Study: Social Media Drives TV Engagement

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Do you watch “Mad Men” with a MacBook in your lap? “True Blood” while plugged in to Twitter? If so, studies show that you’re actually more engaged because of this multi-device approach.

According to a new study from the Time Warner Research Council, interacting with social media while watching television increases engagement in the programming.

Time Warner tracked the viewing habits of 126 millennial viewers watching episodes of “Conan” and “TMZ” with a focus on how social behavior affected their level of engagement. The study determined engagement levels via biometric monitoring and eye tracking, and the results are bound to have brands bowing down to the second screen.

  • Viewer engagement while watching with a friend or connecting with a friend over social media was 1.3x higher than for viewers watching alone and without social media.
  • Viewers plugged in to social media were still engaged during commercials.

Results also support the use of co-viewing apps. These products allow users to interact with related content while viewing the program. Participants who used the Team CoCo app while watching an episode of “Conan” were 33% more likely to view the brand favorably and 1.2x more engaged than those not using the accompanying app.

Are you a second screen TV viewer? Do you notice similar engagement effects when plugged in to social media, or does Twitter plus smart TV equal distraction?