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Social Media Users Offer Opportunities for TV Marketers

June 10, 2013

Social media is a strong influence on TV viewing choices among habitual users, especially Hispanics, indicating important opportunities for marketers, a new study indicates. 

Social media interaction with TV viewing is modest compared to other forms of communication and lags behind other online media, TV promotions and offline communication, according to the study. 

Only 12 percent of respondents use social media one or more times a day to talk about TV, but that jumps to 37 percent among those who use social media at least once a week, suggesting growth potential for social media as an influence on TV viewing. 

Half of the respondents reported watching TV while using social media

The research also identified several groups who are highly connected to social media and television, including Hispanics and younger users. 

The study, "Talking Social TV," was conducted to help determine how social media interaction affects TV viewing. 

The findings 

-- 1.5 percent of respondents reported being drawn to existing TV shows by social media, but that increased to 6 percent when they were asked about new shows. 

-- Social media interaction varied by by genre. Science fiction, sports, talk shows and news programs showed strong interaction overall, whether or not people were actually watching the program. 

Reality TV's interaction rate was much stronger while people were watching, less so before or after the program. 

Comedy followed an opposite pattern, with strong interaction after the program aired. 

-- "Super Connectors," defined as those most actively involved in social media usage related to TV viewing, composed of 12 percent of the public, tend to be younger and female. Super Connectors are not well represented among adults over 45 years of age. 

Super Connectors are far more likely to engage in all forms of discussion, including online, marketing and word of mouth. They were as much as three times likelier to interact with social media related to TV as the general population. 

-- Hispanics are more involved with social media than the general population, especially while watching television. However, they did not approach the level of interaction of the Super Connectors. 

While watching, Hispanics are 50 percent more likely to interact with social media related to television, and to interact with most television genres, led by sports programming. 

-- Smartphones and tablet users are more likely to interact via social media, especially while watching on-demand or streamed shows. 

-- People use social media to discuss TV shows even when others are watching with them. 

What's the buzz? 

"There has been a lot of buzz about the relationship between social-media usage and TV consumption, but until now there has not been a lot of thorough analysis," Beth Rockwood, senior vice president, market resources of Discovery Communications, who chairs the CRE's Social Media Committee, said in a statement. 

She said the study offered insights about the increasing influence social media has on TV viewing habits and how that affects consumer behaviors. 

The study "also has given us a better understanding of how measurement of consumer behaviors can be improved, as well as the characteristics of the 'Super Connecters,' the most active and influential users of social media," she added. 

The research employed a mix of methodologies to provide a picture of social media behavior related to TV viewing. 

The research was led by the Social Media Committee of the Council for Research Excellence (CRE), and included a quantitative study by the Keller Fay Group, an ethnographic study by Nielsen Life360, and social media analyses by NM Incite and Bluefin Labs. 

An academic team from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem did the statistical modeling. 

A formal presentation of the findings is scheduled for the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) Audience Measurement 8.0 conference, June 10-11. The academic team will offer a fuller presentation at an event on June 25. 

For more information about the Council for Research Excellence, please visit: 

SOURCE Council for Research Excellence

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