Social TV becomes engagement bellwether

DetailsEditor | 09 March 2015

Nielsen has released research claiming to show that social TV activity such as on Twitter can also tell us just how engaged the general viewing population is with the programming it watches.

Nielsen socialThe audience research firm says that social media has cemented its place within the TV industry. Indeed Nielsen asserts that social media now stands as a bellwether for general audience engagement. It argues that it is now well established that networks, agencies, and advertisers can better understand how audiences on Twitter are interacting with TV programming by delving into the endless conversations taking place there.

Nielsen said that increases in conversation on Twitter during live programming pointed to high engagement with programming among the general viewing audience.

Nielsen's social analysts assessed minute-by-minute Twitter activity (ie, Tweets) around live airings of eight prime time broadcast and cable TV shows with varied levels of Twitter activity and TV ratings.

The Nielsen Neuro division — which commonly studies engagement with advertising — used its standard measurements of emotion, memory and attention to track participants' engagement with episodes. It found that changes in Twitter TV activity were strongly correlated (79.5%) with neurological engagement. More specifically, the study identified emotion, memory and attention as the specific neurometrics tied to Twitter TV activity.

This latter finding is notable for three reasons, Nielsen suggested. First, the fact that Twitter TV activity is correlated with the combination of these three neurometrics signals that programme content is engaging viewers; the combination of these same key neurometrics is correlated with sales outcomes in ad testing; and that ads perform better on memorability in TV programmes with high programme engagement.

Nielsen concluded that, combined, these findings suggest that advertising in highly social programmes could be an opportunity to drive both ad memorability and sales outcomes.