Social TV Scores Another Record With Grammys, As Search For Ad Model Continues

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February 13, 2012 – 12:26 pm

adeleA week after the Super Bowl set social media afire with tens of thousands of tweets and comments, CBS' broadcast of the 54th annual Grammy Awards showed that Twitter, Facebook and blogs could inject some degree of relevancy into this TV warhorse.

The numbers are impressive, but it's still not clear how meaningful the behavior around social media and TV are and whether this activity can be translated into a workable ad model. Certainly, the novelty -- to some extent, that explains a large part of what we're seeing -- is not about to wear off, and social media as a companion to TV viewing will surely be even more heavy during the summer's Olympic Games, which will be broadcast on TV.

So far, we do have early numbers about what happened on Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere last night, courtesy of social TV analyst Bluefin Labs, which noted that the Grammys beat last week's Super Bowl in the total number of comments by nearly one million for a new "social TV record."

The Grammys generated 13 million comments across Facebook, Twitter and blogs, according to Bluefin, a 2,280 percent increase over last year's awards, which had just 546,000 comments. And perhaps all the talk about last week's 12.2 million social media comments had viewers even more primed for the music industry's awards show.

There were a number of big moments that seemed perfect for some sort of advertising-related possibilities, such as the big winner of the night, British pop singer Adele, who swept the awards, winning five categories.

But there were a number of examples that could be a little more of a problem for an advertiser, particularly the two performances by Chris Brown, who drew overwhelmingly negative remarks related to his history of domestic abuse, as far as I could tell. Also, the tribute to Whitney Houston, who died the day before the show, would have attracted a lot of attention. It goes without saying that an advertiser appearing alongside that would not do well. After all, what advertiser wants to be in the middle of outraged and mournful comments?

Even more than the Super Bowl, the Grammys showcases the possibilities and the problems of social media.

On one hand, the engagement and discussion around the show and the ads -- especially Target's hallucengenic spot and another one featuring Adele "fans" singing her hit Rolling In The Deep and Chipotle's ad featuring Willie Nelson covering Coldplay's song The Scientist, which was smartly placed near the band's performance during the broadcast -- gave those marketing messages a clear lift.

But with so much commentary coming in such rapid succession, it's nearly impossible for marketers to get a handle on it. When a sponsor has their agency pay around $800,000 for a 30-second spot (according to the NYT's MediaDecoder) the loss of control inherent in social media could be hard to stomach, especially when it's sometimes hard to foresee what will get negative or positive traction. Still, the Grammys offered another important lesson that social TV is taking off -- and it's only a matter of time before a clear ad model around all the chatter surfaces.

And when a clear social TV ad model does appear for the networks, it might actually encourage CBS to run the awards show live on the west coast instead of tape delay, something that also drew complaints across social media.

Update: Along with Shazam and Yahoo's IntoNow, social TV apps that have been aggressively looking to prove themselves as ad revenue vehicles, Function (X)'s Viggle has attracted a lot of media attention for its "TV check-ins with rewards/coupons" mobile app, less than a month after launching.

The company partnered with Microsoft's search engine Bing on an in-app quiz during the Grammys (see Adweek's Tim Peterson's post from last week for more details on that arrangement.)

Asked how much Viggle got during the broadcast, the company sent some stats to TVExchanger:

-- Since it's late January launch, Viggle has been downloaded over 150,000 times to date
-- Users averaging 73 minutes per session

-- 5 check-ins on average per day per user

-- 36 ad engagements per day per user

-- 2 million check-ins to date

-- 15 million user engagements

--35,000 rewards redeemed

Not a bad start, but given the marketers who have lined up behind Viggle, including Fandango, The Gap, Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Lowes and Hulu, among many others, the app is certainly something too watch, especially given the likelihood of some sort of shakeout in the social TV space over the next year.

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February 13, 2012 – 12:26 pm
  1. One Response to “Social TV Scores Another Record With Grammys, As Search For Ad Model Continues”

  2. Social TV; of interest will be the application of real time user feedback and predictive analytics across multiple screens. In other words, how to ensure that vendors are closing the feedback loop on where/when/how often to align messaging across multiple screens. Making this data predictive and the messaging relevant to the content being viewed will be important.


    By Benjamin Theriault on Feb 16, 2012

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