TV Drives Conversation on Facebook

Social TV analytics has moved from the media lab to mainstream media research in just four years, says SecondSync director Graham Lovelace, playing a leading role in pioneering the real-time, big data analysis of social interactions mapped to TV programs. The company is now spearheading the next stage in the evolution of social TV analytics.

The white paper presents the initial findings of a major study, using SecondSync’s social listening technology and social TV expertise to analyze total discussion levels on the Facebook platform in the US, UK and Australia. This is the first time Facebook has released social TV analytics to the industry at this scale to demonstrate how TV drives conversation on Facebook

The huge volumes of public conversations on Twitter have meant that until now social TV has largely been synonymous with one social network. The study findings offer an additional perspective, one that is able to draw on Facebook’s rich demographics, broad reach, and multiple interaction types, says the report.


  • Contrary to previous assumptions, most TV-related Facebook posts happen within the show airing
  • Up to a quarter of the TV audience is posting content related to the show they are watching on Facebook
  • The scale of social TV chatter seen on Facebook corresponds to the broad reach of the social network
  • Posts are the catalyst for TV-related conversations that continue in the form of Comments.
  • 80% of TVrelated chatter on Facebook comes from a mobile device

The fact that people talk about TV on Facebook has never been in doubt. However, it has often been assumed that TV-related Facebook interactions happen outside the show airing and not in real-time. The analysis challenges this assumption. 60% of daily Facebook interactions about a TV show occur during the airing.

Looking at a minute-by-minute breakdown of aggregated TV-related Facebook interactions, it is clear that audiences are talking about TV while they are watching it, says the report. The majority of TV-related activity happens during the show, seen in huge peaks of activity that map directly to key events in the telecast.

Looking at how TV audiences engage with shows using four different types of Facebook interaction: Posts, Comments, Likes and Shares shows that each type exhibited distinct repeating patterns of engagement that were consistent across the TV schedules.

The Sound Of Music Live, NBC, December 5, 2013

  • Posts (501,073) are most closely aligned to real-time TV ‘events’
  • Shares(19,440)  are used less in TV chatter than the other interaction types
  • Clicks VS Texts: There were more click interactions (65%) than text interactions (35%)
  • Interactions from Likes (4,730,608) of TV-related content have a long tail of engagement
  • The bulk of TV conversations are contained in Comments (2,097,815) 

Viewers use Posts to start conversations that cluster around events in the show. In turn, Posts often seed huge volumes of Comments and Likes that have broader peaks of engagement which are sustained for a much longer time period as friends continue discussions long after the show has aired.

The Walking Dead: 6,682,474 Interactions 

  • Likes   67%
  • Comments   21% 
  • Posts   11% 
  • Shares   1% 

Analyzing many types of shows yielded distinct patterns of engagement that are consistent across different genres. These genre differences reflect the nature of the content and demographics of the audience.

  • Dramas generate a bookend pattern of engagement with Facebook activity peaking at either end of the telecast
  • Posts around competition shows map directly to performances
  • Documentaries are a catalyst for Posts that generate high volumes of conversation in Comments
  • Films are big drivers of social engagement. Iconic scenes from films tend to drive the biggest peaks in engagement
  • Tabloid talk shows also drive real-time conversations with guests generating significant Facebook reaction

 Sport Sport is a huge driver of engagement across all interaction types, says the report. For instance, 2014’s Super Bowl generated 185 million Facebook interactions from 50 million unique users.  Patterns of engagement map directly to events on the field with the biggest volumes of interaction seen after big plays, controversial officiating decisions and directly after the end of games.

NFL Playoff, Indianapolis Colts Vs Kansas City Chiefs, NBC, January 4, 2014.The Colts achieve the second biggest comeback in NFL Playoff history, coming from 28 points down to beat The Chiefs 45-44.

  • 19:27 Luck recovers a Colts fumble and dives for a touchdown… 51,003 interactions per min.
  • 19:52 Luck throws a touchdown to put The Colts ahead for the first time 62,583 interactions per min.
  • 20:05 Final score 158,171 interactions per min.

The study showed that the number of individuals engaging with shows in real-time on Facebook accounted for a significant proportion of the TV audience when compared with ratings data. In some cases, this was almost a quarter of the TV audience.

Because of Facebook’s size (71% of adults online in the US1) and broad demographic spread, interactions are generated by a group that is broadly representative of the general population.

The report concludes that, when looked at holistically, real-time activity around TV and Sport on the Facebook platform is hugely compelling and there are important commercial implications. Audience measurement, TV planning, content discovery, direct response advertising, TV commissioning and research are just some of the sectors that will benefit from the insights coming out of the world’s biggest social network.

To read the Whitepaper in its’ entirety, please visit SecondSync here.





Next story loading loading..