Social Media Not As Effective As Promos

A new survey by the Council for Research Excellence shows social media is exceeded by traditional TV promos, which are at least three times as influential in helping viewers find new shows.

One of every six times a viewer is watching primetime TV, that viewer also is using social media, according to a Council for Research Excellence (CRE) study. About half of social media activity while users are watching TV relates to the TV programming.

Social media appeared twice as effective for attracting viewers to new shows (6.8%) as returning shows (3.3%).

Social media activity about new shows peaks around show premieres.  Specials, indexing at 212, sci-fi, at 152, and sports, at 129, lead among genres in socially connected TV viewing.

Social media is still exceeded by traditional TV promos, which were at least three times as influential in helping viewers find new shows, according to the study results.

These are among many findings from the CRE’s recently completed study, “Talking Social TV 2,” a follow-up to the CRE’s 2013 “Talking Social TV” study. This newest study was conducted for the CRE during the fall 2013 TV season by a research team from Keller Fay Group and fielded by Nielsen Life360. The findings were gleaned 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, permitting case studies on some 1,600 shows.

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


The study provides these findings, among others, regarding demographics:


  • The profile of someone interacting daily with TV via social media skews 58% female and 20% Hispanic, with a median age of 35.
  • Hispanics are the demographic group most engaged with social TV while viewers are watching, indexing at 143.
  • 10% of the time a Hispanic viewer is watching a primetime TV show, the viewer is using social media in connection with that show.
  • Facebook social-TV users skew female and Hispanic, and aged 35-44.
  • Twitter users were found to be more evenly split by gender and among Hispanics and African Americans and more skewed to the 15-24 and 25-34 age groups.

A presentation of findings to the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) Re:Think conference can be found on the Social Media Committee page of the CRE website.

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

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