Twitter is a barometer of TV audience engagement - Nielsen study

Twitter is a barometer of TV audience engagement – Nielsen study

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Twitter is not representative of the population – not everybody uses Twitter and not everybody uses it for the same reasons or in the same way. However, new research from Nielsen shows that it can be used as a proxy for how engaged the population is with a particular TV show.

Their research shows a strong coloration (79.5%) between activity during a programme by those people on Twitter with neurological engagement among the who audience. As Neilsen puts it

increases in conversation on Twitter during live programming signal that there is high engagement with programming among the general viewing audience

This finding is significant. Twitter provides a readily observable dataset that is often underused (or incorrectly used) to draw insights. The challenge to date has been the assumption that this data is in no way representative of public opinion at large. This Neilsen study suggests that it can be.

For TV this will provide a viable resource to help understand the impact a particular programme had – potentially even used real-time to help to craft live events as they happen. And as this analysis is based on publicly-available data, rather than private research conducted by a particular broadcaster or production company, it is available to anybody who wants to understand engagement with a particular programme. Be that a competitor broadcaster, or be that a brand wanting to understand how engaged an audience really is with a programme.

Further Neilsen research has shown that adverts are more memorable in TV programmes with high engagement. Meaning that Twitter engagement can now be used to understand better how memorable an advert might be during any particular programme.

Twitter data (and social media data in generally) is too often misused as a source of insight – over-used by some, under-used by others. This research from Neilsen helps us begin to identify viable use-cases where we can understand, and act on, what people say online.