Advertising on Twitter drives audiences to watch TV

New Nielsen Watch Effect studies show that audiences are more likely to tune-in to linear TV after being exposed to Twitter media.

We’ve talked before about how Twitter is the perfect complement to TV. Audiences love to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show - as well as the conversations and commentary on Twitter. Yet while it’s never been easier to reach people on a device or screen, it’s also never been harder to get their attention. The competition is fierce for TV marketers to ensure their audience knows about the new and existing programming from their network.

Twitter has been working diligently to help TV marketers measure the impact of their advertising. In a series of new Nielsen studies commissioned by Twitter, we found that audiences are more likely to tune-in to linear TV programming after being exposed to Twitter advertising. This groundbreaking measurement, which Twitter piloted with Viacom and other TV networks, is a milestone for our mobile and social media first platform to demonstrate TV attribution.  

Whether you’re a media planner or a CMO, here’s what marketers can learn:

Twitter drives linear TV tune-in

Nielsen measured the impact of two Twitter campaigns for a broadcast TV network’s coverage of a weekly football game. The campaigns used Promoted Video and In-Stream Video Ads to drive tune-in to the football games aired by the network.

The study found that people exposed only to the Twitter campaign were 23% more likely to watch the football games than people in the control group who weren't served ads. By taking advantage of video on Twitter, the broadcaster scored a touchdown with viewers most interested in their new content and drove them to tune-in.

Twitter and TV have always had a symbiotic and complementary relationship. However, until recently, we’ve not been able to prove Twitter ad efficacy in driving linear tune-in. Now we have that capability, further underscoring Twitter’s commitment to proving ROI for our advertisers with trusted partners like Nielsen.

Mike Dupree, Senior Manager, Media & Entertainment Solutions at Twitter

Twitter + TV helps advertising work even harder

Advertising across multiple channels can be a particularly effective strategy for
driving tune-in. When BET wanted to drive awareness and viewership for its Hip Hop Awards show, the network ran Twitter ads in addition to ads on TV. Nielsen found that people exposed to both the Twitter and TV ads were even more likely to tune-in than those exposed to the TV ads alone.

BET saw a 2X increase in tune-in lift by layering Twitter onto their TV ad campaign for the Hip Hop Awards. This is further evidence for marketers that adding Twitter to your existing TV plan can help effectively break through the crowded media landscape, highlight new content, and drive audiences to tune-in.

Viacom was a top choice of Twitter’s to pilot this measurement due to their marketing sophistication and in-house Audience Science Group (ASG). Together, Twitter, Nielsen, and ASG worked closely on this new attribution solution for the benefit of the Viacom network and the broader industry alike.

Twitter, Nielsen, and ASG worked closely on this new attribution solution, not only for the benefit of the Viacom network, but to bring a new capability for ROI to the TV and digital landscape. We applaud the collaborative efforts of both Twitter and Nielsen and look forward to continuing to innovate more in this area moving forward.

Julian Zilberbrand, EVP Audience Science at Viacom

Twitter + TV has an immediate impact

When BET paired TV with a one-day Twitter ad campaign, the network drove a 7X lift in tune-in among people exposed to ads on both channels compared to people who didn’t see any ads. This compares to a smaller but still sizable 3.5X lift in tune-in for the audience exposed only to BET’s 3-month-long TV ad campaign. In just one day, Twitter worked quickly to engage an audience more effectively than just TV alone.

Twitter is a key platform for us as we look to build anticipation and drive live viewership to our slate of programming at BET. During our tentpole events, we routinely see our audience come to life on Twitter, so naturally we were excited to see strong tune-in lift from our Hip Hop Awards campaign with the platform.

Jeanine Liburd, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, BET

The overall conclusion of our research is simple: Twitter works to launch new shows and amplify existing TV campaigns for both cable and broadcast networks. Adding Twitter to your existing TV campaign will make your advertising work even harder to drive audiences to tune-in.

We’re excited to see Twitter using Nielsen’s Watch Effect capability to showcase the value of the Twitter and TV experience. By bringing together data from our Digital Ad Ratings and National People Meter panel, we’re able to quantify the effect of social advertising in driving TV viewership.

Eric Ferguson, VP, Media Analytics, Nielsen


Nielsen performed an analysis that leveraged Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings to identify exposure to a Twitter ad campaign and linked that exposure to the Nielsen People Meter panel to measure TV ad exposure and program viewership. TV panelists who were not exposed to the campaign were identified and weighted to resemble the exposed group among several key attributes including demographics, geography and previous media behaviors. Comparing tune-in rates for the Test vs. Control groups determined the average incremental lift in program viewership as a result of the ad campaign.

April 18, 2018
  • TV
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Expanding Reach
  • Campaign Analytics
  • Insights
  • Launch on Twitter
  • United States

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