Twitter – The Future of TV Commercials

If someone tweets about a TV show, does anyone see it? That’s what Nielsen, the company well known for producing television ratings, is attempting to figure out. Previously, Nielsen was only able to keep track of how many tweets were made about a television program. Now, however, Nielsen is attempting to track how many people actually see those tweets. Nielsen has discovered that for an average program on TV, the amount of people following the show on Twitter is 50 times larger than those who tweet about it. Therefore, if 100 people tweet about a show, 5,000 people are seeing those tweets.

Marketers Dream

This development is a breakthrough for marketers who have been trying to find the best ways to advertise on Twitter. They were always able see how many people were tweeting about a TV show, but how many people were actually interacting with those tweets remained unknown. Now, by finding out there are so many people engaging with TV on twitter, there is more motivation to start advertising on twitter. Advertisers now have more information, and can target their audience more effectively with the new Nielsen system.

Consumer Nightmare?

Internet users hate advertisements. In fact, 68% of those surveyed by the Pew Internet & American Life Project said they are “not okay” with targeted advertising. Some say they are distracting, others hate that ads often play on their own, and some are just find them irrelevant. Unfortunately, the new Nielsen system will be bringing more advertisements to Twitter, whether we like it or not. With Twitter’s Initial Public Offering on the way, the company needs as many revenue streams as possible to keep investors happy. Television ads are a great way to do it.


Regardless of consumer sentiment, this is a great development for Twitter. Nielsen has discovered thousands of people check Twitter to see what’s on TV and often find out about movies playing on TV simply because they checked Twitter. They will even sift through the tweets to see what channel it’s on. Now that marketers have these numbers, they will be wasting no time placing advertisements in the middle of all the tweets. If they find that 1,000 people have tweeted about a TV show, they now know 50,000 have seen these tweets. Don’t believe this makes a difference? On October 9th, Comcast came to an agreement with Twitter, to advertise their “See It” feature, which will allow users to click on their tweets and immediately begin watching the show the ad displays. So if the show “The Voice” is trending on Twitter, Comcast can send out an ad that will fit right in with all of the other tweets, and encourage people to watch it. Coincidence? I think not. Not only is this great for advertisements, but this Nielsen system is great for Twitter too. Now, when companies approach them to advertise on Twitter in the TV arena, Twitter has a significant audience rating to justify ad prices. Bottom line, more ads will be appearing on Twitter. It just makes too much sense for all parties involved. Well, besides those of us who don’t like Internet ads. Photo by David Berkowitz

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