Powered in part by the continued ubiquity of the smartphone—now firmly in the hands of over 87% of the U.S. adult population—social media reached about 177 million people each week on average in third-quarter 2016. And according to Nielsen’s new 2016 Social Media Report, the role social media is playing in consumers’ lives is significant and increasing. According to an analysis in the report leveraging Nielsen Social insights, there were an average of 14.2 million social media interactions about TV across Facebook and Twitter each day this past fall in the U.S. alone. Here’s a look at some of the other social TV insights shared within the Social Media Report. Source: Nielsen
Social TV Insights
- How Loyal Fans and Big Moments Build Program Buzz
- Social Gives Consumers A Chance To Be Heard
- How TV Ads Are Driving Earned Media for Brands
- Twitter TV as an Indicator of Audience Engagement
- SCR Measures Social TV Across Facebook & Twitter
- Methodology Behind Delivering Total Social TV Measurement
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In a perfect world, consumer behavior would be easily measureable, interpretable and actionable. For social TV, that would mean social media users chatting about or referencing TV content would habitually mention designated hashtags and program accounts in their respective posts, allowing programmers and measurement providers to know exactly just what it is they’re talking about. But social media interactions, with their truncated text, acronyms and inside jokes—including those about TV programming—aren’t just imperfect, they’re a world all their own. After all, audiences interact with programs in real time, posting their thoughts or sharing others’ posts as quickly as events unfold on screen with little regard for “official language.” In order to get a total snapshot of social TV activity, measurement needs to account for the diverse and ever-changing ways consumers interact with programs, a recent Nielsen study took a closer look at two key considerations: classifiers and content type. Source: Nielsen
As temperatures cool down outside, things are heating up on television screens across the U.S. as millions of eager viewers tune in to the new fall TV season. Armed with their remote controls, smartphones and tablets, Americans are just as eager to tap into new program offerings or familiar standbys as they are to get in on the myriad conversations about all the action taking place across social media. So, just how much TV-related social media activity is occurring across social platforms? To find out, Nielsen dove into the social media activity that took place during the kick-off week to the fall broadcast TV season, Sept. 19-25, 2016. Source: Nielsen
Today, we announced the launch of Social Content Ratings (SCR), the most comprehensive measure of social TV activity across Facebook and Twitter. This launch marks the first time that social TV insights across Facebook and Twitter will be measured with a standardized, third-party methodology and shared with the industry. Source: Nielsen
With nearly a billion Tweets sent in the U.S. about TV in 2015, social media continues to play a starring role in fans’ living rooms. Audiences gathered on Twitter this season to discuss the fate of zombie apocalypse survivors, bid farewell to the Black Mamba during his final game as a Laker, and comment on the Bachelor’s questionable love interests. From Frank Underwood’s fictional campaign for reelection to a series of Presidential primary debates that seemed stranger than fiction, the American people also took to Twitter to document the political rat races as they unfolded on-screen. At the close of this eventful TV season, Nielsen took a look back to highlight the top series, specials and sports events on Twitter in the U.S. from Aug. 31, 2015, through May 29, 2016. Source: Nielsen
Getting a handle on the countless ways viewers use social media to interact with programming isn’t an easy proposition—especially when programs air live. The complexity of language peaks at those times when audiences watch “together” in real time and fans comment about on-screen events and talent. Although the unique nature of live social viewing is evident in consumer behavior, it has not been established that a methodology based on linear TV – a term used to refer to live TV programming – is necessary to precisely measure relevant social TV activity. With that pursuit in mind, Nielsen, whose methodology is uniquely inclusive of the linear TV schedule, analyzed 79 programs on English- and Spanish-language broadcast and cable networks. We sought to assess the role that the linear TV schedule plays in measuring Twitter TV activity.
Got something on your mind? Better post it to social media. This immediacy that consumers so value today—be it posting a vacation selfie or commenting on that new flavor of chips—has led marketers to change how they engage with them. Advertisers today often factor social media into the TV buying and planning process by evaluating affinities between programs and brands and considering the impact of TV campaigns on earned media.
Whether you were watching for the game, the halftime show, or the ads, this year’s showdown between the Broncos and the Panthers made it a Super Bowl to remember. The minute-by-minute excitement could be felt from the field, on screens across the country, and through social media as millions took part in the action on Twitter. 15.2 million people in the U.S. saw Tweets about Sunday’s telecast of Super Bowl 50 on CBS. Those Tweets were seen a total of 1.3 billion times (Twitter TV impressions) throughout the night. The audience reached by Tweets about the event was 53% male and 56% over the age of 25.
This week we announced that Nielsen will be expanding Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings to include Facebook topic data for the first time. The expanded set of metrics, Nielsen's "Social Content Ratings" will be the first solution to measure total program-related activity on Twitter and Facebook, including program mentions between friends and family, to followers, and shared publicly. We will track social media activity for original video programming from TV and over-the-top streaming providers for linear airtimes as well as on a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week basis.
