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Meerkatting: A By-Product Of Second-Screeing

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Our attention is often divided. While carrying out any activity, our mobile phones or tablets are never far away. In fact, we allow our phones to demand the majority of our attention, with the average person checking it 9 times per hour! [1].

With an ever-growing reliance on technology, our attention is divided between multiple screens, often working from more than one at any given time. This is becoming increasingly apparent, with the rise in “second-screening” across the nation [2]. This raises the question of how marketers can rise above this distracted environment and design a campaign that captivates the consumers’ attention.

One method for this is “Meerkatting”, where a campaign has the ability to make a person sit up and pay attention despite the additional noise demanding their attention. Although this is not so simple to achieve, as it requires creativity and a deep understanding of what will actually attract your consumers.

Recently, I got a puppy. Every time ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is on TV he ‘Meerkats’ and gravitates towards the TV. What is your Big Bang Theory? What gets your attention? What gets the attention of your consumers? These are important questions to consider when designing a campaign.

Virgin Media were able to use Meerkatting in their interactive web-adverts. Featuring David Tennant, he captures the attention of the audience, then proceeds to tell the message of the campaign. Encouraging consumers to connect with the brand, these adverts had the sole intention of building curiosity and engagement with the brand, across multiple-channels.

ITV’s ‘X Factor’ and the BBC’s ‘The Voice UK’ have both participated in Meerkatting through their interaction on social media platforms such as Twitter. Hashtags advertised on TV or online while acts perform give audiences the opportunity to interact further and gauge public opinions. The new X Factor App even allows viewers to watch performances again, submit up to five free votes, check out what’s happening backstage and much more making it easy for viewers to tailor their Saturday night experience to suit them.

Meerkatting is already happening whether it's the ironing or something else - brands need not fear about splitting people's attention and taking them away from the first screen.
Dan Biddle, head of TV partnerships for Twitter UK said “It's not split attention, it's double attention. We have data that shows that people who are tweeting are far more engaged with the messages that come out of that TV show."

Using the Meerkatting technique, brands should seek to attain (and retain) the attention of the audience, particularly in today’s culture with a heavy reliance on technology and mobile phones. Appreciating this situation and the difficulty of maintaining interest, marketers should be innovative in their approach to integrating campaigns across different technologies, such as computers, mobiles, tablets, TV’s etc. and taking advantage of the trend of second-screening.


1. Daily Mail:

2. Techradar:

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