When it comes to TV advertising engagement, it turns out that viewer reactions to ads depends on how they feel about the programme that they’re watching.
Twitter partnered with media agency Starcom and Canvs, a social TV analytics company that studies emotions within social media content, to understand how programming influenced viewers’ emotions, as tracked by tweets. And in turn, it examined how those emotions drove an audience’s ability to both remember TV commercials and act on them.
The research found that there was higher ad recall for TV shows that elicit emotional reactions, as measured by Twitter. Canvs identifies the instances when a high percentage of tweets about a TV programme contains emotional reactions. During such programmes, viewers are 48% more likely to recall an ad than those who watched programmes that have a lower reaction rate.
‘Reaction rate’ is defined as the percentage of tweets associated with a given programme that have emotions compared with all of the tweets for that programme. The Twitter data is compiled by Nielsen and analysed by Canvs.
“This research shows that audiences who are emotionally invested in a TV show are more responsive to both TV advertising and corresponding Twitter advertising — finally dismissing the nagging notion of the distracted social viewer,” explained Kate Sirkin, global head of audience measurement, Publicis Media.
“Social and emotional TV data combined help illustrate the value of emotional engagement for brands beyond a single impression on either screen. This can be done with Twitter TV targeting, which lets brands build cross-screen frequency with people who are engaging with shows on Twitter.”
In an era where attention isn’t guaranteed, if viewers are doing anything else while watching TV, you want them to be following the conversation on Twitter. The research found that people who used Twitter while watching a TV programme — whether actively tweeting or just following along — were 62% more likely to recall the brands that advertised during the programme over people who were not on Twitter.
The study also zeroed in on viewers who were emotionally invested in a programme, as expressed by tweeting responses like “love” and “excited,” instead of simply noting they were following along. Emotionally invested viewers were three times more likely to recall advertisers than people who tweet with more neutral messages. Further, 61% of this emotionally reactive group said they were likely to purchase from that brand now or in the future.
Marketers can take away a few bits of advice from the findings. For one, they should target TV programmes that are more likely to elicit an emotional response on Twitter. They can find the kind of programming that resonates emotionally with the audience they’re seeking to reach, and then use Twitter targeting to align campaigns with these shows.
They can also sync TV ad campaigns with promoted tweets to reinforce a message. TV advertisers running concurrent Twitter ad campaigns experienced an average 9% lift in ad recall, compared with campaigns that did not run promoted tweets. Dramatic moments such as voting, cliffhangers, and the final minutes of a close game are all great opportunities to spark further conversation.
The study results dovetail with research by YuMe which found that emotional response significantly increases attention, recall and message breakthrough.
Presenting 550 people with 11 different ad formats, representing five brands, on PCs, mobile phones and connected TV sets, the study was predicated in part on the concept of implicit reaction time, or IRT. This measures how quickly and closely a respondent’s brain connects distinct, intricate networks of associations that are the foundations for our images, feelings and intentions.
The survey found that the faster a user responds, the stronger and more emphatic connection he or she is likely to have with a brand or product and therefore, the higher the conviction to purchase it. And Twitter, of course, is a real-time medium that requires a fast response in order to participate in it.
Interactive ads, according to this theory, succeed best because they increase certainty, illustrated by a shorter reaction time; thus, facilitating higher conviction and less inhibition.