LONDON: Integrate, anticipate, associate is the advice for advertisers wishing to tap into the growing use of Twitter by UK consumers to comment on television programmes.

New research from Twitter and Thinkbox, the commercial TV marketing body, featured an ethnographic study of 18 households to understand their combined TV and Twitter behaviour together with follow-up interviews and a 1,000-strong survey testing perceptions of brands that are active on TV and/or Twitter.

Launching the report, #TVTwitter: how advertisers get closer to conversation, at the start of the week-long Advertising Week Europe in London (full reports from the event will be available on Warc), Neil Mortensen, Research and Planning Director at Thinkbox, said that "Twitter has introduced another way of doing what comes naturally to us as humans – sharing and conversing – and for that reason is for many people becoming an important part of the TV experience".

Three quarters of respondents believed hashtags were searched for on Twitter because they had been seen on TV. The report further identified two ways in which people used Twitter hashtags around TV content.

The first was as a punchline, a creative or funny way to sign off a tweet, and the second was as a way of categorising conversations and finding new content associated with a show.

Users searched for a hashtag to learn more, so brands needed to make sure they had additional content ready and waiting, the report advised.

While planning ahead and anticipating was important, hashtags should also have a clear purpose, the report suggested, such as driving people to a Promoted Trend to find out more information about a product and move consumers along the purchase journey.

Depending on a brand's market and aims it might also consider building in specific Twitter content and activity as an integral part of a TV campaign.

And even if a brand was not actually advertising on TV it could still benefit from association by contributing to conversations its customers were engaged in.

The research also found that humour and celebrities were important to people using Twitter. Around three-quarters of respondents thought other users made sure their tweets about TV were funny so they would be retweeted.

And 69% said they liked seeing celebrities talk about TV shows on Twitter. Participants in the ethnographic research also said they enjoyed the ability to interact with celebrities on Twitter.

Data sourced from Thinkbox; additional content by Warc staff