Nielsen to Add Facebook to Social TV Ratings

Back in 2013, Nielsen launched its Twitter TV Rankings metrics—a measurement of not only the number of people tweeting about a given program, but also the numbers viewing or interacting with those tweets.

Today, the company disclosed it will revise the format to include Facebook data as well, and rebrand the product Nielsen Social TV Ratings. 

Twitter was a natural first-step for Nielsen; despite being smaller in size than Facebook, a large percentage of tweets are inherently public—giving Nielsen simple access to a treasure trove of available data. With Facebook, on the other hand, public profiles make up a much smaller percentage of the overall user base (an estimated 20%, according to Quora); this makes data aggregation either far more difficult, or much less statistically significant. The lack of public data on the world’s most popular social network is why this data was not included previously.

To incorporate Facebook data, the measurement company won’t be looking at users’ posts themselves (a distinction important for privacy advocates); Facebook will be aggregating data to provide for Nielsen Social TV Ratings reports. Nielsen also plans to eventually utilize data from Instagram, another Facebook property, in these ratings reports.

What’s less clear is just how networks or advertisers will utilize these Nielsen Social TV Ratings, or how/if they’ve used the company’s Twitter TV Ratings thus far. Presumably, Social TV Ratings will be nothing more than bullet points on sales decks for some time to come—at least until there’s some tangible evidence that social chatter tells advertisers something that standard TV ratings don’t already.

No specific date has been given for the launch of Nielsen’s Social TV Ratings; Engadget is reporting that Facebook data will be rolled-in to existing Twitter TV Ratings “the first half of 2016“.