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Smart TV Apps and Your Digital Marketing Strategy

The digital age has created an environment where consumers have become accustomed to sophisticated and expensive marketing campaigns. Small to medium sized companies may feel intimidated by these initiatives, believing that they could never compete with well-funded campaigns. However the digital age has brought with it tools that can traverse even the biggest of marketing budgets. Now small and medium-sized companies have a better chance to compete with, and even dominate, large companies if they invest in strong digital strategies.

Some popular digital initiatives that have been successful for many businesses are mobile apps, email and texting campaigns, and OOH advertising (out-of-home advertising). Smart TV is another tool that companies can add to their digital marketing strategies. Smart TV is often overlooked by businesses who associate the word “TV” with expensive,or by businesses who see the word “smart” as intimidating or complicated. In reality, integrating smart TV into your digital marketing strategy may be cheaper and simpler than ever before.

What is Smart TV

A smart TV looks similar to types of televisions like plasmas or LCDs, but they have a high level of intelligence built into them. Similar to a low-fi computer, smart TVs have a lot to offer their owners like: customizable smart TV apps, Twitter, Hulu, AccuWeather, and Pandora. There is an entertainment shift occurring in the homes of America. Over the last 10 years, people have been turning to their computers as a place to watch content instead of watching television itself. Now first movers are wanting to share their viewing experience with others, thus consumers began to create their own technologies to get the content from the computer screen to the television screen – enter the Smart TV. Gone are the days where people watch television passively. Consumers want to interact with their television and content just like they interact with their smartphones.

Smart TV Apps

Samsung_SmartTvSmart TV apps may represent the next threat to traditional television network. Previously apps were only something that people downloaded for their smartphones. Now the smart TV revolution gives consumers the power to choose their own unique television experience. But televisions will not be the only factors affecting smart TV app usage. Consumer adoption of related technology and equipment to enhance their television experience like game consoles, Apple TV, and Roku can actually change regular televisions into versions of smart TVs. Currently around 20% of U.S. homes have their televisions connected to one or more of these technologies. This means that companies interested in integrating smart TV into their digital marketing campaigns must consider which technologies they want to partner with along with the terms and conditions.

Digital strategists must also consider that the smart TV app market is still not as streamlined or structured as even the smartphone app ecosystem. Currently, the smart TV app market is spread across a half-dozen platforms. If companies are interested in creating a digital marketing campaign for smart TVs, they can look at logical industry leaders. Apple and Google are two of the most notable agencies that have the ability to forge ahead in this arena. Samsung and Microsoft also have the digital video and advertising capabilities to make an impact on this niche. Some television manufacturers like Phillips, Sharp, and B&O offer structures that give companies a platform on which to market and sell their apps. New apps are placed in the App gallery where consumers can find it. Companies can also buy banner ads that will be visible on customer homescreens.

Smart TV Advertising

According to a recent survey conducted by YuMe, more than 50% of TV viewers use their smart TV apps to surf the net and view free online content. Of these viewers, half are using their televisions to view paid subscriptions. Another Nielson rating survey notes that consumers seem to respond more positively to full-package ads, as opposed to banners and pre-rolls that are often found on the internet. One reason that consumers respond well to full package ads and not pre-rolls and banners, is that these ads are geared towards their interests. Unlike ads that come on regular television, smart TV ads are often based on the owner’s internet searches. As a result, advertisements are tailored to consumer tastes.

Companies seeking to integrate smart TV into their digital marketing strategy can capitalize off of the nature of internet advertising. An analysis of customer search history will give companies a better idea of what is relevant to potential customers. Although it is cheaper to invest in banners and pre-rolls, surveys suggest, once consumer information is acquired, companies should invest in creating full-package ads. Companies can not only take advantage of customizable ads on smart TVs, they can also take advantage of the cross-channel marketing capabilities available. Many smart TV viewers watch programming on other platforms like their smartphones and laptops. This means that your business’ ads will follow consumers across all of their platforms, increasing the likelihood that they will purchase your merchandise.

How to Decipher Viewer Usage

Soon most televisions will be able to access the internet. This presents a variety of challenges to businesses who want to capitalize off of smart TV apps. Some of these challenges include: legal navigation, partnerships, technological innovation, ad formats, and economic models. But how can your company measure the digital information to learn about what potential customers need? Can information on smart TVs be tracked and measured the exact same way as the internet?

Since viewers are using smart TVs similarly to their desktops or laptops, some digital marketing groups would assume that they can just transfer their internet marketing strategy to smart TV. However there are a few major differences between the two technologies that make this strategy ineffective. Unlike laptops and desktops, smart TVs come equipped with a remote control. It gives consumers certain abilities which marketing departments must also track. How is the consumer using the “OK” button? Which buttons do they favor – buttons with colors or with arrows? Marketing departments must figure out how to use consumer remote control behaviors to their advantage in order to fully realize the potential of smart TV marketing.

In addition to how consumers use remote controls, digital marketing teams must also consider other dimensions. For example, smart TV brands that targeted consumers are purchasing. Does the consumer that you are targeting favor a particular manufacturer like Samsung or Toshiba? If so, contracting exclusively with these brands may be more beneficial to long term success. Other things to consider are screen resolution, year of manufacture, and even the type of internet connection that consumers are using. Even though there are more variables to consider, marketing departments won’t have to start from scratch. Since consumers are still browsing the internet on their televisions, web browsing essentials like landing pages, calls-to-action, ad banners, and search queries, pageviews, click through, and traffic sources still matter.

The digital era has created a wealth of opportunities for small to medium sized businesses to develop smart TV apps and use them to reach consumers. The challenge that these companies face is that the current market is fragmented and there are more variables to consider, like manufacturers and remote control usage that will affect digital app strategy. Still it is advantageous to consider this avenue for the long term success of your business.

Contact us for a free consultation and we would be glad to answer any questions and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.