Study Finds 'Social TV' Ineffective For Infrequent Viewers, Offline Promos May Work Better

In a finding that appears to support longstanding notions about television viewing, a review of recent academic research on “social TV” indicates it has the greatest influence on the most loyal viewers of TV shows, but has relatively little impact on people who do not regularly watch a show. The findings, which are being released today as part of a “multi-pronged” study on the effects of social media on TV viewing, follow years of conventional research showing that loyal viewers are generally more engaged with TV programs -- and by extension, advertising that appears within them.

While the CRE report does not address that last point, Beth Rockwood, senior vice president-market resources of Discovery Communications and chair of the CRE’s Social Media Committee, says it’s an interesting question that deserves further research. For now, she says, the main implications of the review are for another form of marketing: network promos encouraging viewers to tune in to a show.

The findings indicate that because social media has so little effect on infrequent viewers of a show, the best way to influence them still is “offline word-of-mouth” marketing, including on-air promos, tune-in advertising, etc. Specifically, the study estimated that offline marketing can be “10 times as effective as social media in reaching” infrequent viewers of a show.

On the other hand, the study suggests that targeting promotional spots may be counterproductive, because they were “found potentially to be a distraction for repeaters of that show.”

“This research is intended to make sure people don’t overreact” to social media, Rockwood explains, adding: “A lot of people think you don’t need to do promotion anymore -- that they can do it all with social media.&rdquo



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