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Social TV Keeps Viewers Engaged And Hold Their Attention

Originally published by AdAge on July 03, 2012.


With the Social TV and second screen hype, some advertisers and TV networks may be concerned that viewers are constantly use their mobile devices or computers while watching shows may see less of the actual shows.

A new study conducted by Time Warner Research Council says they shouldn’t worry about it! In fact, the study shows that “interacting with social media on a second screen makes viewers more engaged in programming than if they were watching alone without social media”.

Contrary to what we might think, viewers are not distracted by their mobile device – even though it seems to crowd the viewing experience. They may actually be helping viewers maintain their focus during the TV show. “The most important overall finding is to understand that people use media to optimize their levels of interest and excitement,” said Jack Wakshlag, chief research officer at Turner Broadcasting. “When they find something engaging on the TV, they pay attention. When their interest wanes, in the absence of a second screen they could change the channel, get up, read a magazine, etc. With a second screen that allows live social engagement, they have more reason to stay on-channel with their friend.”

Biometric monitoring and eye tracking were used by researchers to gauge 126 Millennial viewers’ engagement with episodes of “Conan” and “TMZ” as they participated in varying levels of social behavior. They found that viewer engagement levels while watching with a friend or connecting with a friend over social media were 1.3 times higher than for people watching alone and not using social media.

Even when viewers turn to social media during commercials, the study suggested that they still pay attention to the TV — sometimes more than they think. Eye-tracking results revealed that viewers responded to audio cues, for example, both on the shows and during commercial breaks.

So advertisers, we hope this research insight will help you embrace Social TV in your campaigns.

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