Advertising Week: Twitter Sees Opportunities in Social TV

Speaking at Advertising Week on Monday, Twitter exec Matt Derella noted that 85 percent of American consumers watch TV with a phone or tablet in their hands, while 70 percent of tweets are sent during programming rather than commercials. He suggests that these statistics are an important sign. This could mark a second revolution for TV viewing — the first being when consumers began channel-flipping with remotes, and the second involving the inclination to contribute via social media.

“His argument is, in essence, that a second revolution is happening on American sofas,” reports Business Insider. “The first was when the remote control was introduced in the 1960s and 70s, and viewers were no longer victims of the inertia that occurred when the alternative was the long trek from the couch to tune the knob on the TV for the next broadcast station. Channel-flipping via remote began the destruction of network TV’s dominance in favor of cable channels’ more niche programming.”

“The second revolution is now upon us: Americans are less interested in the remote and more interested in contributing to the narrative surrounding the show through mobile-social media, namely Twitter, Derella believes.”

Nielsen reports that only 30 percent of real-time tweets about TV take place during commercials, suggesting that social media is not replacing ad viewing. The Nielsen study also found that commercials did not impact the amount of social conversation involving a given program.

Derella, Twitter VP of U.S. DSO sales, “highlighted this figure to urge marketers to leverage Twitter’s ‘second screen’ to reach television viewers, saying that users were multi-tasking instead of flipping over to another show,” notes the article.

“Instead of changing the channel, they’re tweeting during the program,” Derella said, suggesting that brands and networks should take note that viewers remain invested in the content on their screens.

Mike Woods, head of the digital department at Framestore, believes brands may want to reconsider the 30-second ad format.

“It’s not rocket science to suggest that people tweet opinion about stuff that’s worth having an opinion on,” he said. “Programs have a head start, in that they have the time to engage a viewer, whereas a 30-second spot has to go a long way to get us reaching for our devices. In the 30-second window, something is invariably either good or bad, and while there’s a place for this on Twitter, it’s not starting the engaging conversation that brands would hope for.”