Networked Insights board member Mike Darviche led a great session at ad:tech New York entitled, "Chasing Paid Engagement: The Metrics that Matter and How to Measure Them." Let's take an in-depth look at some of the ideas he presented.
The data evolution
The first television ad in the U.S. was broadcast July 1, 1941. Bulova, the watchmaker, paid $4 for a placement on New York station WNBT before a game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. Bulova didn't have much data on how many people were watching or who they were.
Then Nielsen introduced hard data into TV and media buying. The early adopters had a tremendous advantage over those not using Nielsen data. However, today, most media buyers are still using that same Nielsen data: It's hard to win the pot when everyone is dealt the same hand. Further, the Nielsen numbers haven't kept up with the times or technology -- witness its recent problems with measuring web usage.
Social media's new role in tracking
Social media monitoring has recently added some relevant data by tracking brand mentions around shows and ads. That said, simply searching for keywords has its limits: Boolean strings are time consuming to set up and maintain, and you won't ever find what you didn't know to look for.
Social media analytics has the opportunity to do far more than track brand mentions or count posts. The best analytics find discovery-based insights -- uncovering buzz that arises naturally from the conversation, unrelated to keywords. We can use analytics as a predictive tool to find the best shows to engage an audience for a brand -- and greatly improve the efficiency of a media spend.
It's more than an idea. Fans of highly engaged shows are paying more attention to the ads as well as the shows. By measuring the engagement around programs to find shows that score high, and finding opportunities for branded content integration, brands can grab a fast ride on the back of a popular show.
A show with high social engagement, but a low Nielsen rating, has great value because the show is priced according to Nielsen numbers-- not the unique value of a highly engaged audience. The social lift provided when the paid content spurs earned content via social media is generating efficiencies of at least 10 percent on media buys.
To illustrate the advantage of ranking shows according to engagement, let's compare the Nielsen ranking to the social engagement ranking for the week ending October 10, 2010.
- NBC Sunday Night Football
- Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick
- Grey's Anatomy
- Modern Family
- Two and a Half Men
- Dancing with the Stars
- The Big Bang Theory
- Desperate Housewives
Social engagement ratings
- 30 Rock
- Monday Night Football
- American Idol
- Saturday Night Live
- The Office
- NCIS: LAModern Family
The takeaway? Buy "House" and get a No. 1 ranked show for the price of No. 9. Spend less and get the same reach -- that equals efficiency of media spend. In the same vein, "30 Rock" is also a great choice: It doesn't even rank in the Nielsen top 10, but it's second on the social list.
Of course we're speaking very generally here, because we haven't attached the buy to a brand. Social data provides great insights for matching brand to audience, so we'd factor that into our decisions when spending real money -- and gain even greater efficiencies.
Let's wrap up by diving deeper into a specific show. Even before social media existed, Oprah was the Queen of Social. The chart below explores the connection between buzz around a select celebrity and their appearance on Oprah.
We are always finding new ways to measure and leverage social metrics around TV viewing and related conversation. Because of its ability to gain real efficiencies in media spend, it's one of the prime "metrics that matter."