How One TV Channel Used Facebook Topic Data to Optimize On-Air Engagement

Kester Ford
7th October 2015 0 Comments

Technology has changed the way we watch TV – and I’m not talking about being able to watch three episodes of “The Walking Dead” every night for three weeks (not recommended, bad for the nerves). I’m talking about the way we actually watch TV – what we do whilst the show is on.We no longer sit slack-jawed letting the images wash over us, now we clench our jaws and let the world know what we think of what we’re watching via social media.

This is great news for the TV channels who, with the right data and tools, can get real-time feedback on their programming and promotional efforts. One TV channel used anonymized and aggregated Facebook topic data to improve the way that it reached its target audience. The TV channel also wanted to see if it could get better control of the feedback loop between engagement on Facebook and tune-in on television.

With this in mind, the TV channel created an index of the Facebook engagements with all of its programming and supporting marketing assets during a defined period. This index captured seven million interactions in a little over a week. Using VEDO – the intelligence inside DataSift that allows you to organize Human Data based on its meaning –  to isolate references to various characters, celebrities and marketing partners in real-time, the TV channel was able to identify the shows, themes and content with the most Facebook engagement. This engagement could be analyzed on a minute-by-minute basis and broken down by gender, age and state.

By analyzing this data, the TV channel was able to garner a number of insights. It could see which shows were resonating most with which segments of the population and consequently tailor its marketing efforts for these shows to the most engaged demographic groups.

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The TV channel also able to see which shows had the least Facebook engagement compared to the size of the viewing audience. This is an important insight when trying to drive audiences from social networks to TV. If your audience isn’t promoting your show for you, then you have lost an important marketing channel. Using insights from anonymized and aggregated Facebook topic data, the channel could make adjustments to the content of its shows. In addition, it could change the way that social calls-to-action were promoted in its shows in order to boost engagement.

The insight that most surprised the TV channel was the timing of interactions. A significant proportion of people posting about the shows were doing so at the start of the commercial break. This ran counter to the TV channel’s assumptions that most social interactions would happen in real-time. In fact, viewers were engaged with their program when it was on and took the commercial break as an opportunity to air their views on social networks. This finding led to the realization that the best time to be promoting the shows’ hashtags was at the end of each segment rather than, as previously thought, at the start.

Armed with these findings, the TV channel can now make sure that its audience is getting content they love and can share that content with their friends via Facebook. With the continued analysis of anonymous and aggregated Facebook topic data, the channel could start to make decisions in real-time, tailoring promotional content over the course of a show to resonate with audience engagement on Facebook.

To see how other brands made better decisions using Facebook topic data, take a look at our new eBook Busting Brand Myths with Facebook Topic Data.

Kester Ford

Written by Kester Ford

Kester Ford is DataSift's Director of Product Marketing

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