Second Screen: The Battle Between Tweets and Facebook Posts

Despite Twitter’s limited growth over the past few quarters, the social messaging service continues to experience second screen popularity with television viewers. Facebook is attempting to tap into this market as well, but has been battling the perception that its users generally post before or after a broadcast, rather than during it. However, U.K.-based social analytics agency SecondSync released a study that suggests 60 percent of Facebook interactions about TV programs occur during the broadcasts.

“Twitter executives see the so-called second screen experience not just as a lure for users but as an entrée into the huge advertising budgets earmarked for TV,” reports Forbes.

“Facebook sees it much the same way, which is why it has been anxious to stake its own claim to second screen supremacy,” notes the article. “Holding it back, however, has been a perception that people who talk about TV shows on Facebook tend to do so well before or after the broadcast and not so much in the ‘live window’ that matters most to advertisers and networks.”

SecondSync’s report suggests this perception is not accurate. But while Twitter’s userbase is only 20 percent the size of Facebook’s, there are usually more active discussions on Twitter than Facebook.

“If you narrow the comparison down to original content — tweets versus posts — Twitter boasted more interaction around nearly all of the broadcasts SecondSync examined in its study,” explains Forbes.

For example, for the five-hour period before, during, and after AMC’s “Breaking Bad” finale, there were twice as many tweets than there were Facebook posts.

Advertisers are facing a problem in quantifying the value of a Facebook post versus a tweet, especially when trying to evaluate additional conversations based on comments, likes, retweets, etc. Based on aggregate numbers from the SecondSync study, “Facebook can plausibly assert that it, not Twitter, is the top second screen platform,” writes Forbes. “But from an intensity standpoint, Twitter is the clear leader; if it ever manages to solve that little user-growth problem, Facebook will have a hard time keeping up.”