TV Is A “Live” With Social Media And Marketers Benefit.

eMarketer projects MTV to have a global social-media audience of 2.55 billion active users by 2017. This was featured in a recent Variety article that caught my eye. Nick Vivarelli noticed that the power of live television with social media is helping MTV to add viewers, drive reach, increase engagement and is maximizing opportunities for advertisers. He makes a good case.

For marketers trying to reach young consumers, connecting their brands through live shows like live concerts and awards shows with Twitter, Instagram and other social media can produce amazing results. These events are a must-see in real time for fans that can now connect across social platforms. How much?

The MTV Africa Music Awards (known as the Mamas) aired live in 48 countries and trended on Twitter globally, including in the U.S. The Mamas generated more than 1 million page views on the MTV website, a 192% increase. MTV’s Facebook community increased by 80,000, a 79% increase. And its Twitter followers rose by 11,550, a 38% improvement.

These massive results are comparable to last summer’s U.K. MTV event, “Hottest Summer Superstar.” #MTVHottest was used for fans to vote for their favorite artist of the season. #MTVHottest generated 166 million tweets, and led to a 22% increase in viewers of MTV U.K.’s music channels.

The Hollywood Reporter found that “of those who post about TV shows, 76% do so live and 51% do so to feel connected to others who might also be watching.” Hub Entertainment Research found that consumers who report engaging with their favorite shows through Facebook or Twitter said they are more likely to watch shows live. And of the social networks, Twitter is more associated with show engagement. Some 67% of consumers who engage in Twitter related to a show report that it causes them to care more about the show.

Mike Mikco from Advertising Age adds the marketer perspective saying more brands are using social as a megaphone to bolster broadcast campaigns and drive earned media to lower cost per impression. And since people are always talking on social, it allows a brand to monitor and impact the conversation taking TV’s short-term benefits and seeding long-term advocacy.

 Snapple is benefiting from the extra engagement of live voting for America's Got Talent.
Snapple is benefiting from the extra engagement of live voting for America’s Got Talent.

Barbara Liss, director of digital/social media at Quaker Foods says,With the advent of social, brands now have strong loyalty-building opportunities to complement the messages on TV. And if done right, TV can enhance conversation.”

Whether you are seeking a global audience or U.S. social media is turning TV viewing back into a live event with an increased and engaged audience. Have you considered ways to leverage “live” TV through social media?

Leap of Faith? Boardrooms and C-Suite Still Skeptical of Social Media’s Value.

The Guardian reports results of a recent poll of global senior marketers that found only half of all boardrooms are convinced about social media’s value.

Why? It’s hard to see the value of social if you are not there yourself. According to another survey 64% of CEOs do not use social media at all, with only 5% of all Fortune 500 company CEOs on Twitter. So many marketers, advertising and PR pros are running into road blocks with their social pitches when they reach the executive level.

But those executives said they would use social media more if it were helpful to their business (90%) and if they better understood the benefits (60%). In other words, not understanding the  return on investment (ROI)  is a main barrier to social media adoption in the boardroom.

However, it may useful to put ROI into the context of other marketing communications with which executives are already comfortable. I can see this ROI question from the perspective of advertising. As an advertising agency, even when we ran TV ads for a client, unless it was a direct response commercial (think infomercial) we couldn’t directly prove ROI.

For example, we would run commercials for a fast food client to generate awareness. Sales of their sandwiches either went up or they went down. Perhaps it was the commercial but there are many other factors that could have caused it. What we did know is reach – how many eyeballs we bought based on TV ratings.

Today we may have a Facebook page and post pictures of the sandwiches. Showing up in the news feed of consumers generates awareness. Reach in social can be measured by number of fans, shares, etc. passing the branded sandwich pictures on further. But if some see the post, get hungry and go to the restaurant to buy the sandwich we still don’t have a direct measure of ROI.

I think there is a higher standard of ROI in digital because we have been told and sold on “everything” being measurable online. Yet this simply is not true and we forget that many of the traditional marketing we take for granted doesn’t have a direct line of ROI either.