Over the past year, millions of TV fans across the U.S have come together on Twitter each week to discuss TV’s biggest moments as they happen live without leaving the comfort of their own couches. Nielsen ranked the top series, specials and sports events on Twitter this year, along with the most-Tweeted-about minute in each category.
Today’s TV audiences often use social media while watching live series programs, with many authors gathering on Twitter each week while viewing. According to recent research from Nielsen, Tweets sent during live airings, which make up the majority of weekly series program Tweets, could affect more than just those tuning in live. They also lead to valuable promotional impressions for networks looking to build viewership later in the week through on-demand, DVR, or streaming. So what share of Twitter impressions (total number of times Tweets are seen) for TV programs are coming from live Tweeting, as opposed to Tweeting throughout the rest of the week?
Social media activity about live TV programming ebbs and flows as each program airs, signaling, according to recent research, how engaged the general audience is with what they’re watching. But when we step outside the minute-by-minute activity, we often see that individual programs see relatively steady overall levels of social activity during live airings.
With this premise in mind, Nielsen wanted to understand if the same group of authors comment each week, thus creating the steady flow of weekly program buzz. Or, alternatively, is there a larger group of audience members taking to Twitter over the course of the season, each jumping into the conversation at various moments throughout?
Throughout this TV season, fans have taken to Twitter to discuss edge-of-your-seat moments and minute-by-minute action. Whether to celebrate a game winning shot, mourn a fallen character or gasp at a scandalous plot twist, thumbs across the U.S. tapped furiously, sending millions of Tweets and generating over a billion impressions on average each week.
Fans watching programs live shared experiences together while their Tweets, according to recent research from Nielsen Social, may have reminded others to catch-up later in the week. So, as this TV season comes to an end, it’s time to recap how series programs, special events and sports events captivated audiences on Twitter in the U.S. this season from Sept. 1, 2014, through May 24, 2015.
When it comes to TV program engagement, networks and advertisers see value in social media. One reason for that is because high Twitter activity around TV programs is indicative of high viewer engagement. Networks also turn to social media to understand how program-related buzz relates to audience tune-in, and advertisers and agencies have seen that paid media placements in highly social programs can significantly boost earned media for their brands. But can we identify what makes a program social?
In today’s connected world, where consumers can use social media to immediately share their experiences and opinions with friends and followers, a key objective for advertisers can be to turn paid media into earned media. For Microsoft, this meant optimizing its TV advertising to drive social activity around its brand. To help the company understand its audiences' reactions, Nielsen Social analyzed Microsoft-related Twitter activity around a recent U.S. ad campaign.
Twitter has quickly become the modern water cooler for TV audiences, but it’s also proven to be a viable tool for networks seeking to drive audience tune-in and advertisers looking to amplify brand messaging beyond TV. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, recent Nielsen research found that Twitter TV volumes can tell them more than just who’s reacting to TV on Twitter—they can also tell how engaged general viewing audiences are with the shows they watch. And as Deirdre Thomas, SVP, Client Solutions, explains, these latest findings are more than just backed by consumer neuroscience. Together, with other Nielsen research, they suggest that paying attention to those fast fingers on second screens could increase ad memorability and sales outcomes for TV advertisers.
It is 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. Now, new research shows that Twitter TV activity can also tell us just how engaged the general viewing population is with the programming it watches. In fact, it now stands as a bellwether for general audience engagement.
For media companies, the fall TV season is when the rubber meets the road. Networks and agencies white knuckle themselves into a fervent state while they anxiously wait to see if audiences revel in their new program offerings. Meanwhile, agencies have already placed their ad bets and are intently watching to see what adjustments they need to make as the game plays out. Meanwhile, viewers hold all the cards, eagerly sampling the new shows, offering plenty of endorsement and critique along the way.
So with all this commotion around fall TV, what role does Twitter activity around new shows play in it all? We dove into this question on the heels of the fall 2014 premiere season.
If social media is the new water cooler, U.S. viewers certainly had their share of “let’s discuss” moments in 2014. From someone kind of getting devoured by an anaconda to the U.S. Men’s World Cup soccer squad trying to make a go of it to, well, zombies, there’s no shortage of Twitter activity during programs—and even in the days after.
This year, given the myriad social TV conversations taking place 24/7, Nielsen ranked the top series, special event telecasts and top sports events across Twitter. Nielsen also revealed the most-Tweeted-about minute in each category. After all, those OMG occasions often act as calls to action, prompting viewers to take to Twitter, and reminding fans who may have missed an episode to catch up in the days to come.
Social TV is no longer a new phenomenon. Millions of people take to Twitter to share their passions about their favorite programming in the heat of the moment—as these moments happen. While the majority of the conversations happen during live broadcasts, as networks look to boost fan engagement and build program audiences, networks and agencies can now also quantify how much of the discussion happens outside of the live airing window for more than 650 English and Spanish language programs.