Twitter would like to be a window to the soul, but it’s not. However, it is able to look somewhat into our minds, being able to show just what we are watching on television. New research is being published this week to demonstrate exactly how this works.
The TV rating company, Nielsen, found 300 volunteers to take part in a study. They were hooked to brain monitors and their reactions to brand new episodes of eight TV shows, prime time no less, were recorded. The researchers then correlated this with Twitter messages during the time of the actual broadcast of these television shows. What they found was that there was a clear and strong correlation between how engaged television viewers were with a specific show and the tweets that they sent. This was further explained by Nielsen Neuro’s director of neuroscience, Avgusta Shestyuk, who headed the research project.
You can use the Twitter activity to predict the engagement of the show. As the audiences are getting more engaged with the segment, the Twitter activity is getting more intense.
Twitter has long believed that the public orientation, in real time, of Twitter users is a really good indicator in terms of how people feel and where their interests lay. Some 288 million
people use Twitter around the world, 63 million of which are in this country. The majority of these users are young people, and they have a larger base of knowledge in computers and technology than what the average population does.
Twitter very often puts various pieces of data forward that demonstrate just how many tweets are sent when there are special television events. This includes shows such as Scandal, the Academy Awards and The Voice. They have long contended that the number of tweets sent out on those shows is an excellent indicator of just how popular they are. The information that Twitter releases is also very important in terms of selling advertisements as brands want to reach the audiences of certain shows. This can be done during the airing of the show itself or just thereafter.
Nielsen has completely agreed with the claims that Twitter has made about this for a very long time. Indeed, they have added that it demonstrates clearly just how interesting a show is to its audience, going down to which scenes are the most popular. Effectively, they have been able to demonstrate a two-way causal influence between TV viewership and Twitter activity.
Using time series analysis, we saw a statistically significant causal influence indicating that a spike in TV ratings can increase the volume of Tweets, and, conversely, a spike in Tweets can increase tune-in. This rigorous, research-based approach provides our clients and the media industry as a whole with a better understanding of the interplay between Twitter and broadcast TV viewing.
The results of this piece of research are probably not overly surprising. Nevertheless, it is very good news for Twitter, as they are still in a huge battle with Facebook in terms of who gets the attention of their audience. What goes behind all of that, naturally, is who gets the money in advertising. Since this research demonstrates a lot of money is to be made during live events, including awards and sports shows and various regular series, Twitter certainly seems to have taken a step forward.
However, one question has not been answered at all. This is whether Twitter chatter is actually of influence on how many people view a show. Interestingly, neither Nielsen nor Twitter have replied to this. The data that have been provided are all about how much activity there is on Twitter in relation to a certain broadcast, rather than the relationship between the two.