Performance Marketing

Can Nielsen’s Twitter TV Ratings Help Advertisers Improve Performance?

Becky Doles

For decades, advertisers utilizing traditional media such as print, radio and television have had no real way to measure ROI. With the emergence of social media, much more meaningful metrics have emerged to demonstratively prove performance, thereby allowing advertisers to more effectively chose which platforms to utilize for campaigns and which networks to partner with. While many brands have flocked to social media and leveraged metrics effectively for marketing campaigns, these same brands are still advertising on TV with no real way to measure ROI or performance, other than knowing their ad is running during a TV show with a certain number of viewers.

Today, Nielsen has announced a new ranking of programs with the greatest reach on Twitter to help advertisers more effectively reach audiences. The data provides new details on the number of tweets about TV shows and the size of the audience that sees them. For example, the data reveals that TV shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS” are among the most-watched shows on television, with upward of 20 million viewers each, but aren’t even in the top 10 on Nielsen’s Twitter list.

Nielsen’s data will be extremely useful for marketers in their move to leverage the second screen and focus on omni-channel marketing. Many advertisers are looking for ways to exploit buzz about TV programs on Twitter, but may not understand the demographics of the social network. Nielsen’s data reveals that Twitter’s 49.2 million U.S. users have a different makeup than the mass-market TV-viewing audience that marketers spend tens of billions of dollars each year to reach. For example, Twitter’s users generally skew younger and are more concentrated in cities. Understanding who these users are and how to reach them is critical for these advertisers as if TV viewers are engaged, they are paying attention to ads – and if they’re paying attention to ads, they’re in the purchase funnel.

Nielsen says the number of people tweeting about TV was 19 million in the second quarter of 2013, up 24% over same period last year.

Can Nielsen’s data about Twitter engagement during TV shows really help advertisers improve the performance of their marketing campaigns? While Twitter chatter about a brand is not always beneficial, the saying goes that “there is no such thing as bad PR”. GoDaddy’s commercial during this year’s Super Bowl was undoubtedly the most controversial during the event, lighting up Twitter, yet the company saw its biggest sales day ever the following Monday.

As mobile starts to overtake desktop and becomes consumers’ primary device, advertisers will need to understand where the conversation about their brand is happening, which is on social networks such as Twitter. While Facebook is working on a similar feature to help measure chatter and activity on the social network that is related to TV shows, brands that advertise on TV should start paying attention to how they can measure the performance of these campaigns now so they can start reaching more potential customers and retain existing consumers as soon as possible.

If you’re an advertiser, what do you think about Nielsen’s data? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

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