Watch for Social TV to be the next ‘big thing’ now that Twitter is on the action, snapping up the social TV analytics company Bluefin Labs, a company that has cracked the code on how to track how people are talking about brands and TV shows on Twitter.
The acquisition can be read as a starting gun for a new race in a new space, and smart companies are already jockeying for position, building the capabilities to take advantage of massive opportunity at the intersection of our social chatter and the entertainment we watch and want to share.
The timing could be better to recount the news and views from SocialTVConf, a conference cleverly dedicated to this hot topic that made its debut in London. Hosting keynotes and discussions on topics ranging from the success of celebrity social media management to the what is driving multi-screen audience engagement, the inaugural conference drew a large and diverse audience — as broad as this new business ecosystem itself.
Here’s my pick of three presentations/discussions that provided the deepest insights and best direction:
Social@Ogilvy stresses analytics
This presentation, hosted by James Whatley, Senior Associate Director at Social@Ogilvy, outlined some of the mistakes the industry makes — and can avoid. Addressing the three key players (broadcasters, agencies, brands) James provided valuable advice and boldly begged the question: Is social TV any good?
- Social TV could be better. Broadcasters need to learn that TV is a one- way medium, and that they have to include, not exclude other channels that enhance the experience. Isolation doesn’t work — neither do twitter walls or attempts to somehow separate our tweets (and conversation) from context. As he put it: the consumer is there to watch content, so why would they care?
- Agencies need to “think things through.” Sure, it’s about stimulating conversations around brands and campaigns, but it’s also about measuring real results. James gave the example of #DriveTime (which he also details on his blog here). He showed that, in the case of #drivetime, a Twitter conversation does indeed gather momentum, but it also creates more than buzz. It creates a lot of data that can be hugely useful – if companies analyze it for patterns and even hidden opportunities.
- Brands need to wake up: It’s all about their objectives. If they want to sell something using social TV, then be social. This doesn’t mean stick up a Twitter wall; it means thinking outside of the box. As James put it: Since people aren’t really looking at advertising (perhaps because they are too busy looking at their phones) brands have to get in front of us on our terms. That interaction will take place through social media. If you want to achieve your objectives, then get social!
Peggy adds: James’ presentation (below) is packed with insights and straight-talk you would expect from an industry veteran and social media marketing authority. Great stuff, James!
Tiffany St James: Move from schedule-based to behavior-based content
The advance of multi-screen experiences (mobile, tablet, console) and the flexibility offered by providers such as Netflix, Hulu and YouView allow people to watch programs when and how they want. Against this backdrop Tiffany warns broadcasters that the time is NOW for broadcasters to integrate social media campaigns as part of their overall strategy rather than rely on pot luck. She urges broadcasters to decide their strategy( partner directly with social networks or build their own platforms for more control and ad revenue — or a mix of both) and start creating valuable content that extends the story outside of the show.
Tiffany connects the dots in studies from sources such as Ericsson to provide a picture of this new segment.
- 62 percent use social media such as Twitter while watching TV, an increase of 18 percent since 2011
- 12 percent of new U.K. TV shows have Facebook pages, compared with more than double (30 percent) in the U.S. Nonetheless, there are signs that U.K. gets the importance to start being social even before the show starts. UK show The Voice had an impressive 24,885 Twitter followers before broadcast
- For 18–25 year olds Facebook is the desired medium with 25 percent using the social networking site to express opinions etc about TV content, compared to 10 percent using Twitter.
@SecondSync: Real-time engagement is really valuable
Social media has completely changed the rules, turning static information into fluid content that we control (and influence). But what is the real — and quantifiable — impact of all on business and brands? For Ted Littledale, Product Director at SecondSync, a company offering social media analytics, tweets are DE FACTO CURRENCY for SocialTV. Thus, the success of a social TV campaign can be quickly determined by the number of tweets it generates. His presentation takes us on a tour of top U.K. shows and their value measured by the conversations they sparked on Twitter.
- Currently there are 6 million Twitter users who discuss TV. That’s 60 percent of total Twitter users in the U.K. Not an audience, or an opportunity, you would want to miss.
- A single onscreen hashtag can generate 10,000s of tweets, and 750 program per day, it seems ridiculous not to integrate social into TV programming or brand advertising.
- Ted predicts that 2013 will see social become a kind of secondary currency in TV media planning — and this will make it critical for broadcasters to integrate social, encourage interaction and measure the results.
This regular feature, which highlights the key takeaways from mobile reports and insights important to running your business, is curated by Sophie Young , a member of the éclat team who has a passion for mobile trends, apps and her new Galaxy Note. If you have a report or survey you think should be included in this regular roundup, then reach out to Sophie directly via email email@example.com or Twitter (@PheeYoung).