Two screening. Are you doing it yet?

Brits now prefer Facebook to television. It’s official. According to a survey by online technology retailer eXpansys whose chairman is the ‘Tall Dragon’ Peter Jones:

  • 1/3 of those asked now have a smartphone and check social media sites up to 20 times a day on them
  • TV loses out to Facebook amongst the 3,000 people asked as we spend an average of just two hours a day watching TV but two and a half hours looking at social media
  • 3/4 of people watch TV online as well as through a traditional TV set  (see more at

smartphones – the game has now changed

I can believe it and hey! it’s a fun survey, it catches the eye and confirms what the TV industry already knows; that people aren’t chained to the sofa and slave to the schedules dictated by broadcasters any more.

But beyond the headline there’s something really interesting going on for marketers, communicators and the (often unaware) Board.

We’re becoming a society of ‘two screeners’. This is the term coined to describe watching TV (on a TV set) and simultaneously using smartphones to either engage with other people on social media or, more likely, to shop.


Thinkbox, TV’s marketing body say on their website that 52% of people claim to have shopped online whilst watching TV. And that the industry recognises that the magic box is now a Point of Sale medium where people can interact with a smartphone device.

And that’s the real kicker for me – the smartphone has been the game-changer that has enabled social media to leapfrog into pole position.

So, how is ‘Business’ reacting to this awesome opportunity? Well, some TV adverts do have social links and routes for viewers to follow. Mazda has taken a leap of faith with Facebook marketing and have reportedly achieved their objectives for their social media toe-in-the-water . Yorkshire Tea are doing clever things with their USA road trip. There’s some stuff going on, then.

But, please guys and gals in the Board Room – Think Big. Recognise that these ‘two screeners’ are not just a TV audience looking for a Facebook page or a Twitter handle for more clever videos. They’re actually your employees, your suppliers, your competitors, your customers, your retailers – they are a whole audience ready and willing to do stuff, if only you would lead them! And if you won’t lead them, they’ll wander off on their smartphones and find someone who will.

It’s a two-way street and you could engage with them – not just create broadcast campaigns with a ‘social-wash’ to them. Digital agencies and ad agencies deliver brilliant campaigns and programmes. But how do they integrate with the rest of the business? Or are they just the preserve of the marketing department, with input from PR and disconnected from everyone else?

Social media can facilitate cross-business communication that embraces not only the creative talents of marketing and communications but also the specialist insight from all other areas including HR, finance, production, sales, customer care and so on.

Smartphones have changed the world. The ability to communicate anytime, anyplace, anywhere has still not been really understood by the leadership function in many businesses.

The impact these handheld devices are having on employee behaviour, the change to the customer sales journey and the consequences for marketing and communications programmes are barely appreciated beyond the marketing team. I’m willing to bet that it’s still ‘business as usual’ in most companies today and that social media does not even feature on the main Board agenda. Am I right?

But it’s time to change. And surveys like this are simply the signposts that point to the opportunity.

Four steps to make the Social Media Change for the whole business

  1. Understand what’s happening in your business now – a thorough review
  2. Define the objectives that you want to achieve – it’s a business activity
  3. Create the team to lead the programme (it’s not a ‘one person project’) – and empower them
  4. Measure and manage to achieve results – regular and consistent

Anyone ready to be a leader?


About Al Clarke – I am a marketing and communications specialist who has worked in the motor industry at board level since 1997. I have held senior positions in global brands such as Ferrari and the BBC including a decade working as a journalist.I am a member of the Institute of Directors, the Public Relations Consultants Association, an expert member of the digital community Smart Insights and Life President of the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association.I speak regularly in the field of marketing communications to businesses and the media with particular reference to digital media. Find me on Twitter @alclarkeltd and LinkedIn. 

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