The Value Of Social To TV
For many years, the main question one would hear from people who worked at the major digital publishers and platforms was, “How can we take budget from TV?”
Meanwhile, network representatives would ask how they could ensure that they didn’t suffer the same fate as the newspaper companies. But now, increasingly, the questions on both sides are around how they can better work together. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the ways.
Selling Social Data
Since its inception, Web advertising has been sold on its accountability, which was originally considered to be a benefit. But as click-through rates continue to plummet (down to 0.12% on average from 44% for the first modern banner ad), these sort of metrics look less like positives and more like dead weights. Now, thanks to social data, a way might have been found to buy and sell online in a way similar to TV.
Nielsen’s OCR product is now live in the US, UK & Australia and allows advertisers to target their ads at certain demographics by cross-referencing Facebook login data. This benefits Facebook, as it gives them a new way to monetise the reams of data they hold, but also helps other online suppliers; ironically, it might most benefit the digital ambitions of TV networks as it allows them to essentially bundle up the sales of their traditional and catch-up ad packages.
As Michael Engleman, executive vice president of marketing, digital and global strategy at Syfy channel says in this article in the Wall Street Journal (paywall):
“We will pay to ‘trend,’ and we will pay to get the insights that their analytics give us.”
This is also why so many TV stations and networks are anxious to create their own social data, but as of yet few have had much success.
Tracking Social Data
Nielsen are nothing if not strategic; having partnered with Facebook for BrandLift studies and now OCR, they’re also partnering with Twitter to bring TV metrics into the 21st Century; meanwhile, in the UK, WPP company Kantar plan to do the same. [Disclosure: WPP is my ultimate employer.]
As TV audiences splinter and fragment, it’s becoming more and more important that the networks can prove the value of the audiences they do have, as well as trying to ensure that they can still bring scale to advertising campaigns.
Studies by Twitter in the UK (pdf) showed that audiences for different types of shows interacted in different ways (based on how engaging the primary content was). The audience of Homeland, for example, tended to tweet at the start and end of the show, so engrossed were they in the story. In contrast, viewers of Made In Chelsea (shown above), a reality show in the style of The Hills, had peaks all throughout the show, in this instance equating to 1 in 4 overall viewers.
Again, these partnerships benefit both parties as they allow TV networks to start to move to a system where, for big shows at least, they might charge premiums for engaged audiences, whilst it allows Twitter to create new monetisation streams.
Linking Social Data
The ultimate example of a mutually beneficial relationship is one which creates value and increases stickiness for both parties, and both Facebook and Twitter appear to have examples of this.
First Twitter rolled out its Amplify product which allows advertisers to target their ads both to a TV show and people talking about that TV show on Twitter. And now Facebook are rolling out access to two APIs which will give media companies (primarily) the ability to better integrate content from Facebook into their shows. Once again there is liable to be a monetisation strategy at play here but it also strikes me that this is liable to make Facebook appear more friendly to TV networks and content creators.
Because just as the battle to control social TV data will continue to hot up, so will the battle between the major web platforms to lock in audience attention. If Facebook (or Twitter) can tie-up deals with the networks and production companies, they may be able to better do this. Think of Netflix and House of Cards, add in the Open Graph or Twitter log-in, and you start to see what the prize might be. And it’s more than an Emmy.
These are just three ways in which the relationship between TV networks and social platforms are becoming increasingly symbiotic, and also increasingly equal (in some respects at least). What this means for advertisers is the same as it means for the content creators and the platforms; if you want to earn attention in the modern world of media, you need to own or leverage great content and you need to create or associate yourself with stories people want to watch and share.
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