Neuroscience shows how Twitter enhances TV event viewing for Canadians

Monday, 29 January 2018

Twitter has become a key part of the TV viewing experience for millions of fans across Canada, especially during award shows, season premieres, big games, or any programming that qualifies as “appointment viewing”.

For example, in 2017, these were the five most mentioned televised events amongst Canadian Twitter users:

  1. 2017 Billboard Music Awards (May 21, 2017)
  2. The 89th Academy Awards (February 26, 2017)
  3. Donald Trump 2017 presidential inauguration (January 20, 2017)
  4. Super Bowl LI (February 3, 2017)
  5. The 59th Annual Grammy Awards (February 17, 2017)

There are two main reasons people flock to Twitter during live TV events:

  • To make events more interactive, engaging and fun
  • To ensure they don’t miss anything, even if they aren’t in front of a TV

To gain a better understanding of how Twitter impacts the live viewing experience, we called in some experts from Neuro-Insight (@neuro_insight), a multinational neuromarketing firm who use advanced neuro technology to measure media consumption. While it may sound a bit sci-fi, their patented technology is able to read and analyze second-by-second brain responses to content/advertising. This technology has been validated both scientifically and commercially (proven to predict consumer choice and market behaviour, and sales performance).

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Our tests took place during selected live TV events across the globe. As part of the lab that took place in Canada, respondents were fitted with headsets that read and recorded brain data and eye movement. To track specific interactions on mobile devices, they were also filmed throughout the experiment. Respondents were then asked to view live event content using Twitter only, TV only, or a combination of the two. In total, over 108,000,000 data points were collected and analysed for this research.

There were two key metrics measured in this study:

  • Engagement: The personal, emotional connection between the content and viewer
  • Memory: The process in which information is encoded and stored
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Here are some key findings that show how Twitter impacts the live viewing experience:

  • Event-related content is more engaging and memorable on Twitter. Both engagement (+72%) and memorability (+80%) were significantly higher on Twitter versus on TV alone.
  • Adding Twitter to the TV experience, however, made TV event content more engaging (+28%) and memorable (+30%).
  • TV ads can benefit from adding Twitter. Responses to TV ads were significantly higher in terms of both engagement (+40%) and memorability (+28%) when Twitter was included in the experience.
  • In fact, Twitter users were able to correctly recall slightly more TV ads than those who were watching TV alone.

Overall, we found that Twitter enhances the way that people experience events on TV in three primary ways:

  1. It makes events on TV more engaging
  2. It helps event advertising work harder
  3. It incrementally increases the reach of event advertising.

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