Social media and television could not be more different. But all that may be about to change. There has been a lot of second screen viewing and conversing in the past year on mobile devices and that traction has caused social media to take notice. Twitter is putting into motion a multi-tiered plan to sweep into television, but how is it going to succeed?

Some of the groundwork was built at the end of last year, with ratings company Nielsen teaming up with Twitter to begin developing a new metric to gauge the reach of TV programming through social media. The target then is actually almost here now, the slated start is the Fall 2013 TV season. As more and more people turn to mobile TV and utilize smartphones and tablets to comment via ongoing program-related conversations, it makes sense that Nielsen would be interested in tracking this type of data. However, this avenue of information can be much more skewed than what Nielsen has traditionally tracked in the past. Social media, and especially Twitter, can be heavily swayed by advertising and elements such as sponsored hash tags. Twitter obviously would not have issues with creating a ratings systems while also collecting more advertising revenue for interested networks to promote their shows. Nielsen has historically been more strict, via methods such as a ratings box or rating journal for TV viewers. Still, working on methods to track engagement between TV and the Web is a good start, and in the end the concept of ratings could be redefined beyond the top 20 show list we traditionally think of.

This past spring, more traction was gained as Twitter announced additional partners for its Amplify program, which connects content providers which a means to push video clips and tailored info out via Twitter’s advertising infrastructure. NBA, A&E, ESPN, Bloomberg TV, Clear Channel, MLB and many other content producers are on board and working with Twitter to dovetail social media with broadcast television programming. Twitter also restructured its ad technology to allow more precise targeting. When Twitter acquired BlueFin Labs earlier this year, it gained the tech to more precisely look for relevant keywords across its platform. If “Breaking Bad” starts charting in a large number of tweets on any given day, Twitter can match a served ad with the same brand running during that show. Keeping advertising and content in sync from social media to broadcast and cable is one of the major goals, and major hurdles, that Twitter is focusing on.

This week another bold step occurred, Twitter hired the former head of Google’s media and entertainment ad sales, Jennifer Price, to spearhead a team dedicated to expanding its TV synchronicity. The goal is to develop more partnerships with networks and providers, and to market and sell Twitter as a social commentary track that runs right alongside major TV programs, specials and events. Targeting a vertical industry and aiming to enhance it, alongside of it, is clearly one of Twitter’s biggest initiatives. Much of which will come together as the Fall TV season gets underway.

The big question is, will this work? Twitter is not inventing anything new, social commentary have been running one lane over for years with television. Any series premiere, pivotal episode, or shocking season-ender (I’m looking at you, “Game of Thrones”) causes major waves of trending topics, hashtags and tweets. Big TV events can push Bieber and Kardashian way into the social media background online, scoring huge impact that is just begging to be managed and monetarily controlled.

Twitter’s (relatively) new advertising model has allowed content producers to max out budgets with advertised tweets and sponsored hashtags, and now Twitter aims to step into a position of being more than just a middleman, but to actually develop advertising packages and partner programs that not only bring TV closer to social media but brings Twitter closer to Hollywood.

So far, the momentum seems to be gaining traction. Twitter has its sights set on TV, and it may seem that this year’s recent steps toward moving closer is only the beginning of a much bigger plan. When it comes to Twitter and TV, we’ll all have to stay tuned.

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Coca-Cola has achieved some notable successes in digital marketing, not least its massive following on social media and various polar bear campaigns.

As such I thought it would be interesting to round-up 10 of its most interesting digital initiatives, some of which involve massive global campaigns while others are unique local examples.

This post follows on from similar articles focusing on McDonald’s and Nike.

And for more information on Coca-Cola’s digital strategy, checkout our blog posts looking at how the brand uses the four main social networks and how it used co-creation to crowdsource marketing ideas

The Coca-Cola Happiness Machine

Despite the rather naff name, this simple idea managed to attract a huge amount of online buzz for Coca-Cola.

The Happiness Machines are classic Coke vending machines that dish out treats including drinks, pizza, flowers and sandwiches.

While some give away the freebies to all-comers, others require a specific action to earn a reward. For example, one in Singapore required a hug before it would dispense a free drink, while another in Belgium was dance-activated. 

Coca-Cola then videoed people’s reactions and put the footage on YouTube, earning it millions of views and tons of goodwill towards the brand, all for what appears to be a relatively low level of investment.

London 2012

Following the two guiding principles of creating ‘liquid and linked’ content, for the Olympics Coke decided to target teenage consumers by taking advantage of the inherently social values of the Games, which see the whole world coming together to focus on one event.

The campaign was called ‘Move To The Beat’, and the idea was to use music as the critical element of the storytelling.

Coke recruited London-based producer Mark Ronson and singer Katie B, then took five Olympic hopefuls and used the sound of their sports to create a song.

The campaign involved five key elements that we’ve discussed in a previous blog post: a feature length documentary, the song, TV commercials, Beat TV, and a series of digital/mobile apps called ‘The Global Beat’.

Overall the campaign yielded some impressive results:

  • There were more than 25 million video views in total across desktop and mobile.
  • 1,220 people subscribed to the channel.
  • Coke was the second most talked about brand during the Games.
  • It achieved 242 million social web impressions, 39 million impressions on Facebook and 546,000 impressions on YouTube and Beat TV.
  • Move To The Beat was mentioned 246,000 times on Facebook.
  • Coca-Cola attracted an additional 1.5 million Facebook fans and 21,000 Twitter followers.
  • The campaign achieved 245 million search impressions, 461,000 clicks and a CTR of 0.2%.
Super Bowl 2012In 2012, Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl ad campaign involved two polar bears that reacted to events on the field in real time.Viewers could interact with the polar bears, who were supporting different teams, by asking questions and posting photos to Facebook or Twitter. When the bears responded they pulled out a smartphone to tweet messages or used a tablet to display images submitted by fans.As well as a dedicated microsite and social media channels, Coke streamed the real time footage to rich media ad banners on and on mobile apps.

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