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Watch Out, Twitter: Facebook Tiptoes Toward Social TV Throne

Facebook making a stronger pitch to TV networks and their advertisers

Most believe that social media and TV make a good pair, but there have been hiccups, and the relationship isn’t always solid, according to a new eMarketer report, “Social TV: Marketers’ Enthusiasm Cools a Bit, but Experimentation Continues.”

These TV-related conversations are fragmenting across platforms. Twitter, which has gotten the most attention for its TV tie-ins, is experiencing renewed competition from Facebook, for example.

Facebook has put more effort into surfacing trending topics, which often relate to TV. The social service has also emphasized metrics showing the amount of discussion about TV shows on Facebook. The idea is to show how marketers and programmers can better tap into interactions, even if they are not directly about TV but happen to be occurring while the TV is on.

Facebook’s aggressive push also includes redoubled efforts to work with TV networks and producers. The company has increased the size of its team that works on such partnerships. One result is a new feature on NBC’s “TODAY” show that showcases what’s trending on Facebook.

Another product enhancement that has implications for social TV is a content recognition feature that can detect what music a Facebook user is listening to or what show he or she is watching. The user must opt in to the feature when composing a status update. For TV shows, Facebook can automatically generate a thumbnail image of the show, information on what episode is being watched, as well as provide a link to the show’s Facebook page.

One key area where Facebook lags is in ad products that take advantage of real-time TV interactions. Twitter is actively focused on creating such products.

Even so, marketers surveyed by Advertising Age and RBC were more likely to use only Facebook than they were to use only Twitter to advertise in conjunction with a TV campaign. While 12% of respondents said they had done so on both Twitter and Facebook, 7% used just Facebook, and 2% used just Twitter.

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “Social TV: Marketers’ Enthusiasm Cools a Bit, but Experimentation Continues.”

This report answers these key questions:

  • How do consumers use social media to talk about TV?
  • What role are Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and the mobile messaging apps playing, and how will Twitter be affected?
  • What do we know about social media’s impact on TV viewing?
  • How are the marketing opportunities evolving?

eMarketer releases over 200 analyst reports per year, which are only available to eMarketer corporate subscribers.

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