Exclusive: Nielsen study shows that TV advertising drives earned media for brands on Twitter

There’s a difference between being a consumer of a brand and telling others about it. Brands certainly appreciate the former, but their goal is to get you to engage in the latter.


Why? Because advertisers understand that many consumers no longer take things at face; consumers are wiser now, and the research process they undergo prior to purchase is more extensive. More, while this research process certainly takes into account unbiased third party reviews, word of mouth is continuing to play a larger role.

New research from Nielsen – shared first with Found Remote – examined whether linear TV advertising is driving earned media on Twitter for brands.

The first campaign Nielsen looked at was a personal care brand that ran 84 ads across 24 days of the 2014-15 season of a professional sports league. On placement dates, fans tweeting about the game sent 165% more tweets about the brand than they did before the campaign started – this is in contrast to those who did not tweet about the games, who only sent 72% more tweets about the brand during the same time frame. These results were magnified during the league’s all-star game in which fan tweets were 779% higher on the day of the game, while those not tweeting about the game only sent 84% more tweets about the brand.

The second campaign Nielsen looked at was an automotive company who advertised during the final three episodes of a drama series over a two week period in April and May 2015. The brand leveraged a mix of product placement (one of the characters drove the car), linear TV advertising, and digital-only shorts featured on the brand’s Twitter account. Those tweeting about any of the final three episodes sent 352% more tweets about the brand on airing days than they did during the show’s break in January 2015.

“Our study demonstrates that well executed brand integrations in TV programs with socially connected audiences can convert those TV fans that are active on Twitter into social brand advocates,” Lisa Berman, vp of research & product marketing at Nielsen Social, told Found Remote. “So, for brands that are looking to maximize social buzz, exposure with engaged social TV audiences plays a significant role.”

Previous Nielsen research showed that advertisers and networks can leverage Twitter in the lead-up to show premiers to better predict show success. This new data, though, shows how advertisers can optimize their spend in-season: “As a campaign is in flight, and afterwards, it’s important to quantify the extent to which a particular TV strategy is successful in driving earned media on Twitter in order to make adjustments and optimize future campaigns,” Berman said.

The results are important for all parties involved: for TV advertisers more and more turning to digital, it shows that linear is still an effective medium for driving action; for network ad sales teams, they can show advertisers another metric that may not make it into a standard media mix model; for Twitter’s ad sales team, they can continue to tout the social network’s place within the TV landscape and make the case to brands that they should be turning to paid Twitter approaches to double down on the earned success of linear TV campaigns.

Adam Flomenbaum

Adam Flomenbaum is a global leading expert on social television, over the top platforms, TV Everywhere, and content marketing. Flomenbaum has written for Dime Magazine and Brooklyn’s Finest (ESPN TrueHoop). In January 2014, he began contributing to LostRemote, a leading social TV blog, and was named editor in October 2014.

All by Adam