Consumers' interaction with social media in relation to their television viewing is relatively modest compared to other forms of communication, and lags behind other online media, TV promotions and, especially, offline communication, according to a new study.
The research, spearheaded by the Social Media Committee of the Council for Research Excellence (CRE), included a quantitative study by the Keller Fay Group, an ethnographic study by Nielsen Life360, and social media analyses by NM Incite and Bluefin Labs. It found that only 12% of respondents use social media one or more times per day concerning TV.
However, the number jumps to 37% using social media one or more times per week – suggesting growth potential for social media as an influence on TV viewing. Half of these respondents report viewing TV concurrently with using social media.
The research also identified several groups who are highly connected to social media and television, and who represent an important opportunity for marketers. These super connectors, defined as those most actively involved in social media usage related to TV viewing, are 12% of the public, and tend to be younger and are more likely female. Other groups also are active, although super connectors are not well-represented among adults over 45.
"There has been a lot of buzz about the relationship between social-media usage and TV consumption, but until now there has not been a lot of thorough analysis," Rockwood said. "As was our objective, this study has helped us gain insights about the increased role of social media in television viewing and the impact that has on consumer behaviours. It also has given us a better understanding of how measurement of consumer behaviours can be improved, as well as the characteristics of the 'super connecters', the most active and influential users of social media."
Super connectors are also far more likely to be involved with all means of communication about television (online, marketing and word of mouth). They were two to three times as likely to interact with social media related to television as the general population.
In terms of social media influence, only 1.5% of study respondents report being drawn to existing TV shows by social media – but that number increases to 6% when asked about new shows. Social media use also varies by genre; sci-fi, sports and talk/news show strong interaction overall, both while people are watching and while they are not watching. Reality programming's interaction is much stronger while people are watching, but less so before or after the programme. And comedy follows an opposite pattern, with less interaction during the programme, and more interaction in reaction to it.
Hispanics are more involved with social media than the general population, especially while watching television. However, they did not approach the level of interaction of the Super Connectors. While watching, Hispanics are 50% more likely to interact with social media related to television, and to interact with most television genres, led by sports programming;
Mobile device ownership (smartphones and tablets) increases social media interaction; in on-demand and online watching occasions, social media played a role twice as often. People use social media to discuss TV shows even when others are watching with them.