Research: TV Promos Still More Effective Than Social Media

A new study into the relationship of social media and television finds that social media is an increasingly important component of TV viewing, with about one in six viewers using social media during primetime and that half of that social media usage was related to TV, according to a new study from the Council for Research Excellence (CRE).

But the study also found that traditional TV promos remain more effective than social media and that promos and commercials were the number one drive of the decision to view new shows.

Nearly two in five viewers (39.7%) reported that they were prompted to see a new show after seeing a commercial or TV promo, versus 6.8% of those who reported they saw something on social media about the show.

Promos were also more important for returning shows, with 9% reporting they had seen a commercial or promo versus 3.3% for those who saw something about the show on social media.

In contrast, about 6.1% said they had found the returning show by flipping through channels and that 8.9% had found the new show by flipping through channels.

Traditional program scheduling also remained important, with 10.2% saying they saw a new show because it came after a show they had just watched and 4% reported seeing a returning show because it followed the program they had just viewed.

Other notable findings included the fact that social media is twice as effective for attracting viewers to new shows (6.8%) as returning shows (3.3%) and that social media usage peaks around show premieres.

The genres most influenced by social media are specials, followed by science fiction, sports, movies, reality and drama.

The study also confirms other research showing that active users of social TV skew younger, with those aged 15 to 34 more likely to engage in social TV and that Hispanics are the heaviest users.

In terms of different social media platforms, the study found that Facebook skews female and Hispanic while Twitter skews younger.

The study “Talking Social TV 2” is a follow-up to the CRE’s 2013 “Talking Social TV” study. The results will be discussed on March 24 at the Advertising Research Foundation Re:Think conference.

“Social media definitely has become established as a ‘second-screen’ for a select group of viewers,” said Beth Rockwood, senior VP of market resources, Discovery Communications and chair of the CRE Social Media Committee in a statement. “Social marketing seems effective in generating conversation around new season premieres, particularly with certain genres of programming.”

The study was conducted for the CRE by a research team from the Keller Fay Group and fielded by Nielsen Life360, the CRE reports.

The findings were based from more than 78,000 mobile-app diary entries submitted by nearly 1,700 study participants (age 15-54), across a broad set of demographics.

The CRE will share the full report on its website later this spring.