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Bad news for spoilers: Live-tweeting boosts Twitter TV impressions

It turns out that Twitter might be worth more to television than just frustrating viewers with spoilers and harassing our favorite celebrities. According to Nielsen, social engagement has become a significant force behind television, with over half of Twitter TV impressions occurring courtesy of those who take to the platform week after week to live-tweet their favorite episodes.

In addition to increased viewership, sometimes later through on-demand, streaming, or DVR opportunities, tweets sent during television shows lead to valuable promotional impressions. But it’s when users tweet throughout the week that impact television shows the most.

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To determine the effects of live-tweeting versus sharing throughout the week, Nielsen analyzed tweets relating to television and its impressions for 96 weekly programs during the fall. Of the tweets examined, 57 percent of weekly impressions resulted from users who saw the tweets during live airings. In addition to this data, Nielsen found that the television show’s genre also affected television impressions, with drama and reality television shows experiencing as much as a 10 percent increase in impressions, and comedies dropping to slightly below 50 percent. Further, the comments increased from 33 percent to 65 percent during live airings.

While the numbers might mean little to Twitter users who just want to watch TV, the data provides programmers with a good idea of the best times to use social media when it comes to promoting other programs. It also allows television programmers an opportunity to adjust their messages according to when users are tweeting while maximizing promotions strategies.

Watching television on a “second screen” while engaging in social media has increasingly become an important part of tuning in each week and is likely not going away anytime soon. As programmers continue to unravel the best ways to capitalize on the connection, viewers who aren’t able to watch live and fear the inevitable spoiler might have to resort to avoiding social media during airing and, at least, a week afterward.