Study: Twitter Response Leads to TV Ad Recall

Commercials are more likely to be recalled when they appear in TV shows that provoke an emotional response, according to a new study.

The study looked at viewers' reactions to shows on Twitter and when their tweets contained emotional responses to a show, as measured by research company Canvs, those viewers were 48% more likely to recall an ad than viewers who watched programs that drew less of a reaction.

The takeaway from the study is that buyers should find programming that resonates emotionally with the target audience. Twitter’s pitch is that it can be used as a tool to align campaigns with the appropriate shows.

“This research shows that audiences who are emotionally invested in a TV show are more responsive to both TV advertising and corresponding Twitter advertising—finally dismissing the nagging notion of the distracted social viewer. Social and emotional TV data combined help illustrate the value of emotional engagement for brands beyond a single impression on either screen,” said Kate Sirkin, executive VP, director of audience and measurement solutions at Starcom Mediavest Group, which participated in the study. “This can be done with Twitter TV targeting, which lets brands build cross-screen frequency with people who are engaging with shows on Twitter."

Twitter users who expressed the strongest emotional reactions by using terms such as “love” or “excited” were three times more likely to recall advertisers than those who registered more tepid responses. Among the viewers Canvs identified as emotionally reactive, 61% said they were likely to purchase that brand now or in the future.

The study also found that people who use Twitter while watching a TV show were 62% more likely to recall the brands advertising during the show, compared to people who were not on Twitter. That included both people who were actively tweeting as well as those reading what was being said.

Naturally, Twitter endorses using promoted tweets to reinforce campaign messages. It says TV advertisers who use Twitter campaigns at the same time see a 9% lift in recall.

The study was conducted by Twitter’s Social TV Lab, which is a partnership with Starcom, and surveyed 3,536 viewers. Twitter reaction data was compiled by Nielsen and analyzed by Canvs.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.