NBC’s “The Voice” is Changing How We Watch TV…With Twitter
Not many networks do social media as well as NBC has with The Voice.
It’s become common practice for a show to casually toss a hashtag in the corner of the TV screen, but the tricky part is figuring out what comes next. The Voice and NBC have involved Twitter so heavily in the viewing experience that the end result is a fully integrated, interested, and engaged audience for advertisers and brands to reach.
“Second Screen Engagement” is a trend that’s causing advertisers and networks to re-evaluate their strategies. It’s why NBC is doubling down on the trend with Million Second Quiz and why advertisers are getting more and more involved with their campaigns.
To better understand the benefit of a second screen audience, we analyzed The Voice throughout the first month of the current season using Simply Measured’s suite of Twitter reporting tools. Take a look at how TV audiences are engaging online:
The Voice is sitting on a mountain of Twitter Followers – 37.5 million to be exact – and while they can’t take credit for accumulating the entire audience, they can take credit for the strategy that brought it to the show. Like most reality music competitions (i.e. American Idol, The X Factor), The Voice employs a panel of celebrities, but unlike other shows, the coaches become involved in the competition. This competitive nature is most effective when fans feel involved. Enter Twitter.
Celebrity Coaches Drive Traffic
Adam Levine and Blake Shelton have been with the show since inception, but when the producers of The Voice replaced the other two hosts, they did so with a plan. Shakira and Usher aren’t only household names, they’re incredibly popular on Twitter. Shakira alone has over 20 million followers, and as a bonus, she adds a Latin audience that wasn’t as accessible last season.
The Voice doesn’t stop there. They employ singer Christina Millian as their “Social Media Correspondent”, sharing Tweets on TV and engaging with fans on Twitter.
All four of the celebrity “coaches” banter and trash talk on Twitter as well, using the various hashtags associated with specific episodes, but mainly using #TheVoice. Due to heavy promotion and interest in the show, the hashtag averages over 150 thousand mentions on weeks the show airs, which is widely thanks to conversations driven by the celebrity judges (that are also displayed on the TV screen during the show).
Tweets by the coaches are timed specifically with peak activity on show nights. This drives more of their audience into the Twitter conversation, and drastically increases the potential impressions of the show’s hashtag. Last week, the two top Tweets were by Usher and Shelton, driving higher engagement on both Monday and Tuesday (the show airs twice a week).
Coaches also drive visibility for the show’s brand profile on off days, like the example above of Shakira sharing a behind-the-scenes moment from that week’s show. The Tweet had over 3,000 Retweets and 3,000 favorites.
How Brands Fit In
During the premier episode, Victoria’s Secret aired an commercial, and immediately followed up with a brand post at the peak of traffic, capitalizing on the hashtag’s massive reach with an embedded YouTube video of the ad. In an industry based on estimated reach, the sheer potential on Twitter becomes an attractive, and easily accessible addition.
Victoria’s Secret isn’t the only brand to realize this. Sprint, another major advertising partner of the show has gotten involved by promoting the hashtag and recommending episodes of The Voice to their own audience. Ebay has driven traffic to their own site by sharing a donation by coach Adam Levine, using the hashtag.
People Magazine is among several media outlets cashing in on the hype around #TheVoice. Through partnerships with NBC, several of these media publications gain access to behind-the-scenes details. In addition to promoting in print, People has become an expert at leveraging content and excitement on Twitter.
Starbucks Thinks Big
Most impressive is the partnership that The Voice has with Starbucks, who not only advertises during the show, but also has a double shot of sweet product placement in every coach’s cup holder, and in addition to the hashtag, has partnered with @NBCTheVoice to promote their “global month of service” community service campaign.
This partnership has proven beneficial for Starbucks, who’s capitalized on the 500 thousand mentions, Retweets and replies seen by @NBCTheVoice since the show started last month.
The Benefit of Engaging Early
Like any TV show, the premier drives the highest ratings. This is the same on Twitter. The lesson for brands looking to capitalize on a show’s Twitter activity is twofold. While the audience of @NBCTheVoice had its peak during the first episode, there’s a greater opportunity to stand out in the crowd later in the season, reaching a more invested viewing audience. In the case of @NBCTheVoice, that audience is still 40 thousand engagements deep on peak nights, and that’s hard to ignore.
As the Head of Marketing Communications at Simply Measured and generally delightful person, my job is to use data to tell stories to the internet that help the internet get better at telling stories...You're welcome internet.