Interacting with social media while watching TV drives a 9% increase in program engagement. Viewers accessed social media an average four times during a half-hour program, for a cumulative 26% boost in program engagement.
In addition, the new study from WPP’s MEC, Australian TV network Seven and market research firm
Neuro-Insight found that social media interactions serve as “reset moments” after which viewers return to the TV screen with a higher engagement level.
The study sponsors said it was the first time that neuroscience techniques were applied to measure the impact of social media interaction on viewers’ engagement levels.
In fact, they asserted that using such techniques -- which measure brain wave activity to detect changes in attentiveness, emotional response, memory coding and engagement -- is essential to get an accurate read on the social media impact on TV viewing.
“Engagement is impossible for people to articulate through crude measures of recall, attitudinal research or even eye-tracking,” said James Hier, chief strategy officer at MEC. “The only way to measure engagement is neurologically.”
The study was conducted in the fourth quarter of last year using a panel that watched live episodes of Seven Network’s reality show "X-Factor." The study captured and analyzed 153 separate social media interactions over the course of several episodes of the show.
A key takeaway, per Hier: “Advertising messages should capitalize on viewers’ heightened receptivity to details and that we should optimize the type and timing of advertising messages with a TV program.”
A four-and-a-half-minute Youtube video on the study can be accessed here.