Consumers are now spending more time using their smartphones than the web and 13 minutes of every hour spent online is on social media platforms. The growth of mobile and social media usage does not show any signs of stopping and it is clear that mobile will soon be the dominant platform for all internet experiences across the globe. Indeed, this is already apparent in a number of key markets and the number of mobile-connected devices is forecast to exceed the world’s population for the first time this year. Brands must find ways to connect with consumers across multiple media channels and devices to deliver a consistent and compelling message. So how does Twitter help brands to extend TV activity into social media and across mobile devices?
Twitter is an open platform by design and as such the nature of conversations on Twitter are closely aligned with real-time events (and TV is a key driver of conversation in both the online and offline world). The big spikes in Twitter conversations when headline sports events, live shows and major dramas air on TV are redolent of this, with spikes closely following the cadence of the TV show storyline or event in question. Twitter understands this synergy well and is now working hard to secure a piece of the global TV advertising market. It is also a highly mobile platform – 80% of UK Twitter users access the service via mobile and mobile advertising revenue now represents over 75% of total worldwide advertising revenue for Twitter.
Twitter’s TV ad-targeting product is one way to address the multi-platform challenge. It gives the opportunity for a brand to send out promotional tweets as their TV ads are airing to any Twitter users that are watching the relevant show and discussing it on the platform. Brands can also use demographic data to target users more effectively. By reinforcing the brand campaign message with a targeted direct response on Twitter, brands can accentuate their message and drive recall, as well as deliver a targeted promotion to viewers. The challenge however is ensuring that advertising content is interesting enough to drive viral engagement – this is where the real leverage lies for the brand by capturing additional earned media value and providing social validation of their brand message as users share this with their own (micro) audience on Twitter.
Twitter Data and Audience Targeting
The second opportunity for brands on the platform is linked to Twitter’s recent acquisition of MoPub, which will allow brands to use Twitter data to target people on mobile (using display adverts and banners) via third party mobile websites and apps. TV conversations serve as the mechanism for understanding user preferences and creating segments for targeting. For example, if a Twitter user spends a large percentage of their time on the platform interacting with technology bloggers and tweeting about TV shows covering professional cycling or travel, then this may be of interest to Garmin, WattBike or Nike.
Twitter Amplify goes much further, allowing brands to directly associate their brand and campaign message with premium TV content using a range of digital media assets, including pre-roll and post-roll videos, display banners and branded galleries, combined with real-time video clips. Brands can extend TV advertising and sponsorship into social media in order to engage their target audiences in a positive and relevant way. Crucially, brands can use Twitter Amplify to leverage their sponsorship or advertising message at scale – by extending social reach, ensuring the discovery of the video content (and their brand message) and targeting a much larger community of active and relevant social media users.
Furthermore, paid media Amplify campaigns encourage extended viral distribution as Twitter users discover these new video tweets in their feed, pushed to them via promoted tweets. If the content is relevant (which is the role of the targeting variables provided via the Twitter advertising platform) then these additional users will go on to share the video tweets to their own followers, driving a second wave of viral distribution and greater earned media value for the broadcaster and brand. Indeed, the popularity of video-based social platforms such as Vine has demonstrated the appeal of ‘micro-video’ among consumers. For brands, bite-size video also promises greater engagement: branded Vines are four times more likely to be shared than traditional online video
It is this opportunity to engage social media users (using premium TV content combined with a brand or sponsorship message) and join the conversation around live events that has attracted innovative brands. In the case of The Brit Awards 2014, which recently became the UK’s first Twitter Amplify deal, VO5 sponsored a campaign which saw 12 exclusive videos of live TV footage promoted on Twitter – generating thousands of clip views and thousands of re-tweets. VO5 was able to engage with its target audience in a positive way and win the social buzz contest, meanwhile the campaign helped to make The Brits the most tweeted-about-show ever in the UK as well as make V05 the most talked about brand on social for the BRITs.
It’s clearly a compelling proposition for brands, giving them the opportunity to scale social engagement for major formats and events; an example of this in 2014 would be sponsoring the live clips of goals scored in the World Cup. Not only would it enable a brand to become a key part of the social conversation around the tournament but it would also enable the brand to drive that conversation through the viral distribution of content and paid-media campaigns that take the brand message to a broad and highly engaged user group (football fans). As well as providing a more compelling ad format than a sponsor message or text-based advert alone, the brand would be able to ensure active Twitter users see the sponsor idents before the video content is played: so every time a goal is viewed the user would see a message from the sponsor – this isn’t even possible on TV (where sponsor credits only appear at half time during the ad breaks and on the advertising hoardings in the stadium).
Furthermore, video advertising on Twitter is not constrained by the same rules as TV so there are many more options for brands. Twitter Amplify could be used to distribute branded content that is associated with a TV programme – such as backstage highlights from the Oscars – or push out longer form brand/sponsor adverts into Twitter. Indeed, there is significant flexibility for brands to deliver innovative ads that use popular shows as the anchor for engagement and to release the content at key moments during the broadcast maximise reach.
In addition to using Twitter Amplify as an integrated cross-platform tool for reaching the social conversation, the brand sponsorship and digital media assets can also be used to highlight special promotions, competitions and even take payments – by providing a link to a transactional app or brand website. Using Amplify as a platform for social interactivity can create a whole new ecosystem on top of Twitter conversations.
With broadcasters now recognising that it provides a highly compelling ad-funded distribution model for content, real-time video ad inventory is growing. Limited only by the creativity of the brands that choose to participate and providing them an opportunity to engage with consumers at scale, Twitter Amplify is set to become a significant advertising channel. Given that 72% of real-time video clips plays across Twitter and Facebook occur across mobile devices, it provides one of the best channels yet for engaging mobile users in real-time.