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What Twitter?s 3.1M NFL viewers means for advertisers and competitors

Twitter?s bid to capitalize on streaming video may finally be panning out, as last Thursday?s NFL game saw a 19 percent increase in viewers from the week before, but its lack of long-term viewing may prove ineffectual for advertisers. 

As live streaming and mobile video continue to dominate and disrupt traditional programming and cable, Twitter?s hopes to see a comeback by jumping on the bandwagon might be fulfilled. The social media platform saw 2.6 million viewers for the Thursday night game between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers, but many users only watched in short bursts, which can be a problem for advertisers. 

?It does seem that it is beginning to appeal to many worldwide viewers,? said Carrie McIlveen United States director of marketing at Metia. ?However, they don?t seem to be watching the whole game. 

?From an advertisers standpoint it may be disappointing as they want the full attention of audiences,? she said. ?From reports it seems it had a higher than average engagement.

?Live-streaming continues to evolve with new platforms and tools introduced into the marketplace. It provides an unprecedented opportunity for a business to engage with its audience. Making competition fierce with various platforms focused on claiming the market share lead.?

Viewing but not staying
While Twitter is seeing positive results for its streaming capabilities, of which it has invested quite a lot of hope in, advertisers might not be as lucky. Most fans did not watch the game in its entirety but advertisers are looking for viewers to be tuned in so that their marketing efforts pan out. 

Marketers originally took a bigger stance on live streaming video on Twitter after its first sponsored live streams from the NFL produced positive results, boosting efforts to reach a more engaged audience with real-time content. 


Advertisers looking to get into live streaming videos also have the opportunity to campaign on Twitter and can garner a substantial number of views and appeal to those uninterested in packaged cable deals, but they need to value relevancy. Providing highly contextual content in the right space at the right time can really make a difference in the success of live stream ad campaign, such as sports-related ads within NFL game streams (see more). 

Twitter?s first NFL live stream debuted at 2.35 million viewers, and with this past game has jumped 32 percent. The social media platform?s notion of combining the social element into its broadcast, that allows users to seamlessly participate without having to stop their stream is likely to keep its live streams moving forward. 

?Twitter is a leader when it comes to streaming video because of the ease by which viewers can consume live TV content on the platform,? said Rod Favaron, CEO, Spredfast, a social software platform that works with the NFL. ?They?ve created a very accessible way for anyone to tune in, connect and converse with other viewers, all from in one place. 

?It?s an exciting time to be in the programming industry, but it?s also likely a bit intimidating,? he said. ?This is the biggest shift we?ve seen in decades. And it's just getting started. 

?As livestreaming fully enters the mainstream, we expect to see the platforms, including Twitter, create new ways to view and consume content that was traditionally only available on TV."

Conversations on social
Over-the-top streaming platforms are changing the way we consume television programming and live events. Twitter may possibly see a full comeback while investing in these properties, but it will take time for consumer?s to adjust to full time viewing on social. 

If the social media platform provides a high-quality viewing experience paired with unique capability, consumers will adjust and take to Twitter more often for the Thursday night games. 

While Twitter has yet to announce the numbers for the live stream of the Presidential Debate, the event dominated social conversations with more than 5.78 million mentions. It may have been the most talked about debate on social media, but its sentiment was not good, with the number of negative conversations almost double the number of positive. 


Chart courtesy of Spedfast

A large portion of the conversation is likely to been have generated by the live stream. 

?It will take some time to change consumers viewing habits from TV to online for NFL games,? Ms. McIlveen said. ?However it seems they are making an impact with great numbers and some devoted eyeballs. 

?They will need to remain focused on delivering the best experience.?