Big brands are in the middle of an advertising spending spree that will run through a big chunk of the $70 billion spent each year on TV advertising in the US.

Starting with the Grammy Awards and continuing with the Super Bowl, the Winter Olympics, and the Oscars, the start of 2014 has been very busy—and very expensive—for brands looking for prime-time television exposure.

But in the marketing departments of companies across the nation, brands are now spending months strategizing the social component of television ads. Companies are seeking ways to harness the social buzz around must-see television by tying together television ads and social strategy.

The brands that do it right are regaining some of the audience they have lost during the rise of DVRs, streaming video, and the proliferation of choices through cable television. In 1979, you could reach 91% of the live, primetime viewing audience through ads on the three big networks—NBC, ABC, and CBS.

Today, that audience is scattered across multiple media and many channels. Brands have to be more strategic to win back that audience.

The Power of the Second Screen

Recent statistics show that social media and second-screen experiences are a powerful way to supercharge a television advertisement.

A 2013 Ericsson study (PDF) demonstrates the need for brands to spread advertising campaigns across the mobile and online platforms of a multitasking audience. Most TV viewers today juggle multiple screens while watching television.

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image of Kevin Bobowski

Kevin Bobowski is interim chief marketing officer at Act-On Software, a marketing automation provider.

LinkedIn: Kevin Bobowski