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Are Twitter and Tumblr the Perfect Pair for Second Screen Engagement? Ask @MTV…

Could Tumblr be the next big player in second-screen engagement?

Today, AdAge reported on a study by social engagement firm Pulsar about TV engagement on Tumblr and Twitter.

The study analyzed mentions of four episodes each for the TV shows Sherlock, Supernatural, Pretty Little Liars, and Sleepy Hollow. It also looked at mentions of “Malcolm in the Middle” over an 11-day period in December.

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Their findings seem pretty shocking on the surface. Twitter led the charge during the live airing of each show, but Tumblr posts outperformed Twitter posts by 1.45M mentions over the three days after a show aired. But this isn’t a surprise to brands actively using both networks. While Twitter is the undisputed king of live engagement, the shelf life of a Tumblr post is much longer than any other network.

In August, we published a Simply Measured study on the top 100 brands in the world, and how those with active Tumblr profiles found success:

Tumblr ReblogsOf  all reblogs on brand posts, 49% took place after 7 days. This statistic is almost unfathomable if you’re used to the real-time, quick-turnaround nature of Twitter.

This is also what could make them perfect counterparts for a media company’s second-screen strategy. Incorporating both a short game and a long game makes for an all-angle plan and way less spitting into the wind.

Data in Action: How MTV Leverages Both Networks

I wanted to take a closer look at this trend. Sure, it worked on a few CW dramas in October, but to be fair, that’s not where the bulk of second-screen engagement comes from. What about live events? And what does it mean for the brand promoting this content?

Since the MTV VMAs were last week, I took a look at their accounts for the month of April using Simply Measured’s Twitter and Tumblr account reports. Lets see what they were doing on each network, and what it meant for their profiles.

MTV’s Engagement Peaks

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The first thing that I noticed was that during the report period (April 1-22, 2014), the engagement dates were different. On Twitter, @MTV’s highest engagement peak was on April 13th — the date of the VMAs. On Tumblr, the engagement spiked the following day, validating the claim that Tumblr sees longer tail engagement. It’s also interesting to note that the spikes were so similar on both networks, accounting for over 900% of average daily engagement.

How MTV Drove This Engagement

To see what drove each spike in engagement, let’s take a look at what MTV did on each network.

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On Twitter, MTV averages 92.7 Tweets a day. On the day of the VMAs, they posted 312. This led to the real-time spike in engagement of 491K @Replies, Retweets, and Favorites.
Their most engaging Tweet used their #MovieAwards hashtag, and featured a video of a shirtless Zac Efron.

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On Tumblr, MTV averaged 10.1 posts per day during the report period, a figure they absolutely eclipsed during the show, with 109 original posts and Reblogged content. Their engagement spike wasn’t until the following day, when the brand maxed out at 130K Reblogs.

The top post on Tumblr was, believe it or not, an animated .gif of Zac Efron…shirtless. MTV is nothing if not consistent. The post was published on the 13th, but drove this spike on the 14th, the day following the VMAs.

During this report period, MTV saw 68% of all Reblogs take place on the day of the post, with a diminishing trail after the fact…until the post got to be over 15 days old. Posts older than that accounted for 18% of all Reblogged content.

Tumblr is a network for the long game. Published content can live for a long time, and the virality of a Reblog is completely different than shared content on Twitter or Facebook. Incorporating both networks into their second-screen strategy seems to work for MTV…how about your brand?

To track, measure, and analyze your Twitter, Tumblr, or other social media profiles, request a personalized demo of Simply Measured. This trial gives you access to over 40 reports for every major social network, putting your data in a context that makes sense to you.

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Kevin Shively

I lead marketing for Simply Measured. Recovering journalist. My team is embarrassed of my hilarious jokes. Firm believer that the best marketers are the best storytellers and the best storytellers use the best data.

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