October 10, 2013

How social media has changed TV advertising

Image by Geico Insurance

Ad campaigns now often feature ‘second screen’ integration

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, social media managers, businesses, brands, Facebook administrators.

Guest post by Joseph Stark

joseph-starkSocial media didn’t just explode onto the scene over the past six years or so. In fact, it has been steadily gaining steam and heating up for the past two decades. Social networking options like SixDegrees.com and AOL Instant Messenger have been around since personal Internet access became a widespread concept in the early to mid-1990s. It’s a new development, however, that marketing campaigns are focusing their efforts on social media and capitalizing on it in a big way.

Watching television isn’t simply a matter of watching television anymore, and advertisers are taking note. People used to interact with TV through water cooler conversations about football games and plot twists, but the market has become increasingly segmented, and advertisers are now aiming to engage consumers through their viewing patterns — and social media habits.

By producing a commercial that gets people talking and simply adding a hashtag, advertisers open up a new realm of communication

The “second screen” opportunity offers deeper and broader engagement by viewers, resulting in a more fulfilling experience for everyone involved. And they’re doing it in ways that seamlessly blend into the way users already use the Web. By producing a commercial that gets people talking and simply adding a hashtag, advertisers open up a whole new realm of communication that’s extremely quantifiable.

By adding a hashtag — which originated on Twitter but now extends to Facebook and Instagram — or a “like us on Facebook” message to their ads, advertisers are bringing the conversation to a second screen, stretching their investment in ad campaigns.

Take the Twitter Ad Scrimmage program, for example. According to Twitter, it “extends the life of a Super Bowl commercial by amplifying and moving Monday water cooler discussions to immediately after the game when momentum for conversations around those commercials is at its highest.”

Basically, it encouraged viewers to tweet about their favorite commercials and fueled the conversation immediately.

Technology companies now promote file sharing features


Tech companies like Canon and Nikon, among others, have developed products equipped with wi-fi-enabled file sharing. Some of these gadgets actually have a “social” setting on them and upload to authorized social network sites automatically.

We can now snap a photo with a digital camera, tablet, or smartphone and upload it directly to social networking sites or email it to friends, family, or co-workers with minimal effort. It has become commonplace for these companies to highlight these features in their TV advertising campaigns as a way to show how cutting-edge they are.

Viral commercial production is on the rise

Geico’s hump day camel, the antics of Allstate’s mayhem man, and the quirks of Progressive’s “Flo” are all prime examples of the way companies are producing commercials destined to go viral online. These ads get people talking, which keeps the companies that produce them top of mind for consumers.

People everywhere quote these quirky ads. They’ve become a part of mainstream popular culture. That’s exactly what advertisers are going for. Ads are designed to place companies at the top of consumer consciousness. Social media offers the perfect setting to launch that initiative.

TV now fuels online campaigns, too

Let’s take a look at Kia’s TV ads this year: hip-hop, space babies and dancing hamsters. No wonder this stuff has spread across the Internet like wildfire — it’s hilarious. Business Insider investigated the success behind these campaigns and it found that Kia experienced a 300 percent increase in traffic to its YouTube channel after its Super Bowl ad campaign debuted. Traffic to Kia’s website also increased as a result of the campaign.

Kia’s Social and Digital Media Manager, George Haynes, articulated to Business Insider exactly how the company used this approach to further their campaign, saying, “Television is like rain, and we catch the rain in buckets and redeploy it to the social channels to make our sales opportunity and brand grow. We add momentum and velocity to the TV spot (the rain), capture it and circulate it back into the online process, thereby advancing the brand and buying cycle.”

Not only do these practices increase the effectiveness of ad campaigns, but they can stretch dollars and even cut costs. Social media has influenced TV around the world, bringing consumers and marketers together in ways that were never possible before.

Joseph Stark Jr. is a freelance writer and blogger by day, focusing on technology and business. By night he is a tech junkie, gym member and avid writer. He currently resides in Santiago, Chile, where he continues to write and contribute to a number of high-profile blogs.
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