August 7, 2014

Why We Actually Want Digital Metrics and Nielsen TV Ratings to Play Well Together (but not in that way)

A few of us might have missed this but Facebook and Nielsen recently announced on July 13 that they’ll be working together to help track users’ demographics  on their mobile devices. This means that Facebook, as a mobile company will relay age and gender information to Nielsen.   Both companies have been working since 2010, figuring out ways to leverage each others data (same for Twitter). Ultimately, both companies recognize the current state of the industry where viewers consume content on multiple devices and understanding behavior would result to obvious efficiencies in media spending.

Privacy advocates have a lot of reasons to find this development alarming, for good reason. After all, we don’t really want our phones “listening” to life outside of social media. And how that’s even possible from a technology standpoint, we don’t know at this point. Also, they made it pretty clear that this kind of data won’t be used for advertising.

But still, we’re more interested in exploring data angles between these two companies. You can still treat these two as two separate datasets and see how both play together. Say your company’s  subscribed to both data sources and can view them on a dashboard.

Viewership (Nielsen) vs. Fan Engagement (Facebook) + Mentions (Twitter) vs. Demographics 

Statistic: While watching games, will you use any of the following to communicate with others about the game? | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

This is a pretty obvious one, but something we’d love to measure quantitatively, preferably within our own dashboards. It’s well known that high-rating shows on TV (the World Cup, for example) automatically becomes the trending topic of the moment – further validating that TV and Social Media’s joined at the hip. For marketers, we’d like to see the fine details and not just big numbers. We’d like to see which demographic resonates well the content (all without violating any serious privacy concerns). For one, we would isolate the gender and age of people who mention/post a status the brand etc. For network shows, social media activity is also a good index for receptiveness to content, specially if you manage to filter by sentiment.

Think of what you can do with these. Community managers can add fuel to the fire by coming up with content that resonate with the soccer moms, or millennials. The possibilities are endless!

Ratings Change (Increase/Drop) vs. Fan Base Growth (Facebook) 

This is a pretty interesting metric to work with. Episodes can really increase viewership and fan growth specially during climactic moments in a network series. Then there’s also fan growth due to virality of content. In the case of Game of Thrones’ “Red Wedding” episode, which was declared as the most social in HBO history, we’d like to see how many fans and followers it actually gained compared to the relative viewership. While fans are not likely to unfollow or unlike a page, we can draw correlations between the growth rate.

Ratings (Viewership)  vs Conversions (PPC) vs. Real-time users. 

What if there was a clear call-to-action during the show (like mentioning/displaying a URL)? To see how this could potentially work, check out this video featuring the real-time impact of an onscreen TV appearance. Using Google Analytics, they managed to see their unique visitors jump for 30 to the thousands. It’s pretty fascinating.

The lesson here is that are clear parallels between Nielsen and your metrics. Real-time metrics make it really interesting.

How would you use Nielsen data?