Since its introduction in the 1920s and subsequent standardization into everyday American life in the decades since, television has been called everything from “educational” to  “the drug of a nation.”

And with the incredible wave of technological advancement that has featured everything from HDTV to flat-screens to DVR to 3D and more over the past handful of years, television has become an even more prevalent presence in the life of the average American, with a 2012 Nielsen report claiming an average weekly viewership of 34 hours.

Some say that’s a good thing. Others say it’s a bad thing. Some even say it’s a very, very bad thing.

But whatever you think of television, there’s no denying one fact:

If you really want to make a name for your brand and your business, you will produce and air a TV advertisement – or “spot,” as the Cool Kids and Industry Titans have long been calling televised ads.

That was true in 1984, when innovative L.A. advertising agency Chiat/Day teamed with a then-fledgling and little-known computer company called Apple to air the captivating, Ridley Scott-directed, 60-second spot entitled “1984” during Super Bowl XVIII. That infamous ad aired just that one time on national television, and was far more compelling and intriguing than the game, a 38-9 blowout of the Washington Redskins by the then-Los Angeles Raiders.

And it remains true in 2013, when Super Bowl ads now reach 110 million sets of eyeballs and still generate massive amounts of coverage and chatter – even if they tend to be less creative, intelligent or memorable as in years past – and the Raiders, back in Oakland once again, seem about as far away from another Super Bowl appearance, yet alone blowout win, as Carrot Top is from an Oscar nomination.

But what many may not know about television is that the word derives its etymology, or roots, from a mixed Latin and Greek origin, with the Greek word “tele,” meaning “far,” merging with the Latin “visio,” meaning sight.

And while television may literally mean “far sight,” and the viability of the medium to advertisers still undeniably powerful, it is also nothing short of “short-sighted” for any TV advertisers to neglect advertising in non-traditional, digital mediums such as SEO, PPC and social media.

To those of us in the business of digital marketing and advertising, especially those of us who have been at it for awhile, that may seem like common knowledge. For those who need a little more “selling” on just why a brand should accompany its pricey TV buy with digital advertising executions, here’s some statistical analysis to put in your online shopping cart:

A recent study by the NPD Group, entitled “Digital Video Outlook Second Screens Report,” showed that using another device while watching TV has become a widespread activity for many American consumers. This kind of behavior obviously has the potential to distract viewers, but it also provides them with the opportunity for enhanced engagement with the content they’re watching.

The data obtained by the NPD Group from its survey of close to 3,500 viewers shows just what types of related activities are most popular among so-called “second-screeners,” and among the most common is “shopping for a product seen in an ad” – to the tune of 19.4% of TV watchers who engage in second-screen activities.

That’s a pretty high percentage, and it was behind only “learning about an actor/actress,” at 29.8%, and “learning about the show/movie,” at 23.1%.

The researchers also noted that shopping for products is most prevalent among laptop users and consumers in the 35-49 age group, and that “converting viewers into impulse shoppers has big potential for advertisers.”

Also of note here is that not too far behind that top tier of second-screener activities lies “discussing a show on a social networking site,” with 14.8% reporting such activity. A recent neuroscience study from MEC and Australia’s Channel Seven discovered that interacting with social media while watching TV sparked a 9% increase in program engagement among study participants, and second-screen interaction aided recall of specific elements of the broadcast. Call it a 2013 version of a TV social.

The NPD Group study also showed that 87% of U.S. entertainment consumers report using at least one second-screen device while watching TV. The most commonly used devices are desktops and laptops (60%), followed by smartphones (55%) and tablets (49%).

In keeping up with these major  behavioral and social – and social media – shifts in consumer psychology and behavior, more and more major advertisers are using their TV time to push digital initiatives, particularly social media.

And to pay those efforts off, more and more brands are also upping their activity and responsiveness within the realm of social media itself.

A recent study from social analytics startup Socialbakers found that on average, U.S. brands now respond to 51% of consumers’ social queries – a figure that is more than double the 22% response rate reported last June.

Another report on brands who are using social media to target today’s elusive and versatile consumers was released by global consulting firm Vivaldi Partners in March. Subway, Google (go figure) and Target topped that list of brands using social media most effectively.

And yet another report, this one a global ad growth projection by Publicis’ ZenithOptimedia unit, predicted overall spending by U.S. advertisers will expand 4% in 2014 and 5% in 2015. The fastest-growing medium in those projections, by a wide margin, was digital, with ZenithOptimedia projecting global internet ad spending to expand 14% annually through 2015.

Head of Forecasting Jonathan Barnard wrote in the report that, “Display is the fastest-growing subcategory, with 20% annual growth, thanks partly to the rapid rise of online video and social media advertising, each of which are growing at about 30% a year…Advertisers are now recognizing the value of social media for brand building and purchase consideration purposes.”

(That same forecast, by the way, also called for a 13% rate of annual growth through 2015 in advertisers’ paid-search budgets.)

It’s pretty clear that in 2013, it pays to be social. Even if you’re already starring on the small screen. Of course, in any endeavor, some people do a better job than others. That truism has always applied to television advertising, with all-out efforts like “1984” standing in stark contrast to, say, your average local car dealership commercial. And it certainly applies to digital advertising efforts in today’s fragmented and congested consumer landscape.

The good folks at Social Media Today have a nice rundown of some successful, smart “cross-platform hashtag marketing campaigns,” illuminating six different advertising campaigns that wisely and creatively utilized the Twitter-centric “hashtag” (aka “#”) phenomenon that remains a force in the ever-evolving, often-wild world of social media. Several of these campaigns utilized not only Twitter, but the fast-rising social media site Instagram, including those run by Nike and Ben & Jerry’s.

When you’re ready to boost your business’ presence in the digital advertising realm, drop us a line here at Amplitude Digital. We’d love to help you play a starring role on the other small screens. And second screens. And help you refine your social graces.

And in the meantime, you can download either of our handy, helpful and FREE eBooks on how to use social media in general and Twitter in particular to grow your business and brand. And feel free to peruse the many other excellent offerings on digital marketing and advertising here at our official Amplitude Digital blog.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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