Social Media Is a Force to Be Reckoned With

Another great article was brought to my attention by Suzanna Keith at Revolutionarymarketingideas. Consistent with her mission of researching revolutionary insights and ideas to grow brands, she highlights an AdWeek article that features a SocialGuide Intelligence snapshot taken over two days in February tracking social response to TV content via Twitter.

Some great infographics by Carlos Monteiro show the results of their examination of tweets related to 213 channels over a two-day period.

This information demonstrates the great value that social media represent to market research. I lack sufficient analysis to draw in depth conclusions, but the data points to the fact that a high degree of engagement drives tweets. The implications for marketing research is that social media provides a good tool to mine important information about consumer brand preference. The implications for marketing execution are that  it is more important than ever to know your target segments in order to maximize the effect of social media in complementing your campaign by generating a buzz among likely demographics.

Which Program Types Generate the Most Tweets?

  • Reality TV was the most active, with 19% of all tweets.
  • Series were the most-tweeted program, with more than half the tweets (in keeping with the volume of programs they represent.)
  • Sports fans were the most active with 37% percent of tweets and only 3 percent of program volume!

Social Media Can Gauge Customer Segments’ Brand Preference

Related Research recently featured on AdWeek, Social Data Uncovers Brand, TV Show Affinity, was conducted by Bluefin Labs, a Cambridge, Mass.-based social TV analytics firm. Much of their findings is intuitive, but strongly suggestive of the extent of the power of social media as a market research tool vs. traditional forms of research, such as focus groups.

Some intuitive general findings appear to confirm, for instance, that suggesting a young audience tweets more: MTV’s Video Music Awards led the overall list of programs generating social media buzz, with 3.15 million comments, and The X Factor on Fox was the top series with an average of 137,000 comments per telecast.

The most promising area involves research into brand and audience segment, for which Bluefin took a more in depth look at TV data,  comparing competitive brands. The findings are also fairly intuitive, but this is strongly suggestive of the great potential of social media to capture audience preferences, which can be translated to actionable engagement strategies.

Wallmart vs. Target:

People who create online buzz about Walmart are most likely to tweet or comment about the following “less than lofty” programs:

  • Lifetime’s America’s Supernanny,
  • CMT’s Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team and
  • truTV’s Las Vegas Jailhouse.

People commenting about Target, seem to go for more wholesome TV fare, and represent consumers who commented on programs involving cooking and home makeovers such as:

  • CMT’s Top Secret Recipe and
  • HGTV’s My Yard Goes Disney.

Coke vs. Pepsi

Bluefin Labs looked at all the people in the social media universe who commented positively or negatively on a particular brand, and then identified the TV programs these users most frequently mentioned. Bluefin Labs created a “show index” to rank the shows, normalized on an index of 100.

People who commented about Coke watched a lot of TLC and ESPN:

  • ESPNews, leads the top 10 list for Coke with a show index of 234 – those commenting about Coke are more than twice as likely to tweet or talk about this program.
  • Three of the top 10 shows that overindex for Coke conversations are on ESPN.
  • TLC is the most represented, followed by ESPN among all shows that overindex for Coke .

By contrast, the top 10 for people who tweet and talk about Pepsi didn’t comment on any sports shows:

  • The Mortified Sessions on Sundance leads the list.
  • The Exes on TV Land is second.
  • Prophets of Science Fiction on Science was third.
  • Nick Jr. was the leading network for Pepsi.
  • ABC, NBC and TLC tied for second.

Other findings:

Bluefin Labs also sliced the data by broader audience segments, comparing beer and wine drinkers, and cat and dog owners. The company identified the lifestyle groups by analyzing historical social media chatter and then ranked the shows each group talked about most. The findings are rather intuitive.

  • Sports programming features prominently on the top 10 list for beer drinkers.
  • Fashion and relationship-related programming dominates the list for wine drinkers.

Social Media’s Growing Role in Marketing

Gauging Campaign Effectiveness: Tom Thai, VP of marketing and business development at Bluefin Labs said,“Social TV is not just about how much people talk during the shows,” Thai said. “What people say about brands and commercials is also  a big part. We’ll be able to, in 2012, tell a lot more interesting stories about how real-world audiences in social media react to TV campaigns and react to brands.”

Understanding Synergies between Paid and Earned Media:  Kate Sirkin, EVP of global research at Starcom MediaVest Group—which recently announced it was partnering with Bluefin Labs to help inform its clients media buys—noted that “understanding the cause-and-effect relationship between paid and earned media is a challenge. Bluefin Labs’ data provides us with an incredibly valuable new data set to evaluate this relationship.”

Targeting and Engaging The Best Segments for The Brand : Thai said that over the past year his company has been sharing the “basic building blocks” of social TV analytics with TV networks and agencies, and  the next step is to make the information brand specific. “Brands really want the shows with the most social conversations as it applies to their brand as well as other brands . . . or audiences or lifestyle segments that they care about.”

Snap Principle of Paid and Earned Media Synergy:

Social media is an invaluable opportunity to:

  • better understand customer segments’ receptiveness to your campaigns
  • more effectively reach customer segments through powerful word of mouth.