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TV Twitter Thinkbox

“Twitter, hashtags and TV form a perfect partnership” – how Twitter users watch TV


By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

April 2, 2014 | 3 min read

A study for Twitter and Thinkbox by Brain Juicer has found that while both TV and Twitter work to boost positive emotional responses towards brands, the results were much higher when Twitter and TV are combined.

It was discovered that there are two different states of mind Twitter users are in when they’re watching TV and tweeting: relaxed (lean back) and engaged (lean forward).

“When consumers are relaxed, the focal point shifts between Twitter and TV depending on what is happening on the screen,” Gordon Macmillan, editorial manager for Twitter, pointed out.

“Here viewers might be engrossed in a drama or a movie; they’re paying close attention to the action and aren’t so focused on tweeting as they watch. Come the show’s end, things change. People jump on to Twitter to share their reactions and read those of others — and the volume of tweets spikes.”

Reality shows such as The Voice, and live events such as the Brits lead to more engagement, as users want to read what others are saying, retweet and have their say as events unfold in real time.

“Understanding these two different states of mind, and being aware that consumers switch back and forth between the two, can help brands tap the pulse of how people combine their TV viewing and Twitter. And brands that get it right can get results, as we’ve previously shown: there is a 95 per cent increase in message association versus TV alone, a 58 per cent increase in purchase intent versus TV alone and the cost of acquiring new customers is 36 per cent lower when TV advertising runs concurrently with Twitter Ads.” Macmillan said.

Three in four of those surveyed by Brain Juicer agreed that if users see a hashtag on TV, they look it up on Twitter.

As such, it was found that Twitter users see hashtags around TV shows in two ways. Firstly as a punch line, or a creative and amusing way to sign off a tweet about a show; and secondly as a way to sort and categorise conversation.

“When it comes to television, Twitter, hashtags and TV form a perfect partnership. Our new research confirms that this is a powerful combination, and 4.2 million #BRITs2014 Tweets underscore it.” Macmillan added.

TV Twitter Thinkbox

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