By Gareth Capon (CEO, Grabyo)
The 2014 Fifa World Cup kicks off in Brazil next month with more than a billion fans expected to tune in live for the final. The competition will be a huge draw for brands. In the UK alone, ITV is anticipating a 13 per cent hike in advertising revenues during the second quarter and increasingly, what’s big for TV is big for Twitter. During primetime there are few days when at least one TV show or TV event is not trending on Twitter. This is particularly true for coverage of sports – which comprise somewhere between 2-3% of TV programming in any given month, but generate close to 50% of Twitter activity. Sport accounted for eight of the top ten most-Tweeted-about topics in the UK last year.
Even the “warm-up” Confederations Cup garnered 36 million Tweets globally. With TV content now shifting to social media, sports rights holders are able to reach vast global audiences and create new value from existing content and strike lucrative deals with brand sponsors.
Consumers are now spending more time using their smartphones than the web and 13 minutes of every hour spent online is on social media platforms. The growth of mobile and social media usage does not show any signs of stopping and it is clear that mobile will soon be the dominant platform for all internet experiences across the globe. Brands must find ways to connect with consumers across multiple media channels and devices.
Twitter’s TV ad-targeting product is one opportunity to address the multi-platform challenge. It gives the opportunity for a brand to send out promotional tweets as their TV ads are airing to any Twitter users that are watching the relevant show and discussing it on the platform.
The challenge however is ensuring that advertising content is interesting enough to drive viral engagement – this is where the real leverage lies for the brand by capturing additional earned (viral) media value and providing social validation of their brand message as users share this with their own (micro) audience on Twitter.
The second opportunity for brands on the platform is linked to Twitter’s recent acquisition of MoPub, which will allow brands to use Twitter data to target people on mobile (using display adverts and banners) via third party mobile websites and apps. TV conversations serve as the mechanism for understanding user preferences and creating segments for targeting.
By far the most interesting development, however, is Twitter Amplify…
With the launch of Twitter Amplify, rights holders are now able to share live TV clips and video content into Twitter in real-time, giving users the opportunity to watch the videos without leaving Twitter. It also allows advertisers and sponsors to directly associate their brand and campaign message with premium TV content using a range of digital media assets, including pre-roll and post-roll videos, display banners and branded galleries, combined with real-time video clips.
Brands can extend TV advertising and sponsorship into social media in order to engage their target audiences in a positive and relevant way. Crucially, brands can use Twitter Amplify to leverage their sponsorship or advertising message at scale – by extending social reach, ensuring the discovery of the video content (and their brand message) and targeting a much larger community of active and relevant social media users.
The Mechanics of Twitter Amplify
One of the challenges when distributing (and consuming) video on Twitter is that many consumers have ‘fast’ feeds – active users follow lots of other Twitter users and see hundreds of posts moving through their feed every time they open the Twitter app. With tweets passing rapidly through the feed, it’s easy to miss a video tweet from a broadcaster or one posted against a hashtag. Twitter Amplify makes it possible to ‘pin’ the video tweet to the visible part of the feed so the user is more likely to see it and engage with it.
Moreover, if a broadcaster sends a tweet from its own Twitter account, it can target only the people that are following that account (i.e. its ‘organic reach’). However, when a sponsor runs a paid campaign with Twitter Amplify, it can target anyone tweeting about that topic or content at that time, or any other user who may be interested in the content.
Therefore, rights holders can ensure their video tweets are seen and use paid media distribution (Twitter Amplify) to extend this reach to a much wider and relevant demographic that may be many times the size of their existing (organic) reach on the platform.
Furthermore, paid media Amplify campaigns encourage extended viral distribution as Twitter users discover these new video tweets in their feed and go on to share the video tweets to their own followers, driving a second wave of viral distribution and greater earned media value for the rights holder and brand.
And The World Cup is Approaching
It’s clearly a compelling proposition for brands that can now scale social engagement for major formats and events; an example of this in 2014 would be sponsoring the live clips of goals scored in the World Cup. The World Cup promises to be a significant revenue driver for Twitter; it is understood that Twitter UK has several brands spending in the region of £500,000 each around the event, with the largest campaigns pushing £1 million.
Enhancing these campaigns using video tweets and Twitter Amplify would enable a brand to become a key part of the social conversation around the tournament and drive that conversation through the viral distribution of content and paid-media campaigns that take the brand message to a broad and highly engaged user group (football fans).
As well as providing a more compelling ad format than a sponsor message or text-based advert alone (e.g. a standard promoted tweet, #hashtag or trend), the brand would be able to ensure active Twitter users see the sponsor idents before the video content is played: so every time a goal is viewed the user would see a message from the sponsor – this isn’t even possible on TV (where sponsor credits only appear at half time during the ad breaks and on the advertising hoardings in the stadium).
As a result, momentum behind Twitter Amplify is now accelerating and the impact from a content rights perspective is particularly interesting as rights holders carve out real-time video as a separate package to maximise its commercial and distribution value. In one of the first and most significant Twitter Amplify deals in 2013, NFL took control of its real-time video assets and struck lucrative sponsorship deals for clips of live content.
A study from GlobalWeb-Index found that 87 per cent of the UK’s 15 million Twitter users intend to watch the World Cup live, with the vast majority (79 per cent) doing so with others and almost half of users (43 per cent) planning to use Twitter to keep up with results.
With brands hungry to scale engagement efforts and connect with consumers around live sporting events, the shift of TV to social media will create an enormous new advertising channel and therefore enormous additional value for sports rights holders – and all from existing content. As the market accelerates in the coming weeks, it’s going to be a fascinating space to watch and rich pickings for those that take part.
Gareth Capon is CEO at Grabyo, the real-time social video company. You can follow him@garethcapon where he tweets about TV and mobile.
This article is taken from a new report – ‘Real-time: The Video Format For a Mobile Generation.’