In our past blog, The Future of Social TV , we described Social TV as “ a viewer… engaging with a second screen while viewing TV”. This buzz topic, which has been on the radar of marketers for a while, has now exploded into a full-blown trend. Just when advertisers were losing the battle to their nemesis, the DVR, Social TV came to their rescue, encouraging real-time tune in and engaging fans.
The conundrum epitomized by John Wanamaker’s iconic quote, “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half” has always haunted advertisers. This has been especially true with TV and print advertising because advertisers have had no way of knowing how effective their campaigns were. However, the advent of social TV bridges media to data, generating a goldmine of statistics for marketers to profit from and to optimize campaigns with.
For example, Bluefin Labs, a social analytics firm, reports that the season finale of American Idol generated 5,956,134 social comments. Yes, that is 5 million comments in a few hours of TV! This powerful viewership data suggests that people are highly engaged with the show. As a result, advertisements stop being background noise and start becoming relevant to viewers.
Besides being a data-collecting machine, social TV is a mass reaching vehicle that can deliver innovative, and extremely engaging content while providing new avenues for people to interact with brands. Let’s see how Fox is raising the Social TV marketing bar.
- Fox has created online communities called hubs for Glee, American Idol, and X Factor where fans can interact live with each other. Also, fan’s conversations across all social media platforms are captured, curated and delivered in the hub for the audience to engage with in real-time.
- The show Glee has a had its actors and even characters, like Rachel Berry Tweet during airtime engaging with fans to encourage real-time tune in. As a result, they got over 20 million Facebook “likers” or “gleekers” as they are kindly dubbed by the network and about 1.5 million followers on Twitter.
- Idol created exclusive content to reward online engagement and direct people to its social media hub. For example, the #idolbackstage hash tag unlocked exclusive content on AmericanIdol.com, but only after 10,000 fans joined in the conversation on Twitter!
In a recent AdAge article, Jack Wakshlag, Chief Research Officer at Turner Broadcasting said: “The most important overall finding is to understand that people use media to optimize their levels of interest and excitement“. The magnitude of online buzz generated as a result of these social media engagement strategies is simple proof of that. This is great news for advertisers because people who engage in social media while viewing TV are now paying attention to it and not skipping commercials! In fact, people engaging in social TV “proved 1.2 times more engaged than those viewing alone without a social app”.
This media opens the door to innumerable possibilities, such as synchronized advertisements, where a commercial is displayed on TV and on the second screen at the same time. But it also increases complexity for marketers, for example designing a cohesive social ecosystem for brands gets challenging when considering all screens— tablets, online, mobile and streaming media— that viewers are using. Social TV is here to stay and the faster marketers implement it in their strategies, the faster they can monetize this trend.
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By: Angela Romero, Marketing Associate