Kelly Scott Madison


Twitter TV Ad Targeting Effect



Twitter has increasingly become a counterpart to television as viewers tweet their feedback and thoughts about programming. Whether commenting on the current episode of Game of Thrones, Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance or the latest fast food restaurant commercial, a recent Twitter study shows consumers are using the network as a platform to continue conversations sparked by television. In fact, in 2012, 32 million people in the U.S. tweeted about TV programming, proving that the way users experience TV has moved from a siloed activity to more of a communal experience shared across the globe. This trend is often referred to as “social TV.”

According to Nielsen, 40 percent or more of U.S. mobile audiences browsed social media on their smartphones or tablets while watching TV. Social media activity was even higher than shopping activity for these smartphone users. Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr are content-heavy with TV related conversations, photos and videos revolving around consumer opinion. Pinterest, YouTube and GetGlue (a check-in network), are also valuable in understanding audience behavior and feedback. However, Twitter is moving the fastest with its latest offering, released as a beta in May 2013, called TV Ad Targeting.

TV Ad Targeting marries the television and Twitter platforms, enhancing TV ad campaigns while boosting Twitter metrics. All Twitter needs is the TV schedule and expected GRP rate in order to begin cataloguing shows and times where the advertiser’s TV ads air. Their technology will then identify users on Twitter engaging with these same shows. These people can be reached via Promoted Tweets to reinforce the TV commercial message and add a layer of engagement. Essentially, the TV ads start the conversation and the Promoted Tweet continues it, providing extra opportunity to go viral while simultaneously increasing reach.

Twitter advertisers are also able to utilize a new TV Ads Dashboard, which shows when the brand’s TV ads have aired alongside Twitter metrics. This helps advertisers create the most effective Promoted Tweets by gathering insights from the amplified dashboard. 

This product’s technology uses video fingerprinting to automatically detect when and where an advertiser’s TV commercials are running. Twitter can then distinguish users who tweeted about the program. The idea being if users are engaged with a show enough to tweet about it, they are most likely viewing the commercials as well. This cross-device offering allows Twitter to combine TV, digital and mobile all into one campaign.


So far, the numbers look promising. Clients using the beta launch of TV ads saw a 27 percent increase in engagement rates when compared to historical averages.  Brands like Adidas, Holiday Inn Express, Jaguar and Samsung also saw improvements to their key brand metrics including message association and purchase intent, measured by Nielsen Brand Effect for Twitter.  Users that saw a TV advertisement and then engaged with a Promoted Tweet had a 95 percent stronger message association and 58 percent higher purchase intent compared to users exposed to TV only.















This new offering was released to all advertisers in mid-July. Promoted Tweets with TV Ad Targeting have the same cost model as non-TV targeted products (pay-per-engagement), however there is a $50,000 minimum to participate and advertisers must be targeting a national TV campaign. This unfortunately excludes many small to mid-size and regional advertisers. As Twitter gathers more information and interest, KSM expects they will open it up to regional campaigns.

A positive side effect of this social-television behavior is that “appointment TV,” or users tuning in to watch their shows live instead of watching a recording later, may increase. The speculation is that consumers value participating in the conversation and also want to avoid “spoilers” via social media. This could have an effect on a brand’s overall TV impression share as more users would potentially watch the commercials as well. It will be interesting to monitor how the social TV trend continues, how social platforms take advantage of it and the overall impact on media plan budgets.

As all other technology platforms, Twitter will undoubtedly tweak and improve this offering as it unfolds to more advertisers. If an advertiser has the budget and geography, TV Ad Targeting has proven itself in its initial stages to be worth the added brand recognition, purchase intent and lift.

Download a PDF version of this report here.

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