How Social Media Boosts TV

While TV ratings are on the decline, there’s the notion that it no longer has the same impact and will one day be obsolete to the Internet. It simply has not turned out that way. Ninety-four percent of television consumption is still on a regular TV set. However, it has not been immune to the impact of the Internet.

Instead, consumers are online while watching TV. In fact, 60-70 percent of us are using a second screen (laptop, tablet, or mobile phone) while watching TV. Mike Proulx, of Social TV: How Marketers Can Reach and Engage Audiences by Connecting Television to the Web, Social Media, and Mobile, says the challenge for marketers today is developing the “complementary programming on the second device that augments what you’re watching.”

There are two basic ways to achieve this:

1. Harnessing social media. Some programs now include a Twitter hashtag at the bottom of the screen, saying something like, there’s a conversation happening now – be a part of it. The goal is for the program to be a trending topic on social media to ultimately engage more viewership. In addition, Breaking Bad includes a “story sync” featured right before the program resumes after commercial breaks. It allows viewers to engage with others on snap polls, trivia and exclusive video while watching the program on their TVs.

2. Online content that keeps the viewers engaged between episodes or seasons. For example, The Walking Dead on AMC had an exclusive webisode series developed to bridge the gap between the seasons. It also explains some of the content featured in Season One.

The Internet creates new opportunities to understand the TV audience by seeing who is sharing information, what they are talking about, and how they are reacting. The Internet will not replace TV – it is just changing the game. It creates possibilities that did not previously exist. Although there is not a one-size-fits-all on how to create the most appeal via the second screen, the good news is that brands and their media planners can reach intended audiences in more engaging ways.