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Research: it pays for advertisers to get in front of TV viewers using Twitter


By Adam Flomenbaum, Co-Executive Editor

March 18, 2016 | 4 min read

Twitter today released research results analyzing the correlation between how viewers react emotionally to TV shows on its platform and brand affinity, ad recall, and purchase intent. Twitter partnered with Canvs, a company that measures emotional reactions on social, and Starcom, the global media agency.

Recently, Twitter has been stepping up its efforts to prove the value of the Twitter TV audience to brands and agencies. In February, a Nielsen study showed that TV advertising drives positive earned media for brands on Twitter.

The research released today builds upon the implications of the Nielsen study. According to Canvs, when a high percentage of tweets about a TV show contain emotional reactions, viewers are 48 per cent more likely to recall an ad than those who watched shows eliciting less of an emotional reaction.

“This research shows that audiences who are emotionally invested in a TV show are more responsive to both TV advertising and corresponding Twitter advertising—finally dismissing the nagging notion of the distracted social viewer,” said Kate Sirkin, Global Head of Audience Measurement at Publicis Media,. “Social and emotional TV data combined help illustrate the value of emotional engagement for brands beyond a single impression on either screen. This can be done with Twitter TV targeting, which lets brands build cross-screen frequency with people who are engaging with shows on Twitter.”

The notion of the “distracted social viewer” may be real, but distraction via Twitter may actually be a boon to advertisers.

The research also found that people who used Twitter – whether actively tweeting or just following - while watching TV were 62 per cent more likely to recall the brands who advertised during the show than those not using Twitter.

For those who are actively tweeting during shows, those who expressed emotions in their tweets like “love,” “hate,” and “excited” were three times more likely to recall advertisers than those simply stating that they were watching the show. More, 61 per cent of those who reacted emotionally said they were likely to purchase from that advertiser now or in the future.

The research centered on 3,536 Twitter users and non-Twitter users who viewed the same episode of a TV program.

For advertisers, one implication of the research is to not only focus on tentpole events (which certainly does elicit emotional reactions and is still important), but also other TV shows with a passionate fan base; and, if attempting to reach this audience via TV advertising, it may also be worth redoubling efforts on Twitter throughout the program via owned accounts and actors’ accounts, but also with paid efforts.

Expect to see much more research coming from the Twitter team in conjunction with other partners proving the platform’s positive impact and amplification abilities for linear TV advertisers.

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