The Rise of Social TV: How Social Media Is Amplifying TV Advertising

Research has shown that TV-watching and social media usage isn’t mutually exclusive. Consumers appear to love using social media while they watch TV. Many discuss what they’re watching, and these conversations continue long after air-time, with TV-linked chatter accounting for a significant percentage of overall social media activity.

TV industry players and TV-focused marketers realised they could piggyback on this new consumer habit. The idea was not to compete with social media, but to use it so that televised shows, events, and ad campaigns won more audience and audience participation.

Social TV is how these ideas are being made tangible.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we define what social TV is, analyse the most important social TV trends, examine the audience for social TV, detail how social TV is forcing broadcasters and advertisers to rethink their strategies, and look at how data vendors are slicing and dicing all that TV-linked social chatter. 

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Here’s an overview of the rise of social TV:

  • There’s a lot at stake: $350 billion was spent on TV ads globally in 2012. If social TV can help make that advertising more effective, or help social media skim some of those dollars, the opportunity is there for social TV to become a major business in its own right.
  • Social TV is already here: It’s already an established habit with audiences around the world, with majorities of social media users saying they routinely comment about TV shows or events. activity has grown hand-in-hand with the mobile explosion. Smartphones and tablets have made it much more convenient for people to comment on TV, even as they watch it. 40 per cent or more of U.S. mobile audiences browsed social media on their tablets or smartphones while watching TV. For smartphone users, social media is a more popular companion activity during TV-watching than shopping.
  • It can be used in many valuable ways: There are variety of applications for social TV, including support for TV ad sales, optimising TV ad buys, making ad buys more efficient, as a complement to audience measurement, and eventually, audience forecasting and real-time optimization. Social TV data can be like having a thousands-strong focus group at your fingertips. Applied well, social TV can create a positive feedback loop for generating ultra-sticky TV programming and multi-screen ad campaigns. 
  • All the major social media platforms are moving into the space, but Twitter is in the lead: Twitter, Facebook and Google+ have all been used for social TV-flavored strategies. Of the three, Twitter has taken the lead, in part because so much of its data is open and public, making it easier for marketers to target TV fans. Twitter’s newest ad product, TV ad targeting, is a clever integration of tweets, hashtags, TV advertising, and digital video. Twitter is pitching it to advertisers as a way to continue telling the brand stories they tell on TV commercials, but to do so in TV audience’s twitter feeds — online and on mobile.

The report is full of charts and data that can be easily downloaded and put to use. In full, the report: 

  • Defines what social TV is
  • analyses the most important social TV trends
  • Examines the audience for social TV
  • Looks at how social TV is forcing broadcasters and advertisers to rethink their strategies
  • Details how data vendors are slicing and dicing all that TV-linked social chatter

To access BI Intelligence’s full reports on The Rise Of Social TV, sign up for a free trial subscription here.

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