TV on Twitter: Tweets get you to tune in and click through, study shows

Twitter's TV push is working, new numbers show. Not only do tweets about TV shows get you to tune in and join the conversation, they can also get you to click on ads and buy products. That's news Twitter can--and will--use to its advantage.

If you've seen a TV-related tweet, say, about a show you might be interested in watching, 92 percent of you acted in response to that tweet--by searching for the show, following one of the actors on Twitter, or retweeting some interesting fact about the show. A third of users surveyed actually changed the channel to watch the show.

Some other fun facts: A tweet about a TV show often inspires Twitter users to tune into a show they've never watched before or resume watching a show they've abandoned. Also, networks, pay attention: People prefer actors' tweets to tweets from a show's branded account.

There were a few no-duh results. Users who live-tweet TV shows are more likely to search for a show, follow someone related to a show, etc. But live-tweeters also think of a show's advertisers more favorably after viewing show-related tweets that mention the brand, and also say they're more likely to buy that brand's products.

That's exactly what Twitter wants to hear.

The results offer insight into how users have responded to Twitter's TV push. The company has signed all of the major broadcast networks to its Amplify ad program, which shows relevant promoted tweets to users who are tweeting about a specific show. Twitter has had some success with the program, as evidenced by Samsung's influence at this year's Oscars, but Amplify is still in its infancy, and the company needs to prove that users are interacting with ads. Twitter doesn't get paid unless you click on a promoted tweet.

The survey wasn't exactly scientific--it was based on 12,577 Twitter users' reports about their own behavior. The study was commissioned by Fox and Twitter, who both have a vested interest in seeing high returns on their efforts. And it gives no indication as to how many users continue to engage with a show or brand after seeing TV tweets. But it's the first indication that you're actually responding to and interacting with the TV tweets you see, and not just around major events like the Academy Awards and the Super Bowl.

TV ratings firm Nielsen released a report late last year that showed how far TV-related tweets spread, but ads require more than eyeballs--they need clicks to prove their messages are being heard.


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