This is the final part of our five-part series, Building Viewership with News Topicals. Read Part 4 here. Across the country, millions of people watch the entertainment programming TV stations provide during the day and at night. So it makes sense for stations to promote their newscasts topically within all that programming in the hopes […]
This is the final part of our five-part series, Building Viewership with News Topicals. Read Part 4 here.
Across the country, millions of people watch the entertainment programming TV stations provide during the day and at night. So it makes sense for stations to promote their newscasts topically within all that programming in the hopes viewers will stay and watch the next newscast.
For years, this was the only means stations had to recruit news viewers with the news of the day, unless stations bought time on other media, like radio, print or cable.
Then came Facebook.
These viewers have opted in to “like” their favorite stations. So using the stations’ Facebook feeds to topically promote the next newscast also makes sense.
It reaches people where they are. They don’t have to be watching television. Plus, it’s free.
From a marketing perspective, it’s fishing where the fish are.
But Facebook is new, unique and different from broadcast, so experts aren’t always in agreement as to how this social media platform should be used to turn Facebook users into television news viewers.
One challenge with using Facebook to promote your next newscast is reach, or lack of it, says Russ Nelligan, creative services director at WCVB, Hearst’s ABC affiliate in Boston.
“Even though WCVB has over 750,000 Facebook fans, not everybody is going to be delivered that fast. Organically, you are going to have a fairly limited amount of reach.”
Nelligan says depending on the number of people you might reach between given time periods, you may have to buy more time to optimize and broaden that reach.
But don’t give up on Facebook, he says, even though it may not work every day. “We probably do more with targeted special reports because people are viewing those differently.”
Another challenge to using Facebook to turn users into newscast viewers is that the creative must be tailored differently than on-air.
“You have to be careful with Facebook,” warns David Hershey, creative services director at KTVT, the CBS O&O in Dallas. “People on line are very savvy when they are being sold something.”
Creative services directors say carefully crafted messages that fit how users experience Facebook do work, especially during those times when people aren’t watching television.
“Facebook is super important to topically promote the news,” says Luanne Stewart, creative director at WSMV, Meredith’s NBC affiliate in Nashville, “especially for the earlier newscasts because the audience available on broadcast in the afternoon is pretty small.”
“It gives us another platform to talk to people when we may not be able to talk to them on our air,” adds Dax Dobbs, marketing director at KXAN, Nexstar’s Austin, Texas, NBC affiliate.
Hershey says you won’t see his station using the same news topical it airs on television, on Facebook.
“What you will see is our digital team provide you with a bit of information, and point you to tune into the story at 10 o’clock.”
“You can’t take a traditional topical, and put it on Facebook and expect a lot of engagement,” says Sean Garcia, creative services director at WFTV, Cox’s ABC affiliate in Orlando.
Why not? Because the creative that does work on Facebook is mostly silent.
“Just video with some words,” says Council Bradshaw, creative services VP at WJZY, the Fox O&O in Charlotte, N.C.
Research says 85% of users watch, but don’t listen to their Facebook feed.
“You really need to have these spots effective without sound,” Nelligan says, “and the typical perfect length should be under 15 seconds.”
Many stations use Facebook Live to promote their next newscast.
“We do Weather Talk Live,” says Joany Agostino, creative services director at WDBJ, Gray’s CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Va.
“Every night about 10:40, our evening team starts doing a Facebook Live. They are in the makeup room, talking and asking questions about what we have coming up, it’s so warm and engaging. We have so many people watching that. Then they take the phone with them out to the studio and say, ‘we’ll see you in a minute’.
“I think this is really effective.”