A year ago, the sound-recognition app Shazam launched its efforts to recognize television content during Super Bowl XLVI. For this year’s Super Bowl, the company hopes to push farther into so-called “second screen” marketing with a new spate of interactive ads.
“85 million people have Shazam on their phones. What if they could use it to get more information about the ad or the show itself? You might want more information, you might want the nearest store location, or you might even want to buy the product on the spot,” explained David Jones, Shazam’s executive vice president of marketing.
A spot during the Super Bowl costs more than $3.5 million, and marketers want to get their money’s worth. By making their ads recognizable by Shazam, which users activate with a simple tap, the marketers can also dive into the trendy new field of second-screen marketing.
Researchers know that many Americans futz with their smart phones or tablets while they watch TV. The mobile devices give marketers and content producers a second screen with which to engage them — and it’s one with a cash register built right in.
How exactly they know what users are watching on TV to sync second-screen content with it is an area of ongoing innovation and experimentation. Shazam lets the user make the connection, by “tag” the program or the Shazam-enabled ad to get the additional content.
An ad that includes this feature will tell users explicitly they can find more information by tagging it.
Since September, Shazam has recognized every show on 160 channels and provided curated second-screen content for each. It has supported 200 television ad campaigns from up to 140 different brands, the company says. For a market leader in a space as potentially lucrative as mainstream advertising, that’s not a whole lot.
“Interactive advertising is early days. We’re at the forefront and demonstrating that it works,” Jones said.
But Shazam only landed on the second screen by coincidence. The company noted that users were using the app to learn which songs were playing in the background of television shows. They realized that their mechanism would let companies link television content with mobile content.
Users can also tag the Super Bowl game itself — and Beyonce’s halftime performance — using Shazam. The app will display additional stats and information, links to download Beyonce’s songs and other curated forms of content. The game information and stats will pause if watchers pause their DVRs to avoid spoilers.