With a headline like that, you may have thought I was going to be writing about Holiday 2014. I am not. Even I have trouble talking about the holidays this early. What I am talking about is the start of the Fall line-up on network TV. It is one of the last vestiges of the once-mighty audience dominance by the big three networks.
NBC has “The Blacklist” with James Spader and the award-winning “Parenthood.” ABC has “Once Upon a Time,” “Scandal,” “Revenge,” and is still running “Grey’s Anatomy.” On cable, HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” is first out of the gate and, sadly (for this fan), will wrap up the series this season. Of course, these are just a few of the programming highlights. As the Fall season debut was approaching, I heard a lot of “water cooler” talk at the proverbial water cooler as well as the new water cooler – social media. A lot of chatter about people bingeing on Netflix, AppleTV, Hulu and HBOGo.
More than ever, audiences are engaged on their mobile devices, catching up on shows as well as using their tablets and smartphones as co-viewing and complimentary devices. This rise in tablet viewing and co-viewing has not gone unnoticed by Facebook and Twitter. They know that at this most wonderful time of the year, people take to the social world to share with friends, show their expertise on show plot lines, etc. A while back, Twitter shared some interesting stats about tweets during TV programming. Twitter found that 85% of smartphone and tablet owners incorporate their device into their TV viewing experience.
Furthermore, they found that 70% of tweets are sent during program time, whereas only 30% are sent during commercial breaks. If you ever wanted a proof point that people are engaged on their devices during TV viewing, that is certainly it. Lastly, a Nielsen/Twitter study found that 29% of episodes saw an increase in live ratings from an increase in Twitter volume. This last point is interesting since it points to the reach of social sharing (intent) through the social graph in real time.
If you’re a marketer looking for new ways to surround your audience and provide value as well as generate awareness and create purchase opportunities, you would be wise dig into the social co-viewing trends as a way to amplify your paid social efforts. Twitter’s Amplify program can be a great fit to expand your audience size as well as provide excellent audience targeting solutions. And combined with their MoPub footprint, you can find ways to engage in and out of the Twitter environment.
The socialTV landscape is still young and will see a lot of innovations and shifts in development this season. Now is the time to get in and do testing, if you have yet to do so. Or if you’re on your second go-round, this season is the time to refine your strategy and find ways to turn social intent signals you’re capturing into audience targeting across channels and platforms, such as your paid Search and paid Social efforts.