Nielsen’s research consisted of a 300 person study where the subjects were hooked up to brain monitors to track engagement as they watched new episodes of eight prime-time TV shows. The researchers compared their brain-monitored data to data consolidated from Twitter surrounding the same shows being tested. The evidence showed that the number and timing of tweets directly correlated with the brain-monitored data. The Twitter data correlated nearly perfectly with the brain-monitored data, even down to particular scenes within the TV show.
The study monitored nearly 300 people, equally gendered, with ages ranging 21 to 54 years old, in San Francisco, Chicago, and Atlanta. The brain activity monitored related to emotion, memory, and attention. The group was selected to properly represent the type of diversity found in the populace of each region. By the end of the study, the researchers concluded that there was a 79.5 percent correlation between the data they curated and the data provided by Twitter.
Long story, short: you can use Twitter data to accurately predict public opinion and engagement with a show. According to Avgusta Shestyuk, the director of neuroscience at Nielsen Neuro, “As the audiences are getting more engaged with the segment, the Twitter activity is getting more intense.”
Twitter was sure to be delighted to find that Nielsen’s research supports Twitter’s claim that their platform’s real-time, public orientation makes it a reliable resource for consumer data. Twitter’s data can accurately depict the public’s changing moods and varying interests. Considering Twitter has nearly 63 million active users in the US alone, and 288 million worldwide, there is no doubt that there is a plethora of data to be mined.
Twitter leverages their data to encourage advertisers to promote particular products during specially televised events i.e. The Academy Awards, and regularly scheduled TV shows such as The Voice and Scandal. Twitter is able to highly segment who is served the ads, so advertisers are able to strategically pick and choose who sees the ads, and when.
Television producers can also predict how a show will perform before it is aired based on Twitter activity leading to the premier. Show promoters would be wise to monitor social activity surrounding the new show and up their game if they are seeing lack-luster engagement with the soon-to-be show.