Technology

Buying Into the Buzz

Research companies are building alliances with other players to put social media tracking to better use 8/19/2013 12:01:00 AM Eastern

Seeking a Data Repository

As part of its effort to overcome some of the current problems with multiplatform measurement, the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) has put out a request for proposals to create a digital repository that would provide better data on digital usage.

Currently, companies have access to their own data and can get reports from research companies like comScore and Nielsen on usage of their content. But following a long-standing online tradition, very little data is made available about their competitors. The repository would overcome that problem by creating a kind of “digital warehouse so that everyone could see data on a show level across all their different competitors,” says Jane Clarke, managing director of CIMM, which is backed by top programmers, agencies and advertisers.

Programmers are keen on the idea, Clarke adds. “There is a lot of pent-up demand” for better measurement, she says.

Further down the road, CIMM would also like to get MSOs to supply set-top box data, though operators have been reluctant to share that kind of information. —GW

winslowbc@gmail.com | @GeorgeWinslow

Nielsen’s recent finding that Twitter activity has a statistically significant
impact on the ratings of many primetime episodes confirmed what many observers had long
believed—social media activity
needs to be a crucial component
of any successful TV programming
or advertising strategy.

Why This Matters
Social media measurement will play a key role in helping networks better promote their fall primetime schedules.

But as social media assumes a
more central place in the promotion
of new shows, the process
of tracking and understanding the activity
remains a complex, often laborintensive
endeavor.

"Social media measurement is
very complex," says Trendrr CEO
and founder Mark Ghuneim.
"Each show, genre and audience
has its own behavioral type."

Some of that complexity reflects
demographic differences between various platforms.
Public Twitter feeds are widely used by
social media measurement companies. But that
data can skew younger than other social media
platforms such as Facebook, and exclusive reliance
on Twitter feeds can lead to missing a lot
of other social media activity, researchers say.

During a recent TCA presentation, CBS chief
research officer Dave Poltrack cited a May 2013
Trendrr study that found the social media activity
around broadcast programs was actually
seven times greater on Facebook than Twitter.

It's Complicated

Those issues are further complicated by
the growing use of visual media--such as
photos, GIF files and video on platforms like
Instagram and Tumblr--and the difficulties of
analyzing particular words, adds Ben Carlson,
president and cocreator at Fizziology.
"It is not a problem that can be solved with a
single computer program," he says.

TechChart.jpgSystems that simply add up mentions of the
word "House," for example, would have a hard
time determining if the mentions referred to
the TV show, a home or a real estate ad.

To help overcome some of these problems,
social media and research firms have been
ramping up their capabilities, both with acquisitions
and alliances. Within the last year, Nielsen
has acquired the Social Guide measurement
service and announced a partnership with Twitter
to create a Nielsen Twitter TV Rating this
fall. Nielsen also has a long-standing alliance
with Facebook, which supplies demographic
data for its Online Campaign Ratings service.

This year, Twitter has also acquired social
media analytics firm BlueFin Labs; Shazam
has launched new tools to measure engagement
across platforms; Facebook is working
closer with Trendrr to collect data on the
social media conversations about TV shows;
and companies like TRA are planning to expand
their capabilities.

Facebook has been particularly active in
strengthening the data it is providing to TV
partners and advertisers as the amount of social
media activity relating to TV programs takes
place on its platform. There were, for example,
around 10 million interactions relating to Discovery's
recent Shark Week stunt on Facebook.

Such efforts are particularly important because
"today as an industry we don't even
know the total numbers" for social media
interactions for TV programming, explains
Daniel Slotwiner, head of ecosystem measurement
at Facebook.

"Quantifying the amount of conversation
across those social media platforms accurately
is of paramount importance," he says.

As part of
Facebook's efforts to provide better measurement, the company has been working
on research that would show the importance of its the platform versus its
competitors, and data that would prove Facebook-user value for TV companies.

That commitment
explains its expanded working relationship with Trendrr, which will see
Facebook supplying data on mentions of TV programs from public and non-public
activity on its platform. Facebook will, however, compile the data based on
keywords supplied by Trendrr, which will not see the posts. Some age and
demographic information may also be supplied.

The
ability to provide more information about users is one key advantage to using
the Facebook data. "Twitter has a very open data platform but there is no way
to really know the reach of a post or the engagement of a post," says Evan
Krauss, president of the second-screen firm GetGlue. "With Facebook, users log
in and you know how many saw a Facebook post."

The size
of Facebook's audience is also important, with some 88 million to 100 million
users logging into Facebook each night during primetime hours in the U.S.

But as the
company pushes to better monetize its audiences, it will have to further
improve the social media data it is supplying to advertisers and partners.

Pointing
to widespread reports that Facebook is likely to start selling video ads for $1
million to $2.5 million per day, George Musi, head of cross-media analytics for
multiscreen ad management company DG say,s "if they go that route and try to
take money from the $75 billion TV ad business, then they are going to have to
be much more open about providing data....If you want to make brand advertisers
comfortable with their platform they will have to prove the effectiveness of
the concept and be very open."

All About the Data

Better
data is also a key component of Shazam's second-screen efforts. In June, the
company launched a "Shazam Engagement Rate" metric to measure social engagement
with TV ad campaigns, explains David Jones, Shazam's executive VP of marketing.

"We're
sitting on a goldmine of data that can help clients know what part of their TV
ad campaign is resonating," he says.

This can
help with media buying plans in the future by showing which networks and shows
are more effective in producing social engagement, and could also help tweak ad
campaigns during their run, he argues. "If it is a long three- or four-month
campaign, we can help them better understand how they might move around some of
their TV ad spend to make it more effective," he adds.

Over time,
such data will also be increasingly important to programmers looking to better
promote their fare, says Elizabeth Breese, senior content and digital marketing
strategist at the social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon.

"In the
future, I think you will see a much tighter relationship between social media
and the programming and marketing departments, where they will be paying much
closer attention to the engagement on social media," she says.

But Breese
cautions that companies need to look closely at the data and the systems producing
it. J.J. Abrams' new show, Believe, will
be particularly challenging, "because it is such a tough word to analyze on
social media," she says. "It is used in so many different contexts and you have to have an effective way to filter out all the
irrelevant conversation. If you are just relying on key words or predefined
rules, it will be almost impossible to understand the conversation."

Seeking a Data Repository

As part of its effort to overcome some of the current problems with multiplatform measurement, the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) has put out a request for proposals to create a digital repository that would provide better data on digital usage.

Currently, companies have access to their own data and can get reports from research companies like comScore and Nielsen on usage of their content. But following a long-standing online tradition, very little data is made available about their competitors. The repository would overcome that problem by creating a kind of “digital warehouse so that everyone could see data on a show level across all their different competitors,” says Jane Clarke, managing director of CIMM, which is backed by top programmers, agencies and advertisers.

Programmers are keen on the idea, Clarke adds. “There is a lot of pent-up demand” for better measurement, she says.

Further down the road, CIMM would also like to get MSOs to supply set-top box data, though operators have been reluctant to share that kind of information. —GW

 

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