O2’s Head of Customer Strategy and Development, Jonathan Earle, commented this week that for their recent campaigns “social plus TV results in a lower cost per sale compared to TV alone”.
Whilst broadcasters have, for some time, been taking advantage of the marketing opportunities that Social TV (the integrated use of social media and TV to engage audiences) affords, other advertisers have only recently begun to take note. Can we now expect a proliferation of Social TV campaigns?
Social is transforming TV consumption
Television consumption has changed. A generation ago programmes were broadcast by a limited number of providers to a captive audience. Today, consumers not only have a variety of on demand services competing for their attention but they are also increasingly using devices to surf the internet and use social media whilst watching TV.
Faced with the challenge of maintaining audience share in an increasingly competitive market, broadcasters have responded by capitalising on this second screening trend, interactively blending social media and television content to engage with audiences.
Here’s how they are doing it:
- Teasers: Seeding conversation and building excitement for new content, through posting teasers, engaging influencers to seed viral content, recommendation, and viewership. In the run up to the 2013 series Atlantis producers sent Greek mythology styled scrolls with promoted hashtags to select influencers to seed conversation.
- Hashtags: Using hashtags to encourage and group conversation, used by programmes from #dragonsden to #TOWIE.
- Cast Engagement: Offering value add to fans and followers by enabling exclusive access to talent and content. This comes in many forms from cast Q&A to the viral selfies we are all familiar with.
- Real-time Engagement: Posting tune-in reminders and live tweeting alongside transmission to promote conversation and engage with audience members on a one-to-one basis. Twitter has traditionally dominated real-time engagement, but Snapchat is now being trialled by MTV and ABC in the US to engage with younger audiences in real-time.
- Incentivising Interaction: Encouraging and rewarding consumer engagement by offering bonus clips and exclusive content, and by displaying audience posts live on air. String Come Dancing, for example, displays audience tweets during contestant interviews.
- Social Voting: Enabling viewers to vote via social media. The BBC trialled social voting for the first time this summer for the FIFA World Cup.
- Watch Now:#WatchOnSky, which launched in April 2014, allows Sky TV customers to either watch or record shows straight from promotional Twitter cards sent by the brand.
- Co-Creation: Using social media to crowdsource contente. The Netflix exclusive House of Cards led the way in using audience data to develop content. Social data is set to be increasingly used as a source of audience insight for content commissioning.
What does this mean for advertisers?
Following the success of broadcasters in driving tune-in and in engaging those hard-to-reach younger audiences, brands are beginning to make use of integrated Social TV campaigns.
Recent examples include:
1. First Direct – #unexpectedtweet
In 2013 First Direct aired a TV ad featuring beatboxing birds and the hashtag #unexpectedtweet, with no reference to the brand or its industry. This was part of a clever new integrated campaign to reposition its brand as The Unexpected Bank. The creative successfully seeded conversation and speculation as to the identity of the brand behind it (incidentally a poorly kept secret, with the leak on social media contributing to the volume of online conversation).
2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – #HumanStory / #ApeStory
Earlier this summer, 20th Century Fox delivered an integrated campaign for the release of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, featuring two Twitter tie-ins. The first was during Channel 4’s UK premiere of The Hunger Games where viewers were encouraged to vote for one of two creatives to play in the following ad break by tweeting either #HumanStory or #ApeStory. A fortnight later, 20th Century Fox aired a dramatic and controversial new trailer during a World Cup match break encouraging viewers to tweet their reviews using #DawnofApes for a chance to have their posts displayed in a subsequent ad.
3. Blinkbox – Dragons vs. Golfer
Blinkbox recently promoted their release of Game of Thrones season four by using a viral video from YouTube as the basis for a new TV ad. The original clip featured angry swans chasing an understandably nervous looking golfer. The Blinkbox edit saw the swans replaced by fire-breathing dragons from the series.
4. Oreo – You Can Still Dunk In The Dark
No list of social TV campaigns would be complete without a mention of Oreo’s Super Bowl post last year. Their social team acted quickly to take advantage of a 30-minute power outage at the Superdome, posting a timely tweet featuring a dimly-lit cookie and the tagline “You can still dunk in the dark”. The post went viral, a reminder of the efficacy of simple, reactive and relevant content and of the amplification power of social media.
Power out? No problem. http://t.co/dnQ7pOgC—
Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 04, 2013
So what’s next for Social TV?
Brands are increasingly interested in the opportunities Social TV can offer. Social media is a natural complement to scalable offline platforms such as TV, providing brands with an additional touch point to reach and engage with consumers – particularly those hard-to-reach younger audiences who are social media’s most prolific users.
But Social TV is still at a relatively early stage with brands asking:
Is it the right move for our market?
Will it generate incremental reach?
What is deeper engagement worth in financial terms?
In measuring the business value of any marketing activity introducing a test and learn phase is critical. O2 have done just that, and their assertion that integrated social TV campaigns have performed better than TV alone in terms of their customer acquisition targets should provide marketers with the confidence needed to experiment with budget. As more brands test the value and share their experience, the industry will benefit from a shared insight into how to effectively deliver these integrated campaigns.