The Future of Social TV Metrics

At the Social TV Summit in New York City today, television experts weighed in on the current metrics that match social engagement with traditional TV ratings. Are they working?

A+E Networks SVP of Digital Media Evan Silverman moderated the panel that included Trendrr CEO Mark Ghuneim, Social Guide founder Sean Casey, Networked Insights lead analyst and cultural anthropologist Sean Reckwerdt, and Bluefin Labs VP of Marketing Tom Thai.

“Correlations and causality studies between social activity and TV ratings will continue to be important,” said Casey.

While high engagement does not always equal high ratings, and ”ratings drive ad dollars,” said Thai, social engagement has value in its own right.

The industry is leaning toward having a gross engagement point next to a gross ratings point. But whether this will be a simple number that’s easily digestible or a deeper analysis remains to be seen.

In the Q&A portion of the panel, Silverman said some useful metrics include the number of uniques, what the share was, and how they’re trending from one week to the next.

Sometimes metrics mean different things to agencies and networks. Said Thai, “When making an ad buying decision, a shorter timeframe is better because you need social TV data to be clean.”

Another area of growth is in measuring viewer engagement with television shows alongside their engagement with commercials and sponsors.

“It’s about recognizing the full value,” said Ghuneim, whether it’s from the perspective of the brand agency or the content creator.

For the creators, social media is about more than just counting the number of viewers. Thanks to a socially connected newsroom, NBC’s Brian Williams was able to refute a “rogue” tweet that claimed NBC had called the Senate race in Massachusetts for Elizabeth Warren.

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