Social TV Advertising
Last year, Nielsen began including TV-related Twitter conversations in its traditional ratings system, with the results revealing how dramatically social media has expanded television advertising's potential outreach. Twitter conversation about live TV grew 24 percent year-over-year between the second quarters of 2012 and 2013, expanding to 19 million unique people and 263 million tweets. Results showed that for every person tweeting about a live show, fifty more were following the Twitter conversation. This multiplier effect vastly extends the outreach of TV ads beyond their initial audience to viewers' social networks, making it imperative to factor the potential for follow-up sharing into ad concepts.
Television's social turn reflects how stationary TV screens are becoming increasingly integrated with their mobile counterparts on multiple fronts. In a broadband age, consumers who used to receive television, computer, and phone services as separate items can now compare TV and internet providers who offer bundled packages delivered over the same wireless network. Digital media players such as Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, and the forthcoming Amazon Firetube enable broadcasts to be shared between devices, according to The Verge. Ad producers are exploiting this merger of media by designing formats such as Vine videos that can play on both traditional and mobile screens, inviting home audiences to share conversations with remote friends, as Adweeek reveals.
Viral Promotional Content
The rise of Vine videos illustrates how social conversations about multimedia content are driving viral campaigns. Mashable explains how the Harlem Shake fad, one of the top YouTube phenomena of 2013, showed how encouraging audiences to get into the video production act could push content distribution to viral proportions. Mobile users were also eager to share photos and graphics with their friends, propelling Instagram to expand its audience by 66 percent in 2013 and come within a percentage point of Twitter's market share, according to Pew research. Conversation-generating content is proving a winning formula for maximizing audience outreach.
Discussion-driven Search Engine Rankings
Social conversations are also weighing into search engine marketing. An annual Moz study found a strong correlation between Google +1 button endorsements and search engine rankings. Analysis indicated that +1 endorsements have a ripple effect, resulting in content sharing that creates organic backlinks. Experiments by media companies such as the Los Angeles Times and Huffington Post have found that embedded Facebook comments can give content a comparable boost. For PR professionals, generating social discussion is becoming increasingly vital for staying relevant to the marketing conversation.