Social Media Affects TV Viewership; But How Much?

It’s no secret that the majority of Americans spend a significant amount of time on social media in a given day; it’s also no surprise that Facebook consistently tops the chart on the most-used social media platform across all demographic variables.

But as the TV industry—like nearly every industry over the past ten or so years—scrambles to cultivate a strong online presence, critics wonder just how effective these strategies are.

Researchers are trying to determine just how much our social media obsession affects the media we consume—particularly, how TV show viewership is impacted by what peers are saying on Facebook, Twitter and the like.

Though Twitter has been an obvious player in the social media to entertainment game (think hashtags and “Tweet your thoughts on tonight’s episode” calls to action in prime time spots), Facebook still holds power by way of sheer volume.

An online survey by eMarketer showed that 54% of U.S. internet users aged 18-34 started watching a TV program due to opinions on Facebook; compare that with only 21% of users in the same age group on Twitter. That same survey showed that 40% of that same demographic cite posting to Facebook as a favorite method used to discuss TV shows and content; only 21% listed tweeting for the same purpose.

As we can see, despite Twitter’s best efforts to be the go-to for the entertainment industry’s social media interactions, Facebook simply has more pull nationwide.

Another hot commodity in entertainment marketing is Facebook “likes”—that holy grail of societal acceptance. But just how much does a “like” affect what everyone in the TV industry is really after: higher ratings?

A new study from CitizenNet suggests that a 3% boost in “Likes” correlates to a 1% boost in TV ratings.

“Taking into account metrics such as click-through rate, people talking about this, and other Facebook measures, CitizenNet came up with a value for predicted viewership and compared it with how many people actually watched the show,” according to Nielsen.

And while TV studios certainly can’t control what fans post on their personal Facebook pages, there is an opportunity for TV shows to encourage engagement on company pages.

“The point CitizenNet makes is that it’s not enough to simply get likes and manage greater awareness, but pages have to product content that will encourage people to engage.”

Think you have what it takes to use social media to boost TV viewership? There are plenty of entertainment marketing jobs available that will allow you to test your skills in this exciting new arm of media. Check out for the best in entertainment jobs. 

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