How TV advertising should really be using social media
What is the value of a 'like' on Facebook?
There is no definitive answer - but if you take in the full sweep of estimates, it ranges from anywhere between $214 to zero, depending on who you ask and how they bothered to calculate such a value.
Now, with the rise of 'second screening', commercial broadcasters - and their advertisers - have been generating genuine online buzz, attracting tweets and likes in their millions, whilst in the process building up a better idea of who their viewers really are.
As Havas Media's head of vision, Chris Allen, said: "Social media has reinvigorated live entertainment programmes...and it has clearly had a positive effect for advertising as a result."
Yet question marks still remain say industry experts, including national broadcasters, agencies and audience measurement specialists.
Speaking at a Sky IQ sponsored seminar on Wednesday - "How do you know if you are getting the most from your TV advertising?" - an expert panel examined the role of the second screen in relationship to TV - and how Facebook and Twitter can offer new levels of brand engagement.
However, advertisers were urged to not simply chase 'likes' or measure the volume of tweets, but rather leverage the data and insights they reveal about audiences.
For Channel 5's partnerships director, Agostino Di Falco, Facebook and Twitter are a "great barometer" for the broadcaster.
Yet noting that the latest Big Brother has generated 3.5 million tweets during its current run, Di Falco said he was still cautious about what that really means, in both the short and the long-term.
"Social media has allowed us to measure daily impacts on the current series and that can influence development," he said. "However, this is all well and good in numbers, but we need to remember that a very, very small percentage of people act upon a 'like' or a tweet."
The real value, he and others argue, comes from the database of users - or getting to know your audience better for future, micro-targeted messaging opportunities.
"Having people on a database means you can re-target preople," said Havas Media's Allen. "And my suspicion is that this relationship between TV and social media is only going to deepen...even if there is a question mark over the absolute value of a 'like'."
Similarly, Research the Media's Richard Marks said the real value in Facebook and Twitter, in terms of offering broadcasters and advertisers an added benefit, is not just in the nature of the conversation or the number of likes, but the shift in living room behaviour.
"I think the jury is still out on the relationship between Twitter and advertising," Marks said. "But what is important is that people are using social media during the ad break - and that means they are staying in the living room - which is precisely what BARB measurement is about."
Marks also said that combining Twitter's user data with Facebook's offers some serious potential, noting that the hit US show South Park has a million followers on Twitter, and 50 million 'likes' on Facebook. Similarly, Converse has 350,000 Twitter followers and 38 million Facebook 'likes'.
Facebook, Marks said - noting some industry cynicism in the past - is most certainly an advertising medium now and if the two databases are combined, the potential for advertisers is "incredibly high".
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