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TV Networks’ Branded Content on Facebook More Than Doubles in Less Than a Year

Broadcast and cable networks have literally doubled down on the amount of sponsored video content they’ve posted to Facebook in the last nine months — and trend is just in its early innings.

The number of branded posts across TV network and show pages on Facebook increased 115% from October 2016 to June 2017, according to an analysis by research firm ListenFirst Media.

In the second quarter, Turner’s Adult Swim topped the list of networks with the highest response on branded content among Facebook users, with an average of 129,000 responses per post for the period — outperforming the average branded post by a staggering 2,187%.

That was largely driven by the teaser for the upcoming season debut of “Rick and Morty,” sponsored by The Real Cost, the FDA’s tobacco prevention campaign aimed at teens. The FDA was the top advertiser by engagement on TV network branded content in Q2, capturing 932,000 total responses on Facebook (likes, shares and comments). So far, the video has been viewed 24 million times since it was posted June 29.

“Rick and Morty” also scored second place with its promo for Ridley Scott’s “Alien: Covenant” (pictured above), which received 376,000 responses on Facebook in the quarter. It’s been viewed 8.9 million times.

Turner’s truTV grabbed the No. 2 network spot on the strength of engagement from the “Impractical Jokers” fanbase (including this spot sponsored by PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew), followed by Fox, driven by “Empire.”

Dan Riess, Turner’s EVP of content partnerships and co-head of Turner Ignite, said a few years ago the company might have simply distributed a marketer’s content on social media “as a favor” — a value-added extension of a TV ad deal. Now, Turner is selling branded content separately for digital.

“We’re using our [intellectual property], our premium creators – they’re social influencers at the biggest level,” he said. “Initially brands went for cheap and easy. Now they’re starting to see the value of great IP and people who can make great content.”

Turner Ignite, launched in early 2016, is focused on branded content services, ad targeting capabilities, and social-optimization tools and distribution. The unit includes Launchpad, a group of 20 social-advertising analysts who track real-time analytics and big data visualizations.

Overall, the average engagement for TV nets’ Facebook branded posts continues to outperform all other content they distribute on the social service: In Q2, sponsored posts outperformed non-branded content by 67%, ListenFirst found. At the same time, branded content remains less than 1% of all posts published by television networks and programs on Facebook.

As TV networks invest more in branded posts “we’ll see the quality of branded content get better, resulting in more engagement from fans and better returns for TV networks and sponsors,” said Jason Klein, co-founder and co-CEO of ListenFirst.

However, according to Turner’s Riess, while “branded stuff absolutely has room to run, we wouldn’t want 40% of what is coming out from Adult Swim to be branded.”

Automotive, led by Toyota USA, was the top advertiser category by number of posts, followed by food/beverage/restaurants, led by Coca-Cola, and Film Entertainment. Government advertising took the No. 1 spot in engagement, with the Real Cost’s partnership with Adult Swim driving the majority of the category’s responses.

Here’s the breakdown of Facebook branded content from TV networks for the second quarter:

 

Top 5 TV Network or Show Sponsored Posts, Q2 2017
Network/show; sponsor; post responses on branded content on Facebook network/show page

1. Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty” for FDA’s The Real Cost; 932,435
2. Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty” for “Alien: Covenant”: 375,580
3. Adult Swim for Carl’s Jr.: 152,356
4. TBS’s “Conan” for “Wonder Woman”: 134,603
5. Adult Swim for Hardee’s: 61,287

Source: ListenFirst Media

Top TV Networks by Volume of Sponsored Facebook Posts, Q2 2017
1. BET: 131
2. Viceland: 87
3. World Fishing Network: 85
4. Freeform: 64
5. Discovery: 55
6. CBS: 50
7. History: 49
8. MTV: 42
9. ABC: 35

Source: ListenFirst Media

TV Networks Ranked by Average Engagement of Branded Posts, Q2 2017
Network/show; average engagement of sponsored posts

1. Adult Swim: 128,818
2. truTV: 26,902
3. Fox: 24,749
4. Food Network: 22,605
5. ABC: 17,342
6. TBS: 16,934
7. Nat Geo Wild: 14,129
8. NBC: 14,047
9. HGTV: 8,045

Source: ListenFirst Media

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