What’s So Great About Social TV?

social tvSocial TV is the hot topic in marketing circles this days, and there is a good reason for all the hype. Social TV is the next step in the evolution of broadcast and online marketing.

First, what is social TV?

In simplest terms, social TV is the marriage of television and digital communications. Research shows that more and more people watch TV while simultaneously using their mobile devices. TV becomes social when people publish updates and discuss a program on Twitter, Facebook, and other social sites as they’re watching that program on television.

For example, have you watched television shows and noticed a Twitter hashtag in the lower right-hand corner of your TV screen? That hashtag invites people to tweet about the program as they’re watching it. People don’t have to be in the same room to communicate about what appears on their television screens anymore. They can follow hashtags on Twitter and converse with people around the world.

Social TV is most often found during live programming, but there is growing interest in integrating social elements into recorded programs as well. For example, Simon Dumenco of Advertising Age spoke with Zane Vella, CEO of Watchwith, who explained, “We’re creating a world where every frame of TV is rich in possibilities.”

Zane’s company creates data bubbles each second, which display what its backend database “knows” about each scene. For example, during “The Big Bang Theory” a character could walk into a room with a backpack and the Watchwith database instantly feeds information about that specific product to social TV apps. Consumers who like that backpack can search for it, get more information, discuss it, and purchase it as they’re watching the show.

Social TV is the next big opportunity for brands and marketers, but finding ways to integrate social TV without annoying consumers will be a challenging balancing act. I’ll be at Mashable Connect 2012 in May, and social TV is the hot ticket at this year’s conference. Everyone wants to learn more about it and strategize new ways to effectively integrate it into their marketing plans. If you’re not already thinking about social TV, then you’re missing a significant opportunity!

Image: Nicholas J. Briscoe

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