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Getting Creative with Social TV

March 17, 2015

by Michael Palmer

Advertisers and agencies are always looking for the next big thing in advertising- new technology, new trends- anything that will make their ads work better, smarter, and harder.  What’s the latest for 2015? Social TV campaigns. 

Nearly 130 million people used social media during the Super Bowl to talk about the game, the halftime show, and the ads. This impressive number reflects the trend of growing social media engagement around big events, but it's also happening on a day-to-day basis.  TV viewers use social apps during and after their favorite shows, to tweet about what they think will happen, what ended up happening, to “like” brand Facebook pages, and look up advertised products that piqued their interest.   Without a doubt, social media is changing TV in a big way, and advertisers and broadcasters are looking for ways to get involved and capitalize. 

Live shows like "The Voice", as well as sports and news programming, use Twitter feeds to significantly amplify viewer engagement. Advertisers are now taking this idea a step further, in ads with text and images from social media channels layered onto the TV spot. This means an advertiser can run a campaign that starts with an ad asking viewers to engage with them via social apps. Viewers today can “like” advertiser pages, hashtag something creative, and in return receive coupons, special offers, and discounts. Advertisers can take it even another step, with opportunities to get their tweet or Instagram photo displayed during the commercial, or even star in the brand’s next national TV ad. Popular examples include Budweiser’s “Up For Whatever” campaign and Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” challenge, where ordinary people were given the chance to create a commercial that would be aired and voted on during the game. 

What do agencies, advertisers, and brands get out of this?  Beyond increasing brand awareness and loyalty, these types of campaigns show significant increase in ROI. People who are more engaged are more likely to take the call to action, whatever it may be. 

To create these campaigns, advertisers generate many versions of the same ad with different social content. Currently, this translates to more effort required in ad operations, both for the creative teams and for the agencies as a whole. Many processes are still manual and not easy to scale, leading to more emails, spreadsheets, and even faxes. As technology brings about new opportunities for advertisers, agencies, and creative, the industry needs to find technological solutions that automate the process as much as possible.  And, we need advertisers and agencies alike to find more sophisticated, interesting ways to use these solutions in their campaigns. Incorporating social engagement into TV spots is a huge untapped resource for success, and it’s time to tap into it.