Twitter and TV Tune-in: How To Boost Your Ratings By 29%

As social media continues to evolve the TV-viewing experience, our understanding of its influence is now more clear than ever before. Last week, Nielsen reported a causal link between TV viewership and Twitter conversations, revealing an intertwined, two-way relationship – Twitter drives TV tune-in and TV tune-in drives Tweets.

The Revolution of a Social Evolution

In 2012, Nielsen reported a staggering figure - 80% of U.S. tablet and smartphone owners use their device while watching TV. In that year alone, 32 million people in the U.S. tweeted about TV programming. It only made sense that amplifying such an immense amount of content into the Twittersphere would influence viewership; and one year later, Nielsen confirmed this correlation between Twitter and TV ratings. Now, that relationship has been quantified and placed within the holy grail of research - proving causality.

By analyzing minute-to-minute trends in TV ratings and Tweets for 221 broadcast primetime episodes, Nielsen found a two-way causal influence between TV tune-in and Twitter chatter.  The first-ever study to quantify the influence of Twitter on viewership, their data proves what our clients have shown - Twitter is a complementary tool that engages audiences, drives viewership, and further increases conversation about the programming.

Here are a couple of our clients who have showcased this relationship of both increased social engagement and TV viewership as a result of Twitter broadcast integration.

Mini-Case Study: How X Factor Became the Most Talked About TV Show of the Year

The X Factor integrated real-time Twitter content into the show’s experience, displaying audience polls, Tweet streams, data visualizations, and a photo wall. Launching this effort in 2011, the X Factor ushered in a new social era that fostered audience engagement, social buzz, and increased viewership.

As a result of their broadcasted social integration, Tweet activity jumped 600% when social data was displayed. Over the 8-week period, each show trended on Twitter with its unique hashtag, generating peaks of over 20,000 Tweets per minute. SocialGuide named the X Factor the number one social TV show of all Fall 2011 premieres. With more than 50,000 unique viewers and more than 100,000 comments across social networks, the X Factor exemplified the Twitter-TV rating relationship.

See the full Case Study here.

Mini-Case Study: GMA News Breaks Record with Over 21 Million Page Views

To enhance the Philippine’s 2013 election, GMA News created an on-air, interactive social experience that captured and showcased social trends and public opinions. Broadcasting Tweets on-screen, GMA News encouraged and amplified authentic social engagement with the election. As a result, GMA News garnered over 800,000 posts about the candidates and topped all competitors on TV ratings. Revealing a two-way influence between TV tune-in and Twitter chatter, GMA News typified Nielsen’s study.

See the full Case Study here.

The Implications

As our understanding of social’s influence on TV ratings and TV ratings’ influence on social becomes more and more pronounced, media companies must react accordingly. Integrating social content on-air is no longer a way to just entertain viewers. It is clearly a vital component of any media companies’ most important measurements - ratings, viewership, and audience engagement.'s picture

Rachel Jamail

Rachel Jamail works at the intersection of customer marketing and brand communications. Partnering with Spredfast's most innovative customers, she integrates their voice into the Spredfast brand by promoting and sharing their success and leadership in social media marketing through a variety of ways - from press to speaking engagements to thought leadership opportunities to product roadmap influence. When not working, she loves doing yoga, eating ice cream, and rooting for the Longhorns and Crimson.