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Is This the New Look of Tune-In Advertising?

It’s nothing new that consumers are attached to their phones, especially while watching television. With this in mind, the idea that mobile devices could drive TV tune-in seems to fit in quite well.

The question, of course, is how to cut through? Based on one recent example for BBC America’s “Thursday Night Darts,” the answer may be an intelligent mix of playful gaming and calendar push.

BBC America recently worked with mobile rich media ad creative company PadSquad to try and crack the code on how to push users from the phone to the TV. The results? An engagement rate 1,650% greater than industry benchmarks and VCR 100% greater than benchmarks, too. As PadSquad CEO & Founder Daniel Meehan explained to TV[R]EV’s Alan Wolk in Forbes recently:

“It’s been really validating to see the results. Because not only did we achieve their goals of driving tune-in and getting people to add the show to their calendars, we also, I’d liked to believe, help give some personality to the show, helped make it something people really wanted to see.”

The tune-in campaign also yielded audience data that helped better inform BBC America on future targets. While general sports fans were seen as a minor target going in, they ended up being the biggest driver in terms of adding the show to their calendars and watching more video, according to Meehan.

These sorts of insights fit right in with what’s happening to tune-in everywhere, as data makes these types of ads far more effective. AdExchanger’s Rae Paoletta recently wrote about how data and streaming services are working together effectively on tune-in amidst a changing and growing content environment. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and invest less in producing a single show than their linear cohorts. That means more “NEW” content without the pre-existing fan bases. That element makes tune-in critical while also standing out against a never-before-seen volume of competition.

With every content creator large and small looking for advantages with regard to earning eyeballs, seeing results like PadSquad’s with the BBC America campaign should get them at least thinking about mobile rich media. Avoiding intrusive formats and static banners, these sorts of mobile ads are inviting, memorable and engaging for fans. In the case of “Thursday Night Darts,” it provided personality (as Meehan points out) for the program. That, plus some creativity around playing a quick and fun game of darts, can be all it takes to turn an ad view into an audience member.

As even more streaming services are added to the fray for 2019 (Amazon, Apple, DC Entertainment, Disney, Walmart, and WarnerMedia, to name a few), chances are you’ll be seeing more of that approach in the drive for some quick viewership totals.