Corporate Eye

Study Finds Social TV Boosts Viewer Engagement

cross platform social tvGood news for brands — you don’t have to fight against the growing trend of cross-platform content consumption.

A new study from Turner Broadcasting, Warner Brothers, Innerscope, and Ipsos found that Millennial viewers are actually more engaged with television content when they’re using another device and interacting with people through that device during the program.

That’s good news since the Millennial audience members who participated in the research study would be, “less into a show if someone took away all social media, because you wouldn’t have somebody else to share that with and get them involved into it.”

Those were the words from a female study participant, and she made a point that most of her peers agreed with. Millennials may watch television alone or with others, but the group that they enjoy those shows with (as they’re happening) is much larger thanks to social TV. The research study revealed the following key findings:

  • Viewer engagement levels while watching television with a friend or connecting with a friend via social media were 1.3 times higher than for people watching television alone and not using social media.
  • Viewer engagement among those people using co-viewing apps, which deliver content and allow conversation in sync with the program, were 1.2 times more engaged than those people who viewed the program alone and without a social app.

For brands, social TV represents a significant opportunity, and marketing teams should be analyzing audiences to better understand how they use social TV and cross-platform content consumption to increase engagement levels. According to this study, eye-tracking results showed that participants stayed engaged even during commercial breaks. Audio cues during television shows and during commercials drove a significant amount of engagement.

Furthermore, Millennial viewers who participated in the study indicated that they view brands that associate with cross-platform content consumption and social TV favorably. AT&T sponsored an app for viewers to use while watching “Conan” and the brand’s favorability was 33% higher among the segment of the audience who used the app during the show versus the segment of the audience that didn’t use the app.

Brands have to evolve to keep up with the social TV and cross-platform content brands. Don’t look at either as a problem but rather as an opportunity to boost engagement that can lead to sales, loyalty, and word-of-mouth marketing.

Image: Dan Taylor

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.