By Angela Romero, SFAMA Event Coordinator
Social TV Definition from Wikipedia: Social television is a general term for technology that supports communication and social interaction in either the context of watching television, or related to TV content.
Social TV is a new phenomenon that allows viewers to engage with a second screen, be it a computer, tablet or mobile device, while viewing standard television. This buzz topic, which has been on the radar of marketers for a while, has now exploded into a major player in increasing a brands online capital. Just when advertisers were losing the battle to their nemesis, the DVR, Social TV came to their rescue, encouraging real-time tune in and engagement with 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 become relevant content viewers to engage with as well.
In addition to being a data-collecting machine, Social TV is a wide-reaching vehicle that can deliver innovative, and extremely engaging content while providing new avenues for people to interact with brands, and for brands to reach out to people. Let’s see how Fox Broadcasting 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. 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/a>, like Rachel Berry Tweet during airtime engaging with fans to encourage real-time tune in. As a result, the program garnered over 20 million Facebook “likers” (or “gleekers” as they are kindly dubbed by the network) and about 1.5 million followers on Twitter.
- American Idol created exclusive content to reward online engagement and to direct people to the program’s social media hub. For example, the hash tag #idolbackstage unlocked exclusive content on AmericanIdol.com, but only after 10,000 fans joined in the conversation on Twitter!
Jack Wakshlag, Chief Research Officer at Turner Broadcasting said in a recent AdAge article: “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”.
Social TV 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. The down side is that designing a cohesive social ecosystem through synchronized advertisements gets challenging when considering all the different screens viewers are using — tablets, websites, mobile devices and streaming media. Regardless of the drawbacks, Social TV is here to stay and the faster marketers implement it in their strategies, the faster they can monetize the trend.
Picture Credit: Trendrr.com