Since television burst onto the scene in the 1950’s, the than little understood medium was destined to revolutionize marketing and advertising. As more and more families add television to their homes, marketing and advertising opportunities exploded. The new medium launched an era of visual messaging and abbreviated presentation featuring catchy phrases and snappy tunes to capture and hold the attention of television viewers. The new medium was to become engrained with the American culture and would be the premier advertising vehicle for marketers for decades to come. But in the second decade of the new millennium, marketers begin to reduce budgets for traditional marketing methods – cutting spending on ads, direct marketing techniques, and even email marketing. In their place, more resources are being directed towards developing online and offline content, integrated experiences, and incentivized offers that potential new customers value. Today the marketing economy is growing more complex daily and established television advertising models are feeling the threat of the emerging social media platforms.
New communication technology is moving the world closer together with every device in our homes being interconnected. As interactivity becomes more accepted and commonplace, the idea of social interaction affecting the context of what is being watched on television is realized, Social TV, has cable companies, advertisers, and consumers buzzing. After five decades of TV addiction, would consumers instead loaf on the couch gazing at their Facebook feed or will the social conversation become an integral part of the viewing experience? In fact, research has shown that 63 percent of consumers browse social media while watching TV, indicating that television viewing and social media usage isn’t mutually exclusive and savvy TV industry players and TV-focused marketers realize they can piggyback on this new consumer habit. The idea is not to compete with social media, but to use it so that televised shows, events, and ad campaigns win more audience and audience participation. Social TV is bringing the industry one step closer to truly contextual advertising. No matter where you are and on what device, the marketing message is able to reach a larger audience.
Advertisers looking to find the right recipe for success should take a lesson from the playbook of social media marketing that occurred during the 2013 Super Bowl. This year’s big game commercials will be the benchmark. Moving forward, incorporating social media mentions into the ads, campaign strategies and maintaining a live presence during large events will become the norm. For brands, it should now be obvious that just including social media in your advertisement is not the end of the story, it is the beginning. Social media managers, and likely the entire executive marketing team for brands should take advantage of advertising opportunities and engage with the viewers that are using social media to interact with the company.
Social TV analytics vendors like Trendrr, Networked Insights, and SocialGuide take all this interactive chatter, they filter it to screen out the junk, they categorize keywords and sentiment, and spit out numbers-backed insights. The result enables broadcasters and marketers to track audiences, their reactions to specific advertising content, and most importantly, tie all of this to their demographic data and broader interests. Social TV isn’t just a consumer habit, or a way for brands to extend their TV campaigns into the social media realm. It is also a sophisticated technique for gaining insights into TV audiences and making better TV ad buys.
Television has been around for a very long time but there is a new era of interconnectivity and social interaction afoot that will change TV viewing for everyone. Marketer’s biggest challenge is to discover how to keep consumers engaged, broadcasters must learn how to engage advertisers, and viewers must prepare for what’s next.