It’s been almost two weeks since I had the opportunity to attend Advertising Age’s inaugural Social TV conference in New York – and my head’s still spinning.
As is often the case with these conferences, it’s hard to describe the depth of each session, but for those who couldn’t attend, and who have an interest in this space, I wanted to put together an overview of the main sessions and big points that I took from each (you can also find a Storify of the event by Mo Krochmal over here).
I’ve also included a few best practices for Social TV campaigns at the end of the post that were shared at last week’s Digital Flash NYC Social TV event for Internet Week New York (featuring Sabrina Caluori, David Berkowitz, Mark Ghuneim and Chris Stephenson).
So, without further ado, below are my take-outs from what were two excellent events, and an exciting multi-media space that continues to innovate and evolve.
It will be interesting to consider how these are applied to the social/digital/mobile spaces by other forms of media moving forward.
From the discussions surrounding Social TV, the primary points I took included:
- It’s all about enhancing the user and viewer experience,
- Create and sustain partnerships,
- Engage fans before, during (real-time) and after broadcast to extend the story,
- Invest in considering how you can scale projects and experiences, and
- Curate to win and provide value.
If you attended either event, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the content and presentations, and the overriding themes and points you took from the discussions.
Jennifer Healan, Integrated Marketing Content, Coca-Cola.
This was a particularly informative keynote covering everything from planning to execution and the stunning results for Coca-Cola (you can watch one of the commercials below).
One of the featured Polar Bowl commercials from Coca-Cola
Some key learnings from Coca-Cola’s approach to this campaign included:
- Be nimble and able to react in real-time,
- Incorporate research before, during and after to gauge viewers’ use of multiple screens, devices and platforms,
- Be prepared and rehearse for multiple scenarios and levels of engagement,
- Resource accordingly with both technology and personnel to meet the needs of all scenarios,
- Be additive to the viewing experience – don’t detract from the program or event, and
- Build anticipation for the second-screen viewing engagement and experience.
2. Social TV to Better TV: Will The ‘Second Screen’ Deliver for Networks, Brands and Users?
Panel discussion featuring: Aaron Lilly, Media and Branded Entertainment, Bing, Chris Stephenson, President, Viggle, Lisa Hsia, Executive VP – Digital Media, Bravo Media, Mike Darne, Senior Director, Social Media & Mobile Marketing, Capital One. Moderator: Mark Ghuneim, CEO/Co-Founder, Trendrr.
The importance of being real-time and incorporating research were reinforced in this panel discussion, particularly in relation to brand advertising in the Social TV and application space.
That is, brands need to understand that the use of Social TV applicationss is on the rise, with real-time engagement an opportunity to drive interaction and business. This requires an understanding of how your target market is searching for and talking about your brand.
For production houses (and networks), Social TV is already being thought of at the production level – something that the panel believed will only increase moving forward, to the point where Social TV will (if it already doesn’t) require its own programming strategy. Will we see Social as another integrated component of the production houses’ and networks’ annual up-front presentations?
With advertisers now demanding full integration across social activity leading up to and during broadcasts, the answer may very well be yes.
As for users and viewers, the panel believed that co-creation was the next evolution in this space – although scaling this kind of production will be a challenge to make this a reality.
Kay gave a great presentation entailing the move of the (social) web from following the wisdom of crowds to the wisdom of friends – claiming that friend to friend discovery on social networks drives more value than your average campaign.
Or, to use Mark Zuckerberg’s words – people (the audience) are the most powerful media.
With that in mind, he encouraged networks and production companies to give due consideration, and leverage the opportunity to use social and digital assets not only during broadcast, but before and after programming – citing the upcoming series return of Dallas as a great example to extend the viewing experience (the show’s Facebook page already has 665,000 fans before the return on June 13).
He reinforced the idea that Social TV deserves its own individual programming strategy where the content is king – something Facebook is paying particular attention to with its Social TV Opportunity Activation (where facebook + content = Social TV). A great example of this was the partnership between Facebook and Pepsi at the recent Cricket World Cup in India.
