TV + Twitter + Real-Time = Influence, But Brand-Jacking Still Stinks

New research from Nielsen validates what marketers have been banking on for awhile. There is a relationship between Twitter conversations about a specific TV program and the number of tune-ins. Actually, it's a two-way relationship. Ratings cause tweets and tweets cause ratings.

According to the release, Nielsen's method was to "[analyze] minute-to-minute trends in Nielsen’s Live TV Ratings and tweets for 221 broadcast primetime program episodes using Nielsen’s SocialGuide." In 48% of the episodes sampled, TV ratings had a "meaningful impact" in related tweets. The volume of tweets caused "significant changes in live TV ratings" in 29% of the episodes sampled.

It's not all moonlight and roses, though. For example, CoverGirl tried to brand-jack The Bachelorette finale last night, sending out this tweet:



The company has over 333,000 Twitter followers, and that tweet has racked up (as of 15 hours after it was posted) a whopping 12 retweets. This goes back to what I RTBlogged a few weeks ago, which is that just because it's on Twitter doesn't mean it's real-time marketing.

Ali Rowghani, Twitter's chief operating officer, stated, "As the world's preeminent real-time social communication medium, Twitter is a complementary tool for broadcasters to engage their audience, drive conversation about their programming, and increase tune-in."

There are some key parts of Rowghani's statement that I'd like to point out. He calls Twitter a tool for broadcasters to engage their audience and drive conversation about their programming. Reading between the lines, it appears that brand-jacking a live event isn't what Twitter is really all about. Twitter can help the TV programs (and in turn the TV advertisers), but the true impact of outside brands trying to squeeze their way into relevancy is murky.

I feel as though the Oreo Super Bowl tweet only seems like the biggest deal in the world because of the industry we are in. And as more and more brands try to recreate that moment, the more I think I'm right. Ask 5 or 10 or 20 non-advertising friends what they thought of the Super Bowl. I'll be shocked if "Oreo totally stole the show with their tweet!" escapes one of their lips.

Nielsen's findings shouldn't come as some major surprise, either. Marketers have latched on to the idea that strong connections can be made between TV broadcasts and Twitter. I see hashtags popping up all the time during TV shows. However, the actual validation that a connection exists is big for marketers looking to capitalize on second screen habits.

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