Yes, People Really Second Screen When Watching TV
23 February 2016 • tvsquared

Note: This blog is by our CTO, Kevin O’Reilly – MC

A client asked me the other day: “Do people really second screen when there is interesting content on TV?” Yes, they do. And what better way to prove it than by looking at the Super Bowl, which, I’d argue, is fairly engaging content.

First, consider the image below, which consists of U.S. searches through Google Trends during the past 30 days. These are some of the biggest digital brands in the world and, on their own, show some interesting trends, but in this case, they are only here for comparison.


Now, let’s take a look at Google Trends for this past Super Bowl Sunday. You’ll see that peak traffic (which was halftime, by the way) was at nearly 20 times the Google search traffic for the same time period. This is jaw dropping. Even though the massive surge in traffic for the Broncos through the third and fourth quarters pales a bit, this data, right here, shows second-screen activity driven by the Super Bowl.


The peaks are during kick-off, the half-time show, the last half of the fourth quarter (when it looks like the Broncos are going to win) and the final minute of the game.

So what were people doing on their second screens at this time? Why weren’t they completely focused on the game? The reality is that this is the new way of watching TV. It’s active-participation watching. When people are interested, they immediately engage with a brand.

Consider what happened when Coldplay came on stage – content clearly drives engagement!


One passing comment before I leave you: The little blip in red above is Amazon Echo getting a mere 60 percent of the same traffic that Google generated in the same period (a bit more than 10 minutes). In other words, Amazon Echo killed it.


The proof is there – people second screen when watching TV. As a TV advertiser, in the words of Dame Helen Mirren, “don’t be a pillock!” (I’ve been dying to use that phrase). You need to measure and optimize your TV ad campaigns to reflect today’s actively participating viewers.