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8 Reasons to Include Viewer-Generated Social Content in your Broadcasts


Watching television has always been a social experience. Traditionally, family and friends would gather around the TV set to watch and discuss what they were viewing together. In today's digital world it's clear that TV continues to drive conversation, the difference being that there are now millions of viewers flocking to social media to share thoughts about the content they're consuming.

There is great potential for broadcasters and brands to tap into what their audiences are sharing and incorporate that content as part of their programming or advertising. It could be in the form of social commentary in a lower third, contextually-relevant Instagram photos, social video, or a live Twitter or Facebook poll where you can get real-time audience feedback and display the results live in your segment.

At we are often asked Why?'. Why should networks invest in a solution to integrate user-generated-content into their workflow? There are many benefits from increased viewership and dwell time to commercialisation.

Here are just some of the ways broadcasters are benefitting from making their programming and advertising interactive.

TV Fosters Emotional Connections that Lead to Social Engagement A report by the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) explores the close relationship between TV and social engagement. The report, appropriately named #TVisSocial, found that ad-supported TV programs make up 84% of the top trending Twitter topics during primetime.

Why is it that people are compelled to engage socially about the content they're watching? VAB puts it well:

Because TV consistently creates and captures moments that are exciting, entertaining, humorous, enlightening, uplifting, aspirational, inspirational and educational...moments that people almost immediately share and talk about online.

With the vast majority of TV viewing being watched live,' the scale and engagement of ad-supported TV creates and captures real-time' moments in a way that no other platform can. These moments are further amplified by passionate viewers through social media communities.

Regardless of whether a show is live or pre-recorded, there's a desire to watch as live'/non-time-shift. Particularly certain programs like sporting events, entertainment programs or popular reality shows that people wouldn't dare miss tuning in to for risk of encountering spoilers.

TV content fosters emotional connections that encourage audiences to engage. Online conversations are often driven by the shared experiences viewers have around relatable topics. By rewarding viewers and including some of that social feedback in programming, or having it influence the editorial, it can further boost the relationship and loyalty of the audience.

Drive Viewership Encouraging your audience to share content with you through Tweets, Instagram photos, live polls etc. is a great way to add interactivity to your programming. People appreciate having the opportunity to have their voices heard or have their few seconds of fame. We've also seen that it can drive viewership - for example, Irish broadcaster RTE asked the audience to help them decide on Ireland's Greatest Sporting Moment. The format was driven by votes and comments shared live across social platforms and resulted in the show trending on social media and an increase in viewing share.

Increase Dwell Time If viewers know they could see their message or photo on air they'll be more likely to stay tuned in. A project with USA Network involved fans submitting a photo via Instagram or Twitter for a chance to appear in show promos. The socially-enhanced promos attracted more viewers and extended dwell time by 4 minutes compared to traditional spots.

Grow Social Audiences A TV ad campaign for Oykos yoghurt is a great example of how capturing an audience with a call-to-action to participate can increase social audience and activity. Viewers were enthusiastic to share photos of themselves and a message about why they should feature in the campaign to Facebook for chance to be on TV. As a result, the brand saw thousands of entries, shares and likes. The interactive campaign also resulted in them growing their Facebook audience by 30%.

Bridge the Gap Between TV & Digital Audience interactivity bridges the gap between traditional TV and digital. Networks have the opportunity to leverage the power of both to reach audiences across platforms. For example, UKTV drove social audiences to the TV broadcast with Twitter Reminders. Using program handles or hashtags can create awareness and encourage social users to tune in to the TV broadcasters.

Social TV Activity Drives Ad Response Multitasking and social interactivity isn't a distraction to your audience. Giving viewers the chance to participate in discussions, influence the show's editorial or have their content showcased can be powerful for commercial partnerships.

Researchers from Indiana University and Emory University have addressed the question Does live Tweeting while watching TV distract from the ads?'. Their findings show that advertisers can see a boost in online shopping and ad responsiveness when TV audiences engage in social media activity while watching certain programs.

Benefits for Advertisers As well generating incremental revenue, there are exciting opportunities for sponsors to get on board with interactive campaigns.

Channel 4 and PlayStation ran a live social ad competition during Gogglebox. Viewers were shown game footage then asked to answer a question by Tweeting their response with the hashtag #PlayStationLive. There was a huge flurry of entries as people Tweeted their answers in the 5-minute window, making #PlayStationLive a trending hashtag across Europe that night.

Another example is how Lexus increased their brand favourability by 22% with socia
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