What Social TV Can Teach iTV
Let's first go to school for two lessons from a couple of darn smart professors. We'll begin with my alma mater Harvard and then head down the Charles to MIT. But first a cool visualization of social TV as a real time audience feedback loop for everything that happens on TV (no soundtrack on this video).
HBS on Social TV
Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, describes social activity as "stalking" people. According to his research (Harvard Business Reveiw, November 2011), about one-third of the time people spend on social sites is spent looking at profiles and pictures of friends (no surprise), one-third of strangers (surprise and kind of creepy) and one-tenth of themselves (you decide whether you're surprised...).
Piskorski argues that a social strategy that mimics traditional broadcasting strategies (as in one-way communication) will fail. Rather, companies must pursue social strategies that bring people together.
- Leverage Facebook.
- Connect people with others in ways they can't connect on Facebook, off-line or in the real world.
- Get people to do something for your company in return for connecting them.
MIT on Social TV
Deb Roy, MIT Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, directs the Cognitive Machines group at the MIT Media Lab. Roy has (in his spare time?) also co-founded Bluefin Labs, a firm that is mapping the TV genome (see above video).
Put another way, Roy argues that social TV is simply a way for individuals to watch apart together. (You may need to read that a couple of times; I had to.) This recent Ad Age article, 7 Things You Need to Know About 'Social TV' Right Now, provides additional perspective.
HBS + MIT = 3 Social iTV Must Do's
So what does this entail for a social TV strategy and, more to our topic, an interactive television marketing strategy? Three Must Do's:
What Must Do's would you add?
- You must include a social component in every iTV campaign. It's simply not enough to base an in-program iTV campaign on a poll or trivia. As for in-ad, marketers will increase the reach of their message exponentially by leveraging existing social platforms. Facebook, Twitter, and GetGlue have all been incorporated into successful iTV campaigns.
- You must leverage dual screens to facilitate social engagement during live programming. Viewers need a user-friendly platform such as their tablet, laptop or smartphone to get in the social stream and you need to facilitate that conversation. Look at WEtv's SYNC campaigns for a good example of this strategy. (FYI, WEtv is a client.)
- You must promote the heck out of your social iTV campaign. Given all the activity out there, you have to break through the app log-jam. Otherwise viewers will never realize the social engagements you're offering. That's best accomplished with simply designed social engagement opportunities that connect viewers with other viewers and their favorite stars.
Will Keller, President, Interactive TV Commerce, is the go-to expert for t-commerce sales strategy and execution. For more iTV insights, subscribe to Inside the Screen or follow him @iTVcommerce.