In case there was ever any doubt, we can now officially say: Facebook is listening. In late May, Facebook not-so-quietly announced a new opt-in feature that can recognize television shows, movies and songs using your mobile phone’s microphone. That data is then used to pre-populate a post, at the user’s request, with program details. If the end user decides not to share the post, Facebook will anonymously hold onto the data to better understand the number of viewers for particular shows. So why is this significant for a social media giant known for big data? Even if a few hundred thousand – a fraction of a fraction of total Facebook users – opt in, the subsequent “insights and psychographic data… verifying they are watching TV is roughly 10x larger than the current Nielsen sample size” according to Lost Remote. The value of this data from a second screen content marketing perspective? Priceless.
The announcement is the latest in the battle for social advertising dollars among continuously growing and changing competition. Twitter has been the gold standard, leading the pack from an investment and technology standpoint. In fact, Mashable noted that “Twitter mentioned the word ‘television’ more than 40 times in the paperwork it filed to go public last year.” Since then, the microblogging platform has acquired startups and released a series of new products to continue driving market share for social TV. Further, a partnership with Nielsen Social has shed light on the demographics behind those tweeting about television shows and, more importantly, who is potentially reading those tweets. Still, it does not currently have an audio-matching feature to directly compete with Facebook’s new feature.
Additionally, there are two newcomers making waves in the cluttered social TV landscape. Tumblr is proving to be a contender in the race to become the next big social TV powerhouse. Last month, the re-blogging platform released a study claiming that in one 11-day window, it hosted more television-related chatter than Twitter. From a strategic analytics partnership with Spredfast to a new original show on the FYI Network, Pinterest too has started to lay the foundation to become a major player in the space.
It’s clear that social television continues to penetrate American households. For brands, this opens the door to engage in deep, meaningful conversation with consumers across screens, a practice already employed by television networks. As the technology improves, so does the means for capturing rich data. In turn, we’ll likely seen a dramatic change in the way brands are able to provide viewers with rich, targeted content across multiple screens. Perhaps the most exciting is the potential to integrate live television with synchronized second screen experiences. That, combined with the addition of the world’s largest social network’s recently-launched listening tool, brings a whole new level of scale and opportunity to the real-time content marketing mix.