Social media and TV: An opportunity for brands from @brandwatch

By: Joel Windels, Lead Community ManagerBrandwatch 

Recently, the hot topic in the social world has been social media and TV. And for good reason; this year, social media activity during the Super Bowl was reportedly 3 times higher than in 2012 and, in February, Twitter bought TV analytics company BlueFin Labs, demonstrating that they are serious about TV and how it ties in with Twitter.

Dual screening – that is, using a smartphone, tablet or laptop whilst watching television – is now commonplace. According to Nielsen, in Q3 2011, 68% of tablet users and 63% of smartphone users said they use their mobile device several times a week or more whilst watching TV.

Twitter has found that during peak TV shows, almost 40% of tweets are related to TV, and that 60% of users have tweeted while watching TV at some time or another.

We at Brandwatch recently decided to take a look at those tweets to understand why people are using dual screens, how common it really is and which TV shows are taking advantage of the trend. We analysed  tweets about 50 top UK and US TV shows over the course of 2012 and found that viewers were 12 times more likely to tweet about TV shows during days when it was on air, compared to days when it was not broadcast.

Dual screening clearly presents an opportunity for both TV production companies and brands to engage with viewers on a deeper level than ever before. However, whilst some shows are gradually beginning to understand the potential of dual screening when it comes to advertising and engagement with audiences, many are still missing out on opportunities to capitalise on the trend. We found that less than half of the shows we looked at (43%) included an official hashtag on screen during broadcast, and that almost half (48%) seldom engaged with fans on Twitter.

Some shows are getting involved; The Voice, The Great British Bake Off and The Biggest Loser were particularly good at engaging with audiences during viewing, through the use of official hashtags and engagement with fans on Twitter. This pays off in terms of the numbers of followers of those accounts, and how engaged those followers are.

TV manufacturers are also seizing the opportunity, developing TVs with more interactivity and built-in ‘double screens’. Other technology is also being developed, such as the Dish Explorer iPad App, which acts as a second screen, allowing users to see popular and trending shows, and to join in with conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

TV is now more interactive than ever before, and the potential benefits to brands are huge. Some brands are already taking advantage of this, and this trend looks set to continue. For example, Yeo Valley’s rapping farmers ad drove traffic to the brand’s social media pages, in order to encourage newsletter sign-up. As a result, they saw a 15% uplift in sales, and a 71% increase in share of voice.

However brands need to think carefully about the type of content they are offering and their strategy. For example, sport and reality TV shows suit dual screening experiences very well, whereas dramas – were the viewer may be more involved in a more complex or involved plot – are less suited, making the likelihood of viewers engaging in a brand experience smaller. But with careful planning and well thought-out content, dual screening can mean more engaged viewers and, therefore, greater opportunities for brands to connect with them.

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