Social network chat can drive TV viewing

Like many involved in decide the future of TV, we’ve long been interested in the relationship between social networks and TV viewing, with more and more marketers focussing their attention on the social TV experience. Now, according to a recent study by television ratings experts Nielsen, companies who chose to invest in that relationship early on are now reaping the rewards.

According to their recent How Chatter Matters in TV Viewing research paper, Nielsen has shown the uncanny ability of sites such as Facebook to drive viewers’ content choices. An impressive 49% of female Facebook users admitted that social chat on the network had encouraged them to check out a new show – Twitter is also starting to make waves, with 16% of men following suit.

As well as encouraging viewers to tune in to a new programme as it first airs, Facebook is also impacting on the amount of people choosing to engage with catch up TV services, thanks to the 83% of people who tend to talk about a TV show the day after it has aired (and beyond). 70% of viewers eagerly discuss shows during the ad breaks, and 75% who take to the networks as soon as it has finished.

Whilst older viewers are less likely to be swayed by social network interactions, both Facebook and Twitter have been shown to have a strong affect on viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, with the majority of viewers in this demographic encouraged to tune in to a new programme purely based on network chatter. The effect of social networks was found to be particularly strong during sporting events, with the recent US Super Bowl proving to be somewhat of a coup for social TV and social network driven marketing.

These statistics come together to paint an interesting picture for the world of social TV, and its power to encourage consumer engagement with both the television shows themselves, and the brands featured. Social networks are now acknowledged by Nielsen as one of the biggest influences on the viewing habits of key demographics, often more so than big budget ads and celebrity endorsements.

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