Consumers are spending more time on Twitter to catch highlights from TV, creating an incremental opportunity for video ads and deeper brand engagement.
The video landscape is growing ever more fragmented and is changing as rapidly as consumer behaviors. People have more and more options of platforms to watch premium content, which makes reaching these audiences more complex than ever before. As viewers shift between devices, platforms, and content formats, brands are faced with the challenge to keep up and reach their audiences where they are.
In this age of audience fragmentation, Twitter can act as an agent of connection. More and more, fans are turning to Twitter for real-time highlights, recaps and exclusive content that allows them to connect more deeply with the live TV events and shows they love, as well as with their fellow fans.
Twitter’s role as TV viewers’ “second screen” of choice is of particular interest to brands. For example, ratings typically decline during commercial breaks, but a Nielsen Custom Analytics study commissioned by Twitter in October 2021 found a 21% lift in Tweets during commercial breaks across live TV sports and award shows.1 By extending their investment to Twitter during these instances, advertisers can ensure their audience is seeing their messaging, no matter where they turn their attention.
As these behaviors continue to evolve, not only is Twitter solidifying its role as the second-screen companion to both live and on-demand TV, it is increasingly becoming the "first scroll” for viewers who may have missed the linear broadcast. Daily video views on Twitter (as defined by the Media Ratings Council, those with at least two seconds of viewing) are up 13% in Q1 2022 versus Q1 2021.2 And with this increase in daily video views, Twitter has been able to develop a deeper understanding of the motivations behind video consumption, specifically around TV: 59% of people surveyed say that they watch TV highlights specifically on Twitter.3
Fans gravitate to Twitter to watch video highlights for a variety of reasons, one of them being the variety of premium content—61% of people on Twitter watch content daily because of the variety of content.4
New opportunities for advertisers
Twitter’s ability to extend and amplify the live TV viewing experience is key to driving incremental reach across all demographics, including capturing younger, harder-to-reach audiences: According to Nielsen's Total Ad Ratings Meta Analysis, commissioned by Twitter, the platform delivered a 39% average incremental reach to TV across all campaigns for ages 18-24.5 This is a critical metric as brands adapt strategies to reach consumers where they are spending their time: tuning into the timeline.
According to an agency investment leader, “Twitter and social video should be a part of each client’s video mix to complement reach and frequency in support of the larger linear/CTV strategy. An example is how complementary their inventory is to award show tent poles, live sports or being around the conversation. Twitter will start to evolve as a key partner as more and more budgets weave off linear and onto OLV platforms.”
While fans may be scattered across devices and platforms to watch TV, they congregate on Twitter to talk as fan communities and watch complementary content. These communities are also very receptive to brands. Based on a Twitter Insiders survey, 64% of people on Twitter like it when brands join the conversation surrounding TV shows and 61% agree that brands partnering with TV shows makes them more relevant.6 According to another Twitter study, 52% of people who watch TV highlights on Twitter do so because they want to see what brands are posting about these highlights/video clips.7
“The value is that Twitter can put a brand front and center in a conversation happening virtually," said another agency investment leader. "Being able to insert your brand seamlessly in social video is helping tie together different channel strategies while finding that brand’s target audience.”
Premium content that amplifies brands
Just as Twitter extends the live TV experience for fans, brands have an opportunity to extend the depth and impact of TV sponsorships on Twitter. Twitter’s Amplify sponsorship program pairs brands with premium publisher content and allows them to advertise directly within the Twitter feeds of the target audience. Brands can sponsor these moments from live TV with pre-roll and other products such as livestreams, polls, Q&As, Twitter Spaces, content integration or custom content.
“Social platforms are unique in the sense that people who are active within the app are choosing to engage in a specific conversation," said one agency investment leader. "They have already shown intent by choosing to allocate their attention within the app. It’s the brand’s job then of inserting themselves into positive conversations that happen on the platform.”
The TV conversation continues after the broadcast
When brands connect to premium content on Twitter, they have the opportunity to extend the value of their linear investments as fans return to the platform for more content and conversation. People on Twitter go back to our sports content days and weeks after the sporting events, reliving the moments and rewatching the highlights.8 And, while streaming services are continuing to gain popularity on the Timeline, the conversation around linear has not slowed down. In a Nielsen study, linear still held its own as a percentage of the total TV conversation and sports was a huge part of that.9
Brands can tap into that passionate fan base by joining the conversation on Twitter—and surrounding the content that viewers are watching—and even becoming part of that conversation in shows those brands are sponsoring on linear.
Although big-ticket live programming such as award shows and the Super Bowl garner the highest audience engagement on Twitter, TV series are also driving significant conversation. Popular shows including “Insecure,” “Stranger Things,” “The Mandalorian” and “Black Mirror” were among the top 30 most social shows as ranked by the Nielsen study.10 As this data suggests, brands have a growing opportunity to engage with audiences on an ongoing basis around weekly shows and live TV events.
On TV and social media, as in life, timing is everything. Brands have the opportunity to reach audiences across a device-agnostic and continually evolving TV landscape by connecting with them at crucial TV moments on the second screen. For marketers confronted by the shifting sands of an increasingly fragmented audience and media world, Twitter offers a point of connection.
Doug is the director of North America agency and platform solutions at Twitter. Follow him on Twitter @DougBrodman.
This article was originally published by Ad Age Studio 30.
¹ Nielsen Custom Analysis, commissioned by Twitter, October 2021, USA. Nielsen NPOWER (Live, Minute by Minute Ratings), Talkwalker Social Content Ratings, Persons 13+ , 1/5/2019 – 4/1/2021.
² Twitter Internal Data, MRC video views, Q1 2021 vs. Q1 2022, USA
³ Twitter Insiders, CES Study, November 2021, USA. (Respondents are people who watch highlights on Twitter))
⁴ Twitter Insiders, Twitter Is a Video Destination Survey, April 2022, USA.
⁵ Twitter Insiders, Entertainment Study, July 2021, USA.
⁶ Twitter Insiders, CES Study, November 2021, USA.
⁷ Sparkler, Commissioned by Twitter, Highlights Survey, March 2022, USA.
⁸ Nielsen Custom Analysis, commissioned by Twitter, October 2021, USA. Talkwalker Social
⁹ Content Ratings, Persons 13+ , 1/5/2019 – 4/1/2021.
¹⁰ Nielsen Custom Analysis, commissioned by Twitter, October 2021, USA. Talkwalker Social Content Ratings, Persons 13+., “Insecure S4,” “Stranger Things S2 & S3,” “The Mandalorian S1” and “Black Mirror S4”. Social shows are defined as, highest ratio of Tweets & engagement / TV viewership (to create a ‘social TV score’).