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MARKETING RX

In advertising, how is social media superior to tri-media?

/ 12:15 AM November 06, 2015

QUESTION:  We’re the same advertiser who wrote to you and asked why a TV commercial should also be posted on Facebook and YouTube.

Last Friday’s column ended with you telling us that social media plays a media weight role for TV advertising. If TV advertising success is primarily because of its media weight, then it’s social media that’s now the driver of TV ad success.  Your comment at the very end said if this is so, it’s therefore no longer necessary for TV advertisers like us to bother about TV ad media weight and the TV ad media schedule.  We just have to rely on social media to do that task.

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Our advertising director vehemently disagreed but gave a weak argument.  So will you please tell us how exactly social media can replace TV media schedule in attaining the audience reach of the TV ad.

Answer: It’s alright if you’re the same reader asking the question.  Two other MRx column readers e-mailed and asked your question.

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If what we’re talking about is a matter of audience reach, then the better or even the best answer to your question must come from taking the perspective of the TV ad audience and the social media listener who may or may not be the same person.  So what may have happened to this TV viewer and social media subscriber?

Let’s say Mrs. Tina saw the TV commercial for Century Pacific’s 555 sardines endorsed by AlDub’s Maine Mendoza.  In the office, Tina tells her office friend, Mrs. Margie, about the “cute” 555 Sardine TVC.  Margie says she didn’t see the TVC on TV but rather on Facebook and YouTube.  This brief exchange prompted Tina to see the Facebook and YouTube versions of the TVC video while Margie got curious about the actual TVC.

Tina told Margie the next day the 555 Sardine TVC she saw on YouTube looked longer to her than its actual TV version.  She e-mailed her Facebook community friends about this and asked them what they thought.  On the other hand, Margie waited for the 555 TVC on television.  After she saw it, she talked to Tina about it and asked her own Facebook friends for their comments.

There’s clearly a mix of audience reach, an addition and multiplication, in that sequence of consumer media viewing and behavior. When Tina told Margie about the 555 TVC, that’s already an addition to the reach count. When Margie related to Tina about viewing the TVC video on Facebook and YouTube, that’s also an addition.  But when both Tina and Margie e-mailed their respective Facebook community friends for comments on the 555 TVC, that’s multiplication of the reach count. The multiplier was social media. It’s the ultimate media weight.

What made Facebook and YouTube a reach multiplier? It’s their interactivity character. TV and TVC don’t get their audience to interact.  There are a few exceptions.  The TV program American Idol is one.  It passed on the judging of the singers to its viewers via texting their votes.  But that’s not the kind of continuing and shared interactions you’ll find on social media.

What kind of audience reach effectiveness is being made?  According to Facebook analytics, the posting of the 555 TVC on Facebook generated 800,000 views in just two days.  However, the comments came to 2,300.  Let’s ask: “What’s the better metric of reach? Views or comments?”  Reach is about size of audience.  Comments are about what meaning the audience got from the TVC verbals and visuals.  So it’s the comments that’s the better metric.

How are the comments analyzed for meaningfulness?  They are first counted as the 2,300 comments out of the 800,000 Facebook viewers of the 555 TVC video.  This is of course oversimplifying.  The Facebook analytics also give us a posting’s likes and shares across connected Facebook pages.  That’s over time and by demographics.  But let’s return to the simplified viewer transition from viewing to commenting.

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For meaningfulness, what comes next after counting?  It’s categorizing by, for example, positive versus negative comments.  But there are different kinds of positive and negative.  Consider, for example, clicking on our presidential candidates.  I did once and clicked on “Grace Poe.”  Here’s one comment I read and it said: “I’ll vote Grace for barangay captain.”  I asked my digital marketing research mentee, how he would report that.  He said: “As a negative comment.”  A debate ensued.  There are two parts to the comment.  Voting for Poe is positive.  But the second part can be a negative because Poe is not running for barangay captain.  It can also be just a “joke.”  But what kind of joke?  It could be that this voter doubted the qualification of Poe for the presidency.  In this kind of analysis, that’s another level of categorizing the comments.

There is then a need to proceed to another level of categorizing beyond positive versus negative. And that’s how to lend deeper meaning to the analysis.

The visuals have to be part of that search for meaningfulness.  As visuals, the 555 TVC video with Maine in action definitely deepened the TVC message.  Many Facebook postings have “memes.” These are visuals that accompany a posting’s comments.  They typically are not included in the analysis.  They should be.

So there’s this column’s answer to your question.  It essentially prescribes your simplifying the issue according to the pertinent and underlying consumer behavior process and model.  It’s more about the consumer than about what you do as marketer. Or at the very least, start with the consumer and only after should you deal with what the marketer is doing or should do.

Keep your questions coming.  Send them to me at [email protected] A new edition of The Best of Marketing Rx book is now available in bookstores. It’s a good Christmas gift and a supplementary learning reference for marketing students and practitioners.

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