Marketers and the C-Suite and boardrooms make leaps of faith with traditional advertising all the time. How many millions of dollars were spent by Fortune 500s for 30 seconds during the Super Bowl last year? I think it is just harder with social media because it is so new. That said, there is a lot that is provable like the data in the graph below that shows social media drives more leads than traditional advertising.

Again, It might simply come down to the C-Suite’s lack of personal involvement. It’s easier to understand the influence of a TV commercial on purchase decisions when you watch TV, but harder to see how Facebook could influence a purchase decision when you don’t use it yourself. The bottom line is social media marketing works not because executives are using it, but because the customer is using it.

So in addition to social media strategist, we must also be social media educators. Our job is to help executives understand that the rest of the world is embracing social media to make purchase decisions with consumer products and in business-to-business.

As John Andrews of Collective Bias says, “Recent studies have shown that more consumers are relying on social media to help determine what products to buy. They are using social to research, find inspiration, search for coupons, read reviews, etc. Connecting with potential customers via channels they use and trust most, allows brands to find out pertinent information about their target audience as well as themselves.”

Let’s all start building a case for social media marketing acceptance. How do you combat C-Suite Skepticism of social media?

Before You Pronounce Traditional Advertising Dead Check For Its Social Media Pulse.

People love to pronounce things dead. In fact, the phrase “is dead” returns over 226 million Google search results. However, most media and marketing that has been pronounced dead, doesn’t actually die, it just changes into something else. Radio was pronounced dead when TV came along. Instead radio became a valuable local and promotional medium. I still have the cover of WIRED magazine hanging in my office that pronounced Apple computer dead in the 1990’s.

Many have pronounced traditional advertising dead as digital and social media have increased in usage and influence. In 2013 a Harvard Business Review article said, “Traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.” The author’s evidence? More people find information about products/services on their own through the internet and social media. CMO’s lack credibility and can’t prove business growth. It doesn’t make sense to hire 3rd parties to try and sell your products for you. (I have paraphrased Bill Lee, please check out his arguments yourself).

From the evidence I gathered I see a different story. Instead of death, social media seems to be giving traditional advertising new life and this new life is growing evidence for the importance of integration of marketing methods. Instead of replacing the old, we should be including it. Even in my Social Media Marketing class focused on social media, I make it clear that it should never exist on its own. It is not a replacement for traditional marketing, but should be integrated into traditional efforts. But perhaps I am biased because I received my masters degree in IMC (Integrated Marketing Communication) so lets look at the numbers and you can decide for yourself.

According to Ipsos research released in 2013, the number one way to create awareness around new brands and products is still with TV ads followed by friends and family and then the Internet. Nearly a third of consumers also turn to magazine ads (31%), social networking sites (25%), entertainment (TV shows/movies; 22%) and direct mail (21%). Even in the younger 18-34 group, the Internet becomes the primary source of discovery (59%), but TV is still third (48%).

Nielson data reports surveys of online consumers indicating the more influential forms of advertising (ones they always or sometimes take action on). People I know and opinions posted online are number one (84%) and two (70%), TV comes in at third (68%). Ads in newspapers are still number five (65%), magazine ads are eighth (62%) and billboards are just out of the top ten (57%). These charts say “integration” to me, not “death.”

Brands that are integrating are seeing better results. Deloitte research reports Some 86% of US consumers (aged 14+) claim to always or almost always multitask while watching TV. Almost half of Millennials this year say they use a social network while watching TV. The brands that know this are acting on it and benefiting from integration. For example, combined print advertising with online has been shown to increase intention to take action by 85%. And combined use of Twitter has also delivered greater results for traditional TV by increasing awareness, favorability and intent.

I am still a social media fan and highly suggest that all brands need to jump into social media marketing. But in your enthusiasm for the new, don’t leave behind the old. Traditional advertising is still alive and kicking and gets a boost from social media marketing. The best marketing efforts combine both in IMC fashion. Do you agree or do you see a flat line for traditional?