Unpacking the Social Viewer: TV Best Practices

Published on Dec 29th, 2015

We presented the State of Social: TV 2015 webinar on Dec. 15. If you missed it, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite insights and the social best practices from the presentation.

TV Industry Growth

The TV industry generated 7.2 billion social actions (likes, comments, shares, retweets, dislikes and reblogs) on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr in 2015 through November. That’s a 32% increase compared with the same time period last year.

Instagram drove the overall TV engagement growth with a 114% increase in actions this year compared with 2014. And with only 35% of TV programs on Instagram, additional growth is likely as more shows adopt the platform.

The TV industry grew at a similar rate with the rest of social overall. All branded content generated 37% more actions through November compared with the same time last year.

The industry’s engagement increase can be attributed in part to the increase in actions generated by video content. TV Videos generated 112% more engagement across all platforms this year compared with the same time a year ago.

In addition to the engagement increase, the TV industry’s social amplification (content that was shared and retweeted on Facebook and Twitter) in 2015 increased by 49%. We explored the importance of amplification in our Journal of Advertising Research study, “ What Makes Brands’ Social Content Shareable on Facebook? ” The TV industry’s amplification increase outpaced overall brand content, which grew by 27%.

Best Practices: Unpacking the Social Viewer

Before identifying social best practices for the TV industry, it’s important to understand the types of content networks and programs are posting. Content that resonates with audiences falls into a few categories: program discovery, encouraging loyalty and attracting new viewers.


  • Program Discovery


TV Networks and programs generated significant engagement with audiences on social media by announcing premieres, teasing new episodes and reminding viewers to tune in around a “virtual water cooler.” In some cases, TV brands’ most engaged posts of the year fit into this category.

ABC’s Quantico, which was among the most-engaged new primetime shows, saw engagement bumps with sneak peak video clips promoting its season premiere and new episodes. From Sept. 1 to Dec. 14, video posts accounted for 29% of Quantico’s content on Facebook and drove 44% of total engagement on the platform. And these posts represented 68% of shares and averaged 424% more shares than any other type of post.



The most-engaged posts for some of the top shows in primetime, including cable TV and streaming services, built excitement.

The season 6 premiere announcement for HBO’s Game of Thrones was its second most-engaged Facebook post of the year and could eventually overtake the most-engaged post, the season 5 trailer. Tune-in reminders for AMC’s The Walking Dead were among the most-engaged content on Facebook and Twitter, including this tweet reminding viewers when to watch the season 6 premiere .

  • Encourage Loyalty


TV networks and programs encourage loyalty on social by providing more content to audiences through behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the actors who play their favorite characters.

NBC’s Heroes Reborn uses Instagram to give audiences a glimpse of what the cast members are like off-screen. Some of its most engaged posts from actors. Posts featuring cast member Gatlin Green generated the most engagement among those that include her co-stars.



FOX’s Scream Queens also generates significant engagement from regrams from cast members taken on set. Glen Powell’s post that also includes guest star Ariana Grande was the show’s most engaged Instagram post of the year. CBS’s Supergirl, one of the top new primetime show’s used Twitter to give fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the new show’s first day of production . It was the show’s third most-engaged tweet of the year.

  • Attract Viewers


TV networks and programs have found that there’s no better way to attract new viewers than by posting clips and mash-ups on social.

Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black continued generating engagement through the fall, even though season 3 was released in June, by re-living moments from the show by posting memorable quotes. The posts usually include less than five words and include a one-line quote on top of a photo. This content generated 60% of the show’s engagement on Facebook this year.



ABC’s Dancing with the Stars most-engaged Facebook post of the year was a clip of a moving performance from the show featuring U.S. Army veteran Noah Galloway, a double amputee, and partner Sharna Burgess . FOX’s Empire entices potential viewers on Twitter with Vine clips of memorable scenes from the show .

 

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