Social TV ad targeting got a major boost last week as Twitter made its service available to all TV marketers in the United States. Twitter got an early start as the de facto second-screen companion to television through the promotional use of hashtags by TV networks. Now, following a beta that rolled out in May, the company is doubling down with its ad product built for nationalized televised commercials.
"The results of the beta test reveal that the impact of using Twitter in combination with TV advertising is significantly greater than that of using TV advertising alone," notes Michael Fleischman, founder of Bluefin Labs, which was acquired by Twitter in February.
Nielsen and a handful of brands joined with Twitter to test the effectiveness of its TV advertising product, and drove "significantly higher message association and purchase intent" in their early results, adds Fleischman, who now serves as product manager of revenue at Twitter. "During a handful of studies, users that Twitter identified as being exposed on TV and then engaged with a promoted tweet demonstrate 95 percent stronger message association and 58 percent higher purchase intent compared to users identified as being exposed on TV alone," he notes.
While Facebook hasn't made as big of a splash in TV ad targeting, company executives make it clear that the world's dominant social network won't be left out of what many consider to be among the most promising aspects of social advertising. "We have a massive and engaged audience around the world that brands can use to build awareness and drive scale. Every night 88 million to 100 million people are actively using Facebook during primetime TV hours in the United States alone," Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, says during the company's latest earnings call. "I think what people are increasingly seeing is that we have a big brand opportunity. We have a massive engaged audience...We offer discovery and we have a unique opportunity to take people all the way through the funnel," she adds.
Most people who are actively engaging with a second screen while watching TV are going to be on Twitter or Facebook, says John Fletcher, senior analyst at SNL Kagan. Facebook and Twitter are generating leverage in television through their sheer volume of users, the amount of ads they can move, and a growing expertise in digital advertising, he adds.
"There's a lot of competition out there and a lot of interesting ideas coming from the smaller guys. But when it comes down to it for advertising you want reach, you need eyeballs. The little guys are just scrapping for eyeballs now, whereas Twitter and Facebook don't have to wage that battle right now," Fletcher tells ClickZ.
Live programming will be key to any effective use of social TV ad targeting, he says, adding that live sporting events and TV show premieres are gaining the most traction today.
"The guys who are managing social in the television business understand that people are talking in real time about what they're watching," says Nick Lynch, co-founder and VP of sales and marketing at OakReach, a content marketing and native ad platform. "I think it's amazing the way that digital is looking at TV and not trying to devour it, but trying to enhance it," he adds.
Social TV advertising lives in a unique framework that requires a different approach from marketers, says Fletcher. "It's kind of like a different mindset I think you have to take in going into the campaign to begin with. It depends on what your goals are. If your goal is just spray and pray, then you just want to hit as many eyeballs as you can, you want reach. If your goal is to really engage with your top customers or turn that engagement into a conversion to a sale, it's just a different approach to it," he says. "That person that does click through, they're your No. 1 fan. You better roll out the red carpet for those people."
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Matt Kapko has been writing about mobile since 2006, before it became cool. Based in Long Beach, CA, he has covered mobile entertainment, digital media, marketing, and advertising for several business media outlets. A former editor and reporter for RCR Wireless News, paidContent, and iMedia Connection, Matt is a regular freelance reporter for ClickZ. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattKapko or drop him a line at email@example.com.
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