The Opportunity with TV-Tweeters

Taking a closer look at the interaction between Twitter and TV, one can quickly notice that the online audience still falls quiet when something relevant or important comes up on TV.

Part of this is because TV still has the authority and credibility it was born with.

Think about it – it’s still a big deal when we are, or someone we know is, on TV. When someone we know is on TV, we take pictures of the screen, we text our friends to tune in, and it’s all because we believe that TV makes people famous (whether it’s a five second feature on the news or being a contestant on American Idol).

The past few months, I have been observing how TV and Twitter interact, and it comes down to this:

Twitter is the high chatter in the theater before the show starts, the occasional snicker during the movie, the “What do you think so far?” conversations during intermission, and the loud applause after the show. But TV is still the main show.

The number of conversations on Twitter during a TV show always follows this pattern:


(The graph above is for conceptual purposes, based on my own observations.)

The conclusion: Conversations about the TV show spike during commercial breaks.

The marketing opportunity: Connect with TV viewers on Twitter during commercial breaks.

Magnitude of this opportunity: Imagine an episode of Gossip Girl airing, and during commercial break, a retailer tweeted: “If you loved Blair’s outfit in that last scene, we have the ensemble for $130 online: #GossipGirl”

There are plenty of studies that support this opportunity:

  • Simultaneous multi-consumption of TV and Internet is increasing
  • Watching TV and Twitter together drives higher engagement.

But, as of today, no one has drilled beyond the general consumption trends and into the smaller waves that comprise the larger one: How Twitter interacts with other forms of live media, down to the minute.

The analytics opportunity: Overlaying Twitter and TV (or the combo of any integrated media efforts) analytics, down to the minute, to allow marketers to track whether or not “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

I can’t help but become nerdily giddy over these opportunities because it begins to answer one of my favorite thought starters by Hamilton South, a founding partner of HL Group: “Retailers need to stop thinking about making shopping entertaining, and concentrate on making entertainment ‘shopable.’”

Just remember: Tweet in, mute on. Tweet out, mute off. Repeat.