Optimizing Second Screen Engagement: Lessons for Brands From Twitter

Joel LunenfeldDay 2 of SES New York started off with a keynote by Joel Lunenfeld, Vice President of Global Brand Strategy from Twitter. He went beyond talking about social being the second screen experience and started off with a bang saying Twitter is the second screen.

He started off discussing mobile and how Twitter users are more engaged when they use their mobile devices. For example, the average user will interact with six brands on Twitter. When using their phones, the average number goes up to 11 brands.

While it’s not a requirement, Twitter started as a concept for communicating via an SMS-like service via mobile. Today, Twitter users are still very mobile.

Next, Lunenfeld explained that Twitter is the social soundtrack for TV. The “social soundtrack” is a concept that’s been around a while. It’s basically a commentary that happens on your couch, watching TV, talking to your family and friends. But it’s now moving to Twitter.

Lunenfeld presented a graph showing tweet spikes while certain shows are on. Ninety-five percent of all the conversations about TV shows is happening on twitter. Nielsen and Twitter are combining for a new metric in TV engagement. The “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating” metric will correlate TV engagement and ratings. they’ve already been able to correlate an 8.5 percent increase in Twitter volume increasing the ratings for TV premieres by 1 percent. In mid-season it only takes 4.2 percent increase in twitter volume to increase ratings by 1 percent.

Lunenfeld mentioned several TV shows that engage with their audience. For “American Idol”, where you see the bottom third of the screen filled with live Twitter voting, he describes Twitter as a “character” on the screen. “Hawaii Five-0” had a live vote for their “choose your own ending” episode. By voting by tweet, the audience could choose which character was the guilty party. They had recorded three different endings. The winning ending, by Twitter vote, was aired.

But it’s not only TV shows. Advertisers are getting in on the real-time action of Twitter. Fifty percent of Super Bowl ads this year used hashtags. TV commercials using hashtags averaged 1.6X higher engagement on Twitter. Lunenfeld told the SES New York audience that brands are using Twitter in three main ways:

  • Brand taglines
  • Leverage existing conversations (on air)
  • Campaign specific calls to action.

Taglines are fairly common. You see them all the time with a hashtag – #dothedew for example. Leveraging existing conversations that are happening on TV involves getting the audience engaged with both the show and your brand. You have a live, captive audience who are eager to engage more with the show. The brands don’t necessarily need to hijack the conversation. But by being a part of it, you build awareness and bolster your brand’s perception.

Lunenfeld gave examples of how brands are engaging directly with people on Twitter. For example, Twitter teamed up with ESPN for both College Football and now NCAA tournament tweeted replays. Each replay included a short 5-7 second commercial just before the replay. This allowed them to reach a captive audience who were eagerly awaiting news and updates on their favorite sporting events.

Lunenfeld next talked about real-time brands. The now legendary Oreo “blackout” tweet. Chobani also did it for the Oscars, too.

Engagement matters. Promoted Tweets translate to higher brand favorability and purchase intent. Purchase intent increases by 53 percent. Think about it. You don’t take a screen capture of a banner ad and email it to your friends. But on Twitter, that happens all the time. Real-time marketing is about winning the moment. Big Bird trended on Twitter during the election campaigns when Mitt Romney talked about cutting PBS funding.

By capitalizing on all these engaging moments, brands have a truly unique platform to get creative and conversational with their audiences. With the new metrics from Nielsen, this will only continue to grow in the future.

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