The next trend/challenge to watch out for? Marketers utilising engagement and insights from Social TV to begin to inform the programming narrative and direction.
4. NewFront Panel: Social’s Role in TV Buying
David Cohen, Chief Media Officer, Universal McCann, Joel Lunenfeld, VP Global Brand Strategy, Twitter, Marc DeBevoise, SVP and GM, CBSi Entertainment. Moderator: Jordan Bitterman, SVP, Social Marketing Director, Digitas.
Right from the start, the panel highlighted that social buzz about television is now pulling audiences to television from their second screens – with spoilers a particularly effective tool driving live viewing as opposed to time-shifted consumption.
In the case of CBS, they are seeing 15 percent of their web traffic derived from social platforms – a statistic that contributes to views, advertising and money.
More than that, the network has launched CBS Connect, a hub for conversation surrounding viewers’ favourite CBS shows.
From the agency perspective, David noted that only 10 percent of his clients are currently buying space in social and Social TV (apps, pages etc) – a statistic he expects to increase.
The challenge ahead? To begin to measure and investigate the relationship between Social TV and ratings. That is, does correlation equal causation with regard to social buzz and viewers? And how does time-shifted viewing then factor into this equation?
I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
5. Leveraging Social Media to Connect Talent, Fans and Brands
MTV and VH1 are two networks that have adopted the ‘storytelling without borders’ approach – planning shows with social engagement factored into every step of the process, and continuing the storyline between seasons and episodes.
As Kristin described it, they are a 24/7 media company.
The networks have introduced a social media education program for their talent (something I think we’ll see more and more of) with great results.
Mob Wives star Drita D’Avanzo was one of the first to partake in the program, and has launched herself into the social space, and at the time of writing has more than 317,000 followers.
With its talent as trans-media storytellers, the network is now taking the opportunity to break the confines of individual program episodes to simultaneously tell and extend multiple stories at one time.
As Kristin put it, they’re employing social media and technology to make good content great.
6. Transforming the TV Experience with Social Engagement
Bonin and Amanda shared a great example of partnership and integration in the Social TV space, with Kraft’s Wheat Thins executing a highly unconventional (but exceptionally entertaining) integration with The Colbert Report. For an excellent clip and interview with Amanda discussing the campaign check out this video from Beet TV (embedding disabled).
So, what are Bonin and Amanda’s tips for Social TV and social business success?
- Be agile & responsive,
- Innovate with new technologies, and
- Partner to create great content.
7. Special Presentation
Ryan underlined that although there are a number of skeptics in the Social TV space, the area will continue to grow and thrive.
In particular, he described filtering as the future – with smart players in the space such as Breakingnews.com already paying attention to as they curate content of value (a point also highlighted by Steve Rubel in his inaugural Clip Report covering the evolving mediascape).
8. Creating Social Engagement Around Live Sports
This final panel echoed Ryan’s sentiment and called for brands to provide value by cutting through the noise with curation and information.
For younger audiences, they will grow up demanding, and indeed already demand connectivity and the extended social viewing experience, and will migrate to the largest screen available. In that regard, the meaning and definition of the second screen is still a work in progress.
At the heart of this is the viewer experience. Pro-wrestler Zack Ryder’s organic communication with fans was cited as an example of engagement that talent and networks should look to emulate.
With regard to advertisers and partnerships, it’s about scaling these kinds of experiences in a bid to establish and maintain partnerships and drive even more value from Social TV initiatives (an example being the original programming partnership between the WWE and YouTube).
Some best practices for Social TV campaigns from Digital Flash NYC…
- Give people a creative call to action. When managing a campaign, you’re like the DJ at a party – it’s your job to direct and fuel the party with music,
- Set realistic expectations. Do your homework up-front and manage expectations accordingly, and
- Find ways to channel the passion of fans and demonstrate that you ‘get it’. If you do, they’ll give you the right to follow through and interact with the campaign and program.
Thanks to Advertising Age and Digital Flash NYC for putting on these events, and to all the speakers for their insights and time.
What are your thoughts on Social TV?