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But just how well do social media-oriented calls to action on television actually work? According to consulting firm Accenture, they work pretty well.
In a survey of US television viewers, Accenture found that nearly two-thirds (64%) recalled seeing a Facebook 'Like' image on television, and one-third actually interacted with a social media service online "after seeing a social media symbol on their TV screen."
The Facebook 'Like' was the most widely recognized symbol, with some 42% of survey participants understanding what it meant, but interestingly QR codes, long a subject of debate, were more widely recognized than Twitter hashtags. 28% of those surveyed indicating that they could spot a QR code while only 18% were familiar enough with a Twitter hashtag to recognize one.
So why do television viewers follow a social media call-to-action? Seeking out more information about a show or ad was cited by 43% of respondents, with coupons and promotional codes (32%) and contests (31%) being the next most popular reasons. Making a purchase was, perhaps not surprisingly, only cited by 16% of those who took action.
The good news for content providers and brands using social media symbols on television: 74% of the respondents who accessed content based on a social media symbol displayed on television said that their expectations were met, while 15% said that their expectations were exceeded. Unfortunately, getting consumers interested is the biggest challenge, with lack of interest being by far the biggest reason a consumer won't interact after seeing a social media symbol.
And there's another caveat: social media symbols work best on television viewers in the 18 to 24 age group, with well over half of these young adults (63%) saying they've taken cues from social media symbols. Once you get to the age groups 25 and above, however, that number falls to under half, hinting that television shows and brands eager to drive television viewers to take online action will still need to remember that social media isn't the end-all and be-all.