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9 Ways On Air Promos Can Drive Viewership

by Ed Abis,  09-Mar-2017 11:52:41

An on-air promotion is an advertising spot that lets TV networks promote its show lineup and brand itself or showcase programming sponsors. The purpose of a promotion is to boost awareness for shows, encourage a desire to view and increase channel viewership. ‘Social promos’ as we like to call them, go one step further by generating audience engagement across platforms.


“What is a social promo?” you may be asking. A social promo is an on-air promo that has been enriched with dynamic social content – sponsored or otherwise.


Social promos are an effective way to connect with your audience. We thought we would share some great ways that broadcasters can make the best use of this valuable opportunity to engage with audiences.


  1. Showcase viewer talent

If it’s a talent show, have your viewers share their own talent for a chance to feature in the promo. We’ve all sat at home saying “I can do better than that”… this is your chance to let your audience prove it. For example, Spike ran social promos for their show Ink Master which let people share a photo of their tattoos via Instagram and receive a critique from the show’s judges.



  1. Use the broadcast environment to amplify what your audience are doing on social

When program makers and marketers understand their audience and the kind of content they’re sharing, they can then use the broadcast environment to further amplify that social activity. USA Network saw that their audience liked to share impressions of the main character of the show Psych and used that as part of their promos. The socially-enhanced promos saw a 48% uplift in viewers and an extra 4mins dwell time compared to traditional spots.



  1. Let fans become the star

People love having their 15 seconds of fame and are eager to interact with promos if they have the chance to be on TV. La Voz Kids (The Voice Kids) ran a promo, sponsored by P&G detergent ‘Gain’, which encouraged viewers to share their photo for a chance to star in the spot. Two winners (East/West Coast US) were chosen and got the star treatment live on TV.



  1. Tie your promo into content people love to share

Promos with pets are always fun! Everyone loves to share photos of their pets, as seen when Bravo ran a promo for ‘The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills’ that gave fans a chance to have their pet featured. Viewers could post a photo to Twitter or Instagram with the official hashtag with selected winners being featured in premiere episodes. Additionally, all submissions were posted on the Bravo website so viewers continued to interact long after the show had aired.


  1. Use sponsored promos to drive revenue

Having a relevant sponsor on board for your promos is a great way to generate incremental revenue. This is particularly effective when the sponsorship is relevant to the programming, making the integration seamless. Invisalign-sponsored ads ran for the show ‘Odd Mom Out’ on NBCU lifestyle networks, where viewers were encouraged to participate in the social media campaign using hashtag #SelfieEsteem. The campaign put together the main character’s unique yet relatable brand of comedy with a product designed to build confidence and self-esteem.



  1. Run social competitions

Most of the time, audiences see the opportunity to appear on air a good enough incentive to participate. However, offering a prize can drive even greater enthusiasm. For example, USA Network created a call out for fans to submit a photo of their dog for a chance to star in the on air promo and win a years’ supply of Purina dog food.



  1. Reward your social audience

You can bet that your audience is already talking about your show on social media. Including viewer-submitted messages, photos or videos in promos is a great way to reward them for participating and allows you to drive the conversation. UK’s Lifetime network has seen a great response to their docu-series ‘Born This Way’ with people sharing their own stories and photos of loved ones on Facebook and Twitter. Lifetime has rewarded their social audience by featuring them in heart-warming social promos for TV & social media.



  1. Have talent make the call-to-action

Using the show’s talent to make the call-to-action is a great way to encourage viewer engagement. USA Network included live social content in Lexus-sponsored promos which aired during the series Suits. Meghan Markle featured in calls to action on TV, official website and social media, encouraging fans to share photos to be featured on air. It followed the success of the previous year’s socially-enhanced promos which resulted in a 22% increase in Lexus’ brand favorability.


  1. Make it fun

Make your promos fun for viewers. To promote USA’s broadcast of the Minions movie, the network encouraged fans to go to their website and create a Minions Family Selfie with cute filters and post it on Twitter or Instagram for a chance to see themselves on TV and win a prize pack.



ed-2.pngEd Abis is the Commercial Director for Based in Manchester UK, he works with broadcasters to develop engaging audience driven shows and promotions using’s platform STORY.


Our social engagement platform STORY is used by broadcasters to create, moderate and deliver social promos within minutes. Get in touch with us to discuss further.


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