For decades the primary measurement for television ratings and consumer response to advertising has relied on media research giant, Nielsen. With its dedicated research boxes in random homes across the country and slews of survey clipboards stalking malls and movie theaters nationwide, Nielsen pioneered the media market research world and changed the way brands calculate their ROI in media advertising. Last year, everyone’s favorite little blue birdies joined the Nielsen army in tracking and quantifying your response to television programming and advertising in what the companies called the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings. Recently, the program has expanded into new European and African countries for study and research.

Social media, particularly Twitter, has become a substantial part of the expanded reach of television advertising as people tap out 140 character comments on their favorite shows as they watch them live with friends in other living rooms and even other countries. Hashtags for the #grammys, the #oscars, and the #superbowl command millions of eyeballs as the world watches these events together in a way that’s never before been possible. In just one quarter of 2013, Nielsen noted that 19 million unique people in the U.S. composed 263 million Tweets about live television. Clearly there is a larger reach for broadcast media than just the viewers of the live event.

As more and more of our lives become enmeshed with the social media platforms of the day, it’s important to remember that social media marketing is more than just telling people about your brand. Conversations and word of mouth are the lifeblood of branding. Hashtags allow us to get involved in conversations about us and our companies in ways the old marketing world could only dream and salivate over.

Our incredible social media networkers have been keeping a close eye on the expansion of Twitter and how we communicate about the things we love. Their consensus? Be careful what you tweet for.


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