Nielsen released its annual Social Media Report last week, and among the great nuggets of data, I thought the most thought-provoking were the numbers related to social TV. As we’ve mentioned before, social TV is when television viewers are able to access assets, sites, photos, videos and other supplemental digital content to enhance their TV-viewing experience. This seems to be the wave of the future, with more than a third of TV viewers also accessing a second screen (usually a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet).

This means a lot of change for marketers because they now have to worry about integrating their offline and online marketing efforts. In particular, these stats stood out:

Upon seeing a television ad, 26% of tablet users looked up product information online (16% of mobile phone users) and 24% looked up deals and promotions related to that product or service on a tablet (12% of mobile phone users). Syncing your offline and online efforts has never been more important. Let’s say, for instance, that your new Super Bowl campaign ad teaser was played during the NFC championship game. You have to anticipate that people will be trying to see it again. Putting it on your YouTube channel and on your website is imperative to giving your audience a seamless offline and online experience. Many companies do not integrate efforts because they believe they are targeting two different audiences; this is simply not the case. And as more and more people access online content while viewing offline content, it becomes increasingly important to sync these marketing efforts to better ascertain where your budget is most effective.

Tracking how your offline and online efforts can take some time, but it will tell you which audiences are most likely to interact with your brand online after seeing branded content offline. For specific examples of customizing your offline tracking capabilities, view this whitepaper: Holding Offline Media Accountable Using Digital Tools.

Other interesting points about social TV: Ages 35-44 are most likely to discuss TV programming with their social connections and about 25% of people ages 18-24 use Twitter to discuss what they like/dislike about the storyline as they’re watching. Side note: This is when hashtags (and hashtag analysis research) come in handy, not only for users that want to see what other people think about the show, but for brands that want to easily access user-generated content about their programming or ads.

As having a second screen becomes more popular among consumers, it’s important that your brand not only aligns but integrates its online and offline marketing efforts, especially on Twitter. If your brand is airing a new ad campaign, try putting a hashtag on the side of the screen. People will understand that this is where their conversation about your ad needs to take place and it will be easier than ever to access their unsolicited opinions. More big ticket ideas include: creating an app to go along with an event sponsorship, running ads in mobile apps that are relevant to your audience or creating TV teasers that encourage consumers to view more online (but please, stay away from the previous desperate GoDaddy approach).

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