Nielsen Reveals Social Stars: How Three TV Moments Made it Big

You tuned in, you talked, you tweeted, and Nielsen listened. Well, they collected data. Recently, Nielsen revealed the past nine month’s top TV moments broken down by series, specials, and sports events. Aside from showing us that people like talking about television, we can see that these programs came into the social scene armed with a plan. Let’s take a look at how three of the big winners made their social media soar.  

The Voice

On May 13, The Voice made social media history when viewers posted 1.92 million Tweets, “including a record 310,000 at 8:59pm EST.,” according to Nielsen. Where did this sudden burst of social excitement come from? The chatter evolved from fans who weren’t ready to see their favorite contestants leave. Following host, Carson Daly’s cue, viewers flocked to Twitter for the “Instant Save” vote where they had five minutes to Tweet the #VoiceSave hashtag plus the artist’s first name. As the votes started pouring in, fans could see how their favorite artists were stacking up compared to the competition.

Nielsen ratings  


Viewers fought to give their favorite contestants the loudest social voice, resulting in the first reality competition to save a contestant from elimination courtesy of a Twitter vote. In total, “1.5 million Tweets mentioned #VoiceSave” making it the show with the most Tweets and most Tweets per minute. As the votes started pouring in, fans could see how their favorite artists were stacking up compared to the competition.


Nielsen ratings - 2


On Super Bowl Sunday the Twittersphere was all abuzz, posting about everything from football to free money - yes, free money. As the first commercial to air post-Super Bowl, Esurance saved $1.5 million compared to those pricey game-time commercials. In their commercial, the insurance company announced their plan to give away those savings to one lucky Twitter user. When people Tweeted the #EsuranceSave30 hashtag they were entered for the chance to win a pile of cash. Not surprisingly, #EsuranceSave30 quickly became the top hashtag of the night with a winning 1.8 million mentions.  

Nielsen ratings - 3

After sifting through millions of pieces of Twitter data, the winner of the $1.5 million prize was announced by Jimmy Kimmel on his Wednesday night show. Following their Twitter stunt, Esurance enjoyed a quick rise to social stardom - going from 9,000 to over 100,000 Twitter followers in just a few short days.  

The Oscars

The number one TV special goes to America’s favorite little gold men - The Oscars. While nearly 14 million viewers tuned in to watch, there were almost just as many Tweets (over 11 million) discussing the awards show. How did The Oscars make their special a Twitter trophy winner? The show’s network, ABC, transformed their site into a one-stop Twitter shop for users to see all Oscar-related conversations. Using Trending Nominee and Trending Fashion modules, the network displayed polls and social leaderboards reporting which celebrities were being talked about the most and what was making them so trend-worthy.

Nielsen ratings - 4

The cutting-edge activation was heavy on visuals so users could seamlessly watch the show and weigh in on what was happening.  

Nielsen ratings - 5  

Preparing for Stardom

These social superstars didn’t achieve fame on a whim. The voting window, the promoted hashtag, the awards show conversation - they all included a considerable amount of planning. Behind the scenes of every successful activation - whether it’s a five-hour event like The Oscars or five minute vote like The Voice - lies a social strategy.   Want to see more strategies that led to social stardom? Take a look at how UK’s 4Music got a 50% boost in viewership through an on-air social integration.

Samantha Subar's picture

Samantha Subar

Samantha is a PR Manager at Spredfast where she showcases the customers and thought leaders behind the world's best social software platform. Texas born and raised, Samantha is also a Longhorn lover, wilderness explorer, and cupcake connoisseur. Follow her for the latest on Spredfast and, of course, food.