Ad Recall

Study Demonstrates High Correlation of Emotional Reactions to Ad Recall Levels Post-Airing

Originally published on Twitter


Canvs partnered with Starcom Mediavest Group and Twitter to understand how programming influences viewers’ emotions, as tracked by Tweets. Furthermore, we wanted to know how those emotions impact recall of TV commercials and intention to act on them. The findings show the value of emotions to marketers, and how brands can engage Twitter users who are already responding to what is on their TV screens.


This study is the result of Twitter’s Social TV Lab partnership with Starcom. Twitter partnered with research firm DB5 to survey 3,536 Twitter and non-Twitter users who viewed the same episode of a TV program. On the day following the show, Twitter asked people about their emotions toward the program, their Twitter activity during the show (if any), which advertisers they recalled, and how favorably they viewed brands after seeing their ads. For participants willing to share their Twitter handles, Canvs’ emotional analysis helped enrich survey responses with data on participants’ Emotional Reactions.

Key Findings


There was 48% higher ad recall for TV shows that elicited Emotional Reactions, as measured by Twitter. Canvs identified the instances when a high percentage of Tweets about a TV program contained Emotional Reactions. During such programs, viewers were 48% more likely to recall an ad than those who watched programs that had a lower Emotional Reaction Rate*.


There was 62% higher TV ad recall for viewers who use Twitter while watching TV. In an era when full attention to TV programs isn’t guaranteed, Twitter conversations strengthen attention rather than diminishing it. We found that people who used Twitter while watching a TV program — whether actively Tweeting or just following along — were 62% more likely than those not on Twitter to recall the brands that advertised during the program.


Passionate viewers are more likely to buy. Partnering with Twitter, we zeroed in on viewers who were emotionally invested in a program, as expressed by Tweeting responses like Love and Excited instead of simply noting they were following along. Emotionally invested viewers were 300% more likely to recall advertisers than people who Tweet with more neutral messages. Further, 61% of this emotionally reactive group said they were likely to purchase from that brand now or in the future.




Advertisers should target TV programs that are more likely to elicit an emotional response on Twitter. Find the kind of programming that resonates emotionally with the audience you are seeking to reach through Canvs, and then use Twitter targeting to align campaigns with these shows.

Advertisers should sync TV ad campaigns with Promoted Tweets to reinforce campaign messaging. TV advertisers running concurrent Twitter ad campaigns experienced an average 9% lift in ad recall, compared to campaigns that did not run Promoted Tweets. Adding video to Tweets can further enrich a multi-channel campaign, letting you start the story on TV and give people an opportunity to participate on Twitter.

Run Twitter campaigns that tap into specific emotions around a show, as per emotional analysis by Canvs. Link creative to show content as it unfolds. Dramatic moments such as voting, cliffhangers, and the final minutes of a close game are all great opportunities to spark further conversation.

*“Emotional Reaction Rate” is a proprietary Canvs metric and is defined as the percent of Tweets associated with a given program that have emotions compared to all of the Tweets for that program. The Twitter data is compiled by Nielsen and analyzed by Canvs.

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