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TV Shows That Pack Emotional Punch Have Higher Ad Recall: Twitter Study

Television viewers who have an emotional reaction to a show are far more likely to remember the ads they saw on TV, according to a new Twitter-sponsored study.

Of TV viewers who posted comments on Twitter with emotionally laden terms — such as “love” and “excited” — 41% recalled ads in the program, three times that of users whose tweets about a show were neutral, the study found. Of those emotional tweeters, 61% said they were likely to purchase from the brands advertised.

Twitter conducted the study with ad agency Starcom and startup Canvs, which measures emotional responses on social media. The study included about 20 primetime programs in which Starcom clients ran TV ads, but the companies didn’t disclose which TV shows were analyzed in the study.

“We’ve long believed that viewers respond differently to commercials depending on how they feel about what they’re watching,” Heather O’Shea, Twitter’s head of global agency research and data strategy, wrote in a blog post outlining the study. “And when it comes to getting a pulse on people’s emotional reactions during live TV, now we know that Twitter can drive even stronger results for brands.”

Twitter’s goal in touting the research: to persuade TV advertisers to boost spend on concurrent ad campaigns on the social service. According to the company, TV ad campaigns that include Promoted Tweets synchronized with television broadcasts have an average 9% lift in ad recall compared with campaigns that did not.

Over all, people who used Twitter while watching a TV show — whether actively tweeting or just following along — were 62% more likely to recall the brands which advertised during the program than people not on Twitter, according to the study.

“This research shows that audiences who are emotionally invested in a TV show are more responsive to both TV advertising and corresponding Twitter advertising — finally dismissing the nagging notion of the distracted social viewer,” said Kate Sirkin, global head of audience measurement at Publicis Media (which encompasses Starcom).

The study was conducted by Twitter’s Social TV Lab initiative with Starcom. The companies partnered with research firm DB5 to survey 3,536 Twitter and non-Twitter users who viewed the same episode of a TV program. On the day following the show, the respondents were asked about their emotions toward the program, their Twitter activity during the show (if any), advertisers they recalled, and how favorably they viewed brands after seeing their ads.

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