Is Social Media the New Television?

Is viewership moving further away from television to online? In today’s digital age, all signs are pointing to this current shift.

Year after year and day after day, businesses and marketers are finding that television events that had previously seen high viewership are now grossing lower ratings than ever before. For example, this year’s Academy Awards ceremony fell to only 26.5 million viewers nationwide when compared to the 2017 Oscars which had 32.9 million viewers. To put that into perspective, that is easily the least-watched Oscars in history, trailing the 2008 Oscars by more than 5 million television viewers.

“A typical day-in-the-life of regular people sees them wake up in the morning and tap their phone to read their emails before riding the 40-minute subway or tube to work. The carriage is always crowded. Every weekday, at roughly the same time, the average person stands with their mobile clasped in their hands; tapping, scrolling, escapingfrom the train around them.” London Business School reports.

Using the Oscars as a prime example, Viewership is now moving away from television to online, with this shift being particularly true with younger audiences, who are watching less and less traditional TV and spending more of their time on social media platforms. People are now spending large amounts of time on social media possibly because they are looking to constantly connected with the news, their friends, and family, or to update their social channels. In a true sense, we are hooked on being digitally connected; we need to know what is happening at all times of the day to satisfy our need to seek out instant gratification. Just think: A lapse in the conversation leads to the inevitable check-up on the social media on your smartphone or tablet, which is always never too far away.

The New Business Norm

With the rise of television in the 1950s, business marketers fervently gained access to this new medium that was growing rapidly popular with all ages across all of North America and the world. For the first time, people could gain access to information from across time zones with no wait or response time. With all eyes on the only screen in the house, business brands from all industries benefited from this wide reach to engage consumers at an unprecedented scale when compared to traditional media outlets such as newspapers. But, with the audience’s attention increasingly turning away from television and moving toward mobile devices and social media, this presents a huge opportunity for businesses to expand their reach in a way that they have never seen before.

This opportunity is in part of the invention of the smartphone. This generation is never without a smartphone, even when they are watching television. When doing so, they often switch from between both devices to not only watch TV but to also spend time on social networks to discuss the content they are watching or engaging with different people or content all over the world about various subject matters. With this opportunity, instead of having to work through multiple television schedules and the broader set of audience demographics for television programming, business brands can now share personalized messages whenever they want to consumers in any location through popular social media channels they know their target audiences are using.

Social Media: It is Needed Now More than Ever

By leveraging social behavioral data, businesses can target consumers with relevant messaging and interest-based marketing to bring their attention specifically to that brand in order to engage with them. Brands looking to strengthen their customer relationships in 2018 should start with the personalization of social media rather than television, which has demonstrated time and time again how vital it is in business strategy.

“Apart from the marketing of a brand, social media platforms have emerged out to be efficient customer support service providers for the brands. With 24/7 connectivity, the brand representatives can stay in touch with the customers on the go and resolve all their queries or complaints in the most efficient manner.” Laura West reports.

The new age of social media marketing brings tremendous opportunity to any business looking to gain new consumers and retain frequent ones. With attention on social media, a business’ attention needs to be there as well. Television is slowly becoming old-fashioned, and with social media slowly taking over business strategy, it is imperative that businesses learn from recent television ratings and makes the move to social in order to not only stay ahead of the competition but to remain relevant and successful in today’s market.

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Jenny Schecher is a Client Services Director & Social Media Manager at The Millennium Alliance. Jenny is an avid contributor to our blog, Digital Diary, as well as all social media platforms. When she is not writing about digital transformation and technology, she is working with her team to make visions come to life at our events. (and eating all of NYC's best food.) Follow her on Instagram: @jennyschecs or find her on LinkedIn!

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