Social TV can sometimes seem like a lot of hype. Yes, people are engaging with social media while watching TV, but is it just the latest buzzed-about media trend with limited value to broadcast networks and advertisers?
As broadcasters have seized on social TV activity, it’s becoming clear that harnessing the phenomenon is not only about attracting and retaining viewers. Social TV activity also creates a trove of useful data, which can be put to use to generate more effective advertising and better programming decisions.
A recent report from BI Intelligence finds that social TV is being put to work for a variety of big data purposes. The social TV audience is a built-in focus group, participating with content in real-time. And now a variety of measurement and analytics companies have sprung up to quantify and apply this data.
- TV Ad Sales: Probably the most-asked question by potential TV ad buyers is, “Who is your audience?” The inevitable follow-up: “What data do you have on that?” Social TV data can help ad sales teams showcase their audiences and provide insights into who they are — Mums? Young professionals? — and their interests.
- Social TV ad campaigns: The most obvious use of social TV data is for ad campaigns that target audiences of certain TV shows on social media. Twitter’s new TV ad targeting tool is an example. One advantage of this approach is that you reach audiences that may be watching TV shows on iTunes or Hulu but aren’t being exposed to ads.
- Campaign Optimization: Social TV can help advertisers hone their ad spots based on social media feedback. A TV ad for a new smartphone focused on its great camera might fall flat, while social media is buzzing about a different feature like its screen size.
- Efficient Ad Buys: An advertiser might need a large audience of a certain demographic, but may not know how to reach it cost-effectively outside of a blockbuster TV show. Smaller advertisers might also save money by targeting audiences of blockbusters shows only on social media.
- Real-Time Optimization: Social TV data might help TV ads get better in real-time. Imagine watching a popular show in which a car commercial features a man driving along a jungle road. Then, in the show’s second and third commercial breaks, a similar ad features a married couple, driving through the French countryside. Social TV data might have helped the advertiser decide that the second ad spot would resonate better with its intended audience.