Consumers in the Middle East today are increasingly using multiple screens and devices while consuming media. With the boom in high speed access and the popularity of both tablet and mobile, people today aren’t just watching tv. It’s a combination of lean back (tv) and lean forward (tablet, mobile, laptop) in the living rooms of our region.

Multi screen marketing isn’t new. But it’s developing into a huge, synergistic platform where not only the message across what you watch on tv syncs with what’s on your website, it does so at the same time, and with planned, timed and well-executed intent. We’ve always put an URL at the end of the tv spot, but now we’re beginning to put in a Facebook address, and more often a Twitter hashtag. The twitter hashtag is to encourage immediate participation in sharing, in dialog, in comment fishing and more. In the UK, almost 70% of brands reviewed in a survey encouraged multi-device participation. And here in the MENA region,we are seeing the beginnings of it. Twitter themselves commented in January 2013 Twitter and advertising report which stated, “simply adding hashtags on air – or in ads – helps organise and steer the conversation.

The Twitter report goes on to say, “in advertising, we’re seeing that deeper integration of Twitter not only drives discovery and engagement but also drives increases in brand recall scores and other marketing goals.” Twitter’s increasing popularity and acceptance as a “code-sharing” medium with TV is linked to the open field nature of the microblog. It’s so in the now and the instant. I watch a tv program, or a spot, and instantly am able to share my viewpoint using a hashtag (#) – and it’s there for anyone to see. It’s a bit more open than the Facebook walled garden where only my ‘friends’ can see what or react to my opinion. Red Bull in the UK did this very successfully with their #GivesYouWings campaign.

What’s even more interesting is that in a multi-device, multi-screen scenario in the living room, consumers tend not to get up and walk out during a commercial break. They stay engaged and busy, and connected. This works particularly well in “native” or “content marketing” campaigns that tend to want to engage the viewer in every possible way.

Just adding a #Brandname at the end of your spot is not the way to go. The #whatever should be about the campaign, about the call to action, and about what you want the target audience to do. Using a slogan like Red Bull did in #GivesYouWings is the way to go. And multi-device or multi-screen marketing is not just for brands and products. This year’s SuperBowl viewers generated 24.1M posts. During power outage, nearly 231,500 posts were generated per second, making it one of the most talked about moments during the game. The Grammys generated just over 14M tweets  (the equivalent of 67K per minute) during the broadcast.

TV as we know it, is quickly evolving and becoming a larger experience. With multiscreen video, sharing, tweeting, in-the-instance interacting tv is becoming infinitely richer, increasingly interactive and delivering deeper levels of engagement.

At MCN (Middle East Communications Network) both our creative agencies (FP7, Lowe MENA, Promoseven 360, Momentum, MRM) and our media agencies (UM, Initiative, Magna) are aware of this trend are are beginning to create and drive content across multiple screens and devices.