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What Social Media Video Trends Can Teach TV Advertisers

June 20th, 2019   ||    by Oriana Schwindt

When you look at overall social media video trends, one feature stands out: they’re all focused on the small screen. They’re focused on the phone, the tablet, Instagram, and Snapchat.

But 45 percent of TV viewing involves a second screen, according to Nielsen. That’s nearly half your audience who can either be disengaged from what’s happening on the screen, or—if programmers properly adapt—nearly half your audience who can receive additional information that plays off what’s on the big screen.

It’s not as though TV has been ignoring social media. In fact, the two have achieved a state of symbiosis that is evolving—to TV’s benefit. TV still provides the highest ROI in advertising, an Accenture study reported.

Here’s how the small screen and big screen interact, and how to use that interaction to your advantage as an advertiser.

Driving Tune-In

In a world in which there are nearly 500 scripted TV shows, according to a study cited in Broadcasting & Cable, breaking through the noise is increasingly difficult. An overlooked fact is that TV networks are advertisers themselves, with their own product—newscasts, series—to sell.

One way to follow social media video trends is to serve ads to people who are posting about shows similar to those on your network, or even those that are wildly different, as a sort of social media counterprogramming. Increased social network activity (particularly on Twitter) has long been known to have a correlation with an increase in ratings; a Nielsen study confirmed this.

The key to this strategy, and any other involving social, is developing a robust data set of potential viewers. Most social networks make this easy. The creative you use, though, is just as important. This is the place to be tongue-in-cheek and show how well you know your audience.

Driving Conversation

The earliest days of social media were already full of people using platforms like Twitter to opine about what TV content they were watching. In the years since, social media networks have made it even easier for TV watchers to engage with each other, and have added elements like emojis to popular TV show hashtags (take a look at the ones for the final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, for example).

Twitter’s trending topics in the US on a given evening generally include at least one TV series. Facebook has added a “What I’m watching” feature. Advertisers can easily capture this audience’s attention with posts or pre-made videos around big TV events like the Game of Thrones finale.

People don’t just talk about what TV shows they’re watching, though—they talk about the ads they see as well. They’re not always talking in a positive way—something to beware—but the discussion is there.

The best advertisers use this to their advantage, integrating a social media component to their ad spend. No one will forget Oreo’s tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout. That kind of opportunity doesn’t come around much, but when it does, it’s important to have the infrastructure in place to take advantage.

Driving Opportunities for Advertisers

This is the big one. People are not necessarily watching a TV series just on a TV screen, or just on a phone, according to a MediaVillage interview with Hulu’s head of advanced TV. As technology advances, advertisers are increasingly able to follow these viewers as they make the natural switch from device to device.

That means thinking of creative in an entirely different way than many advertisers do now. Perhaps you split an ad into six-second chunks that tell a cohesive story. Perhaps you create a big splashy TV ad and smaller supporting ads that you serve to social media viewers.

These kinds of blended campaigns have seen fantastic results, WarnerMedia’s Jenn Cohen told MediaVillage. The key is to keep the TV spend.

The world of social media video trends provides ample opportunity for advertisers. The time to shift your thinking is now.

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