Social Media Engagement Turns Out To Be A Boon For TV

Despite being the largest advertising medium (Forrester projects TV marketers will spend $76 billion on advertising in 2011), TV still lags in its ability to measure anything deeper than basic tune-in. Over the past eight months, we have been covering how recent innovations in TV measurement are making TV ads more targeted and accountable. Forrester clients can read our earlier reports on measurement that discuss media measurement across digital and traditional channels and the future of set-top-box data for TV measurement.

In Elizabeth Shaw’s report, "Use Social Media to Boost Your TV Audience," we make the call that TV networks should “look to new data sources to overlay on traditional data sources to measure the viewer engagement between social media and TV.”

A few weeks back, Bluefin Labs, a three-year-old startup, released a new product that establishes social media engagement metrics for TV shows. The product, Bluefin Signals, analyzes billions of public social media comments and millions of minutes of TV data each month and interprets them into actionable metrics like response level (the volume of comments for a given TV program) and response share (a program’s share of social response during its specific airing time). TV networks will now be able to quantify social media engagement on their programs and drill down deeper than simple tune-in.

As Bluefin Labs starts to help TV networks make sense of social media engagement, effective cross-platform advertising will become an essential part of marketing campaigns. With consumers multitasking with mobile phones and PCs while watching TV, it is only a matter of time before we see new advertising formats that reach viewers on multiple screens. Marketers will need to utilize new data sources in tandem with traditional currencies to measure audience interaction on any device.    

Though it’s too early to tell if Bluefin Labs will be the definitive cross-platform measurement for TV, it signals a major shift toward making mass media more accountable, targeted, and efficient. I, for one, am very excited to see how marketers and agencies use this data to understand their customers.

Are you an advertiser, TV programmer/marketer, or media agency working on any new data sources to measure cross-platform activity? How does your organization look at social media data as it relates to TV? Let us know your thoughts below or in the The Forrester Community For CMO & Marketing Leadership Professionals.