As advertisers consider second screen alternatives, one familiar technology is joining the fray—universal remote apps that allow users to change channels using their smartphones and tablets.
The Peel universal remove app, for example, is now putting more emphasis on advertising and data. “We now have over 115 million users who have actually utilized the app to control another device,” said James Ryan, head of marketing at Peel, with about one third of those users located in the U.S. “That gives us large enough of a user base on a monthly basis to move the needle for brand advertisers and for the TV promotional market.”
A number of advertisers have already placed ads in the skin around the user interface. But the app’s ability to change channels also makes it an ideal platform for promoting shows, Ryan said. Users can either click on a banner ad and be immediately taken to the show or they can tap on the ad to get a tune-in reminder or set-up a DVR recording.
Ryan said about 15 networks have tried out the offering, including the History Channel. For The World Wars miniseries, History used the app’s “Peel-in” banners and notifications to drive one-click tune-in. The promotional campaign produced about 25,000 tune-ins and racked up an impressive 11.9% average click-through rate.
“Peel allowed us to more easily and effectively drive viewers to our programming,” said Samantha Maltin, senior VP of consumer market at History Channel. “The Peel-In advertising platform put The World Wars in front of an engaged audience that is either watching or searching for this genre of programming. It allowed us to cut through the noise and measure the impact on viewership .”
With its growing audience, the Peel remote app platform also provides a potentially valuable database. Ryan noted that their viewer data, which is not personally identifiable, could be used by advertisers and agencies to improve the way campaigns are targeted. Alternatively, networks could use the data to help better promote their shows or analyze schedule changes. “We did an analysis last fall that could predict how successful a show would be based on how many remained tuned in after 15 minutes,” Ryan said.