By now, most of us probably had an inkling that social media can turn TV viewers into brand advocates, and now a new Nielsen study released Monday has confirmed our suspicions while also honing in on how that connection unfolds.

Analyzing how two linear TV ad campaigns drove word-of-mouth on Twitter, the study demonstrated “that well executed brand integrations in TV programs with socially connected audiences can convert those TV fans that are active on Twitter into social brand advocates,” Lisa Berman, VP of research and product marketing at Nielsen Social, told Found Remote.

The first campaign the study looked at involved a personal care brand that ran 84 TV ads across 24 days of one professional sports league’s 2014-2015 season. The ads appeared in 38 games on one broadcast and two cable networks, and each game saw more than 76,000 Twitter users post game-related tweets. Nielsen’s social activity analysis found that, within this crop of game-related tweets, there was a significant spike in tweets that were also about the personal care brand. In fact, fans tweeting about the games during the campaign (AKA “program authors”) sent 165% more Tweets about the personal care brand than they had been sending before the campaign started. Meanwhile, viewers who did not tweet about the games during the campaign (AKA “non-program authors”) only sent 72% more brand tweets than they had been sending beforehand.

This rift was particularly glaring during the anonymous league’s all-star event for that season, during which Nielsen found that program authors’ buzz about the personal care brand was a whopping 779% higher on the day of the game than it had been during the league’s pre-season. What’s more, an impressive 77% of the brand tweets within those all-star game tweets directly mentioned the brand’s commercial that ran during that time slot. Meanwhile, the non-program authors during the all-star game only increased their tweets about the personal care brand by 84% compared to pre-season brand-tweet activity.

The study’s second part focused on an automotive manufacturer’s campaign during the final three episodes of a drama series on a broadcast network. Placements by the company included a character driving one of its cars within the program, and then a repeat of that same car in ads during program breaks. Meanwhile, the manufacturer’s Twitter account shared digital-only shorts featuring the actor in those ads discussing his experience filming them.

As with the game program authors in Campaign No.1, program authors who tweeted about any of these final three episodes sent many more tweets about the auto brand in question on the days when the episodes aired – 352% more than on days without episodes, to be exact. Authors who did not tweet about the drama’s three episodes not only also tweeted less about the auto brand than their counterparts, but their total brand tweets actually declined from the number sent on days the episodes didn’t air.

Additionally, brand social media buzz was affected by different campaign combinations. For instance, program authors’ brand Tweets spiked on the two days when a TV spot was paired with a digital short tweeted by the drama’s account. Comparatively, there was a less substantial lift on the day when a TV spot ran without a new digital short.

Brief Take: Advertisers, agencies and network ad sales teams take note—for brands that are looking to maximize social buzz, exposure with engaged social TV audiences is clutch.


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