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networked-insights-social-impressions-apr-2011.JPGAn episode of the Fox TV comedy-drama “Glee” generates an average of about 82.4 million impressions on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, according to [pdf] an April 2011 white paper from Networked Insights. This makes “Glee” the top TV show for social impressions and puts it 80% ahead of its nearest competitor in terms of social impressions, CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men” (45.7 million average impressions).

Fox Has Most Shows in Social Impression Top 20

Although four of them are ranked 16-20, Fox leads all broadcast networks with seven shows in the top 20 programs by social impressions. NBC follows with four, and ABC, CBS and CW follow with three each.

Comedies Engage Viewers

Nine of the top 20 shows can be primarily classified as comedies. Four are supernatural dramas, and another three are medical dramas. Two combine comedy and drama, and two are unscripted reality competitions.

Social Engagement Can Boost Ad ROI

networked-insights-social-impressions-detail-apr-2011.JPGNetworked Insights analyzed the ROI of a 30-second ad on several different shows to determine how taking advantage of high social engagement can boost an ad’s total ROI. A 30-second ad on “American Idol” is the clear leader among these shows in terms of gross ratings points (GRPs), delivering 14.2. It is also the most expensive show for 30-second ads in this group, costing $599,900.

However, an alternative approach to capturing a like audience would be to buy a combination of shows with lower GRPs, and thus lower costs, but with higher social impressions. For example, purchasing a week’s ads on episodes of “Saturday Night Live,” “Chuck,” “Fringe,” “The Vampire Diaries” and “Supernatural” would deliver GRPs equivalent to “American Idol.”

But for the same GRPs, an advertiser would reach an audience 60% more engaged than the “Idol” audience. And, those five buys together would be less than half the cost of “Idol.”

Fan Fiction Engages Audiences

Networked Insights analysis indicates four of the five shows in the alternative buy, “Saturday Night Live” excepted, are generating extensive fan fiction. This means fans are writing stories that involve the programs’ characters, helping keep them top of mind and expanding mentions. Story sharing and peer-reviewed material are building community, helping sustain the franchises.

March Madness Upsets Ideal for Online Ad Content

Rather than focus on expensive and limited TV advertising inventory, advertisers should consider focusing on potentially free and limitless online advertising inventory for NCAA men’s basketball tournament-related campaigns, according to previously released data from Networked Insights. In particular, data from the March 2011 white paper “March Madness: A Slam Dunk” indicates associating ads with online content relating to upsets (games where a higher-ranked team unexpectedly loses to a lower-ranked team) can be highly effective at generating impressions.

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