India Trending topics
Marketing, Strategy

Are Facebook updates and Tweets equal to Mass media popularity

Over the past few months, I have been trying to gauge if yesterday night’s top program was indeed on twitter or not, in its Trending topics section I mean. As an example, Sunday Night’s top Program in Mumbai was the Champions Trophy final, billed as the last clash between Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. Empirically, the correlation stands. Even at 7.45 AM on Monday, these programs were on Trending topics of twitter. Check it out –

mass media to twitter trends

Trending topics on Twitter and correlation to Mass media spends

The real question here is – Can & should mass media be swayed by the “socially” active programs? Should mass media advertisers truly ascertain value to such twitter trending topic presence or Facebook Trend presence? Lets look at both sides of the coin here –

The Pros –

1. Tweets & Facebook updates are directly proportional to Engagement – When someone tweets or posts a Facebook update about a program, its clear that the audience has engaged with the program that much more. When someone puts up a message like #ThankYouDravid & #SaluteTheLegend – it means that the audience in question are truly engrossed in the program in question and that enhances your possibility of reaching your audience as an advertiser.

2. Twitter and Facebook updates are put up by influencers – Since only the top percentile of the India audience is on Twitter or Facebook – any influence on these people has a domino effect wwith regard to influencing your target audience. As I have written earlier, such influence should not be underestimated since any country looks up to its top percentile audiences.

3. Celeb tweets matter – For example, a tweet by Ayaz Menon reaches out to 165,000 people, of which even at 5% engagement levels, 8,000 people are likely to turn on their TV sets by it. This is massive impact even for mass media advertisers.

The Cons –

1. Twitter toppers and Mass Media toppers are different – In the US where Twitter audiences are 25% of Mass media audience, the toppers on Twitter and Mass media are different due to two factors –

  • Younger demographic on twitter
  • Twitter users are primarily in Tier 1 Cities

When compared with India, Twitter users are not even 1% of India’s mass audience and Facebook users would be around 10% of India’s mass audience. So, twitter signals cannot be a solo indicator of popularity anyways.

2. Controversies make good trending topics, but not always good places to put up ads – Often, twitter trends or Facebook trends contain controversial topics. For example – Often malicious content about Political parties comes up as twitter or Facebook trends. For an advertiser, these may or may not be appropriate places to put up ads, since controversies can snowball into a negative sentiment as well.

3. Correlation does not always materialize into Sales – Mass media branding and Sales orientation are two different things. Converting Mass media or Social Media signals into Sales is a different competency & Mass media advertisers should realise that Social Media influencers with strong brand affinity would be tough to influence as compared to Mass media advertisers, at least in India.

All in all, while tweets and FB updates are great for engagement, a sponsor should still think twice before giving preference to programs with stronger social signals. However, if you are a web/mobile based e-commerce company, this statement is fast changing. Perhaps thats the reason why companies like Flipkart, Quikr, OLX spend so much on Cricket!

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