How will social media affect the future of TV advertising?


It is a well-known fact that we, as consumers, are becoming much more savvy, much more aware and resistant to advertising messages that are being ploughed through the media.  We know when we are given the ‘hard-sell’, and we don’t always like it.

For this reason, TV advertising rarely ‘sells products’ these days, but more and more seems to be a platform, a catalyst if you like, for consumers to continue their engagement in the brand online.  Better still, via social media, and to click that beautiful button in the sky which sends pound signs flashing in front of business owners’ eyes – SHARE.

But does this really signal the end of TV advertising as we know it?

Perhaps not. On average, the UK are still watching more and more television and consequently, money invested in TV advertising still remains high (it was reported that ITV charged up to £250,000 for a 30 second slot during X Factor), and social media backs this up. Last month Twitter claimed that 40% of its prime time tweets were about TV.

So it seems our obsession with TV is far from waning, but according to ThinkTV, the way we chat about it is.  Multi-screening (engaging in another platform such as a tablet, mobile phone or laptop) whilst watching television is becoming more and more common.  Furthermore, 31% of the UK have chatted about the TV they are watching on a second screen, and this increases to 56% in the 16-24 age category.

It seems that multi-screening acts more purposefully as an aide. Perhaps then it is not that social media is taking over from TV advertising, but more that social media is an addition, an enhancer perhaps, of the good old TV ad.


Evian may beg to differ.  Their “Baby and me” advert took the UK by storm in April this year.  Interestingly, unlike most high profile brands, they initially launched it online, where the video became viral, receiving over 2 million views on You Tube.  They subsequently made it into a TV advert, although the campaign gathered the momentum online, at a significantly less cost.

Perhaps the most popular advertising campaign at the moment is O2’s ‘Be more Dog’ campaign.  The ginger pussycat galloping down the road in a dog-like frenzy was slow to catch on online (poor thing), but did eventually hit the top spot by the end of July.  According to 02 though, their inspiration for this rather obscure idea for an advert came from YouTube itself, as they assigned a team to identify the most popular videos (who, predictably came back with the vast amounts of animal videos trending) and formed their campaign from there.

So, what have we learnt?  Well, it’s all getting a bit complicated isn’t it?  Social media is undoubtedly a hugely important factor in advertising – the scope to share is brand exposure you cannot measure.  It is a central part of any advertising campaign.  But is it exclusive?  Is it looking for world domination and the humble TV ad to be eradicated for evermore?

Well, no, certainly not yet anyway.  As long as we are a nation of telly-addicts, there will surely always be a place for TV advertising.  I refuse to believe there will be a Christmas without the Coca Cola truck telling me ‘holidays are coming’; I couldn’t cope.


By Content Assistant - Helen Gotts

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