices. This is where gamification comes into play. According to Business Insider, during the first quarter of 2013, 46 percent of U.S. smartphone owners and 40 percent of tablet owners claimed that they used their second screen devices while watching TV almost every day. This is up 7 percent from 2012, when only 39 percent of smartphone and tablet owners reported doing so. This is a golden opportunity for broadcasters to reach their audiences, even when they aren’t looking directly at their TV screens.
Why Does Gamification Work?
The beauty of gamification is that if done successfully, the consumer doesn’t feel like they are being marketed to. People are naturally inclined to avoid ads, but at the same time most of the population is driven to participate in competition-based activities.
Games are addictive, ask anyone who downloaded Flappy Bird. In a culture known for it’s impressively short attention spans, it seems that gameplay is the only thing that can keep people completely engaged (full disclosure: I have spent several hours on Flappy Bird and I have a high score 130.) When playing games, users go through a series of emotions, from excitement to frustration, and then finally elation, when they achieve victory. Broadcasters need to harness these emotions, and design a game based application that will cause the users to associate those strong feelings with their product. This would lead to a loyal and committed consumer.
The Challenges Gamification Faces
There’s no question that multi-platform marketing is now the most commonly used and successful strategy for keeping the attention of an audience, but there are still issues that need to be addressed. First and foremost, one must never forget that as a whole people are naturally resistant to change. The true challenge is getting them to adapt without making them think too much about the changes they are making to their viewing habits.
This is why gamification is essential, it creates an incentive that overrides any potential consumer apprehension. An understanding of game mechanics is imperative. It is not enough to add a point system or throw someone a badge for logging into a certain location. The broadcaster needs to understand what drives people to want to continue playing. For example, Insticator.com offers you real world prizes in exchange for points you gain on the application; the potential to win an iPad acts as fairly potent incentive.
Gamified content is the future of television, and if they haven’t already, it’s time for broadcasters to get interactive if they want to stay relevant in the 21st